Thursday, September 18, 2008

First Day in el-Misr (Egypt)

Where did I leave off? Ah, yes: Eric Knapp sent drivers to pick us up from the airport and to take our baggage up to his house/apartment. He then gave us an impromptu driving tour of the City of the Dead, where people live in grave yards among the mosoleums, etc. Evidently, as a foreigner you have to have special permission from the government to go there.

We finally came "home" and Dorothy Knapp took us with her on a walk to the corner bakery (yesm they're here, too), and when we got back to the apartment we ordered out-- Italian food! :) We ate our Egyptian vesion of Italian food on the balcony of their 10th floor apartment and watched the sun set over the Nile (which we couldn't actually see because of the huge apartment buildings built right along side it). The experience was topped off when we got to hear the evening call to prayer from the mosque behind the apartment...and the mosque down the street, and the mosque across the street, and...I'm sure you all get the point. It was so awesome. Each Imam (he leads the prayers in the mosque) has his own particular way of doing the call to prayer, and because they all go out at relatively the same time, there's this intermingling of voices and tones all over the place via loudspeakers.

After dinner, Eric walked us to the neighborhood market (Sa'udi) for ice cream. He spoiled us to the tune of mango, pistachio, and chocolate. *Side note: Ice cream, I will have you all know, is different here. Just the cream-based varieties are kind of crunchy? Maybe not crunchy, exactly, but its texture is different. Chewy-ish? Not sure why this is, but as hot as it gets here I don't ask too many questions about what's in the ice cream.* On the way home from Sa'udi Market Eric pulled a fast one and made us try to find our way back to the apartment. A valuable lesson. Now we pay better attention to where we're going.

So, Lindsey Daphne, and I made it through our first day in Egypt and didn't crash into the Atlantic, although that little Egyptian woman sitting next to me on the plane ("Octopus!") suggested to me that we might do just that. She had made a nose-dive gesture with her hand and made the crash noises and everything.

Day One was mostly a success. Whattya think?

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