How can I possibly cram three weeks into one post? I'll let these pictures speak for themselves.
The Cairo Jazz Club is my favorite place to see Bluezophrenia perform and dance my butt off! Before they took the stage though, Wust El-Balad performed and I caught a picture with the lead singer, Hany Adel (to the left). How awesome!
I'm no stranger to the Immigration Office in Cairo. The first time I'd ever been was last year when I'd lost my passport and before I could fly back to the states I needed to replace the one I had lost and obtain a stamp verifying the flight I had come in on through the Egyptian immigration computer system. I was fortunate to get a new passport in just a matter of 24 hours but it was hard work getting that stamp. It was always so crowded and hot as they only had fans and no air conditioning at the immigration office. It was easy to get lost in the crowd or pushed around in the sweaty mess of visitors and overall it was something I never wanted to experience again. After going every day for two weeks to the immigration office, running up and down the stairs, and visiting window after window, the systems were finally up. I was finally able to get what I needed to get back home!
Although for a different reason, almost a year later and I was back. I'm suppose to be visiting family in Seattle for a few weeks at the end of July and needed a longer visa that would allow me to travel and come back into Egypt without paying for a new visa altogether.
This time wasn't nearly as bad. It was still blazing hot but the crowd of visitors wasn't nearly as bad and we didn't seem to have to run around as much. After getting a few passport photos taken for the papers, paying for a residency visa and a return visa, all that was left was to leave the passport for a few days for processing. I left my passport, worried it would be lost in the stacks of forms and passports behind the counter but know I didn't have a choice if I wanted to get my visas squared away and come back into the country without problems.
While there, I had the opportunity to speak briefly to a woman from Georgia (the country) who began an online relationship with an Egyptian man 4 years ago. They finally met in person just that month. He proposed and they were trying to get their papers worked out at the immigration office. I really wanted to speak to her more but they were in line in front of us and were done with their paper but it was my turn next. I hope they were able to fix everything and will have the best of life together.
Finally, at the end of the day at the immigration office, my friend took me to tour Cairo University. It was incredible to see the old architecture. i love stepping into buildings with rich history. It feels like the modern world as I know it is placed behind me and I take a step forward, back in time.
I had my first motorcycle ride EVER tonight! The wind whipped across my cheeks, made my eyelashes dance, and tossed my hair in every direction behind me. It was so enthralling! If you haven't had taken one yet, go do it!
"Be brave and take risks. Nothing can substitute experience." - Paulo Coehlo
OH my goodness I miss American food. The good, the bad, and the downright diabetic!
My withdrawals are too much these days, I can't wait for the cravings to end! I had Hardee's today for dinner and it was such a treat! After my friends and I had dinner we headed to a place called Aliga and played PS3 until sunrise. For only my second time playing, I managed to come in second during Motor Mash. Motor Mash is a lot like demolition derby - destroy everything! It made me reminisce on my childhood when my brother and I would stay up playing GoldenEye on Playstation64.
Once we headed home, we separated in two cars and one of my friends appeared out of the sunroof!! Standing in the passenger car seat, halfway out of the car, and dancing! Well this kind of craziness is right up my alley and my friends apparently know me well enough to and asked if I wanted to do the same. How could I say no?! I stood on the seat and felt the the cool wind ripping through my hair as I stood out of the sunroof. We cranked up the music and danced as our friends did a bit of light racing, enough to keep us safe and have a little fun too.
I was laying down for bed finally when I received a text notification on my phone from a friend. He thanked me for today and told me that every day I'm teaching him how to live life.
But really, he's teaching me how to live mine. They all are.
"We should all start to live before we get older. Fear is stupid. So are regrets." - Marilyn Monroe
My friends and I went out tonight to play cards in a cafe while drinking tea and hot chocolate. This is probably the simplest thing I've done with my friends while here and it's been one of the best. We decided to go to a cafe we don't normally sit in. Shortly after being seated I couldn't tell what my friends were talking about any longer as they were all now speaking in Arabic and occasionally looking over at another table. When I finally asked what they were talking about they explained to me that it was a table of two prostitutes, their pimp, and two interested men.
A bit astonished I glanced over at first to make sure they didn't notice me looking. When the coast was clear I studied what the girls looked like. To my surprise they were completely covered, wearing long pants and sweaters. Not exactly what I expected them to even be wearing. I couldn't understand what they were saying and I didn't want to be nosy so I didn't pay much attention to them the rest of the night.
We played our usual card games and even had a paper ball fight. I devoured a delicious Nutella waffle and learned more Arabic words!
As we were about to leave I noticed one of the restaurant staff staring at me. It wasn't a stare of admiration or shyness but rather one of a creeper. Plain and simple. Again I tried to not focus on things around me but rather our table but as we were leaving, he approached me and said I was beautiful. I would normally smile and say thank you at such a compliment but really, why did he have to say it in such a creepy way?! It left me feeling so uneasy. I thought about ignoring it but I knew this was a place we would be coming back to sit at and that's not an option I wanted on the table anymore.
As we reached the outside I stopped my friends to let them know how I was feeling about what had just happened when one of my friends takes off back inside. I called out to him to tell him to stop and two more friends followed. I stayed outside with two others while they assured me everything would be fine and they were just going inside to talk to the manager.
A few minutes later and my friends called me to come to them. When I refused to approach them they came to me. When I asked what was going to happen to the guy they said he would be fired.
Fired?! I wondered if this was his only source of income and if he was supporting anyone besides himself. I told my friends to refuse this as we approached the entrance.
When I identified the man, the manager started yelling in Arabic causing my friends to shout back at him. This had to be one of the most frustrating things - people shouting about you in a language you can't yet understand. After a moment the manager turns to shake my hand and apologize. I said thank you and was just dying to get out of that place. I felt I had caused an uprising! I still didn't understand fully what had happened so I asked my friends as we approached the cars. They informed me that the man would keep his job but the reason they had gotten so upset is because in their culture, when you approach a girl the way he did, he wasn't just disrespecting me but also disrespecting my friends. I felt really proud to have them as my friends, knowing they were ready to have a go at anyone for disrespecting any of us. It was this moment that I knew I was in safe hands.