Friday, July 30, 2010

Cairo, Day 7

It would be foolish of me to start off this entry with generalized statements on Egyptian culture. I have been here seven days. “Cairo is…” or, “Egyptians are…” are not phrases I am yet qualified to make. Perhaps I never will be—such statements are too often made in haste. One might have an awful experience in a taxi (not unlikely here); another might be invited to a dinner party (also not unlikely). However, this does not mean that all Egyptians are looking to take advantage of Westerners, nor does it mean all Egyptians are hospitable. A more appropriate response might be, “Man, I had a really shitty cab driver the other day,” or, “Gosh, I met the nicest Egyptian family…” or, more simply, “My experience was…”

I have had a pretty positive experience in Cairo looking back on my first week. Here are some highlights:

-Thus far, the majority of the cab rides I have taken have instilled in me a healthy fear of driving in this country. I’d feel safer free-soloing Maiden Voyage in the Black Canyon than taking a taxi on the Corniche (river road along the Nile) downtown during rush hour. Like the states, there are lines in the road designating lanes; however, unlike the states, the lines serve absolutely no purpose. From the airport our cab driver was literally driving aside five cars on a three-lane highway as I thought for the first time in a year of climbing ice, rock and skiing powder, “I really wish I had health insurance.” Were there enough space between our car and the one adjacent us, I could have stuck my torso out of the window and tuned our neighbor’s radio.

-This past week, I thought I had been witnessing an odd Egyptian custom when men would chuckle immediately after being introduced to me. Yesterday I learned how wrong I was during my first Arabic lesson with my friend Mohay. Mohay had me introduce myself and conduct a very simple conversation with an older man sitting at a table next to us in a run-down café in Old Cairo. As usual, the man began to laugh after hearing my name, as did Mohay. I asked him why. In Arabic, “Hunter” is the name of a historical Arab hero who, from the description Mohay gave me, resembles Hercules. One can now say “Hunter” to refer to a “very strong, hard, confident man,” according to Mohay. Naturally, I found that awesome and wondered where the humor set in. Mohay then informed me “Hunter” has also become slang to refer to a man’s penis.

-I joined the Cairo Ultimate Frisbee club and now plan on playing ultimate one to two times per week. I don't particularly care for ultimate, but it's a good way to meet people.

-Mohay told me there is a big futbol tournament in the streets during Ramadan, which is fast approaching. He said I could join his team. Five vs. five in the streets of the island in the Nile next to Old Cairo. Could be cool.

That's it.


PS- It's so F-ing hot here.

The above pictures are of the American University of Cairo, my new school.
The first displays their dedication to using water in an efficient and responsible fashion in this God-forsaken desert. I'm so proud.


  1. Can you at least swim in the fountains? Can't wait to hear about living in Egypt during Ramadan.

    Don't Die, xo - ae

    ps. if you could send Katie and I new wraps for xmas again that'd be super :-)

  2. I love dry middle eastern heat. Beats Texas heat.

    "nice hunter."
    "nice, hunter."

    careful with those two.