Monday, July 13, 2009

A Day In The Life

6:45am - I wake up. It's Sunday, July 13. I can't sleep because its so hot, and if I turn on the air conditioning I won't be able to step onto my balcony to get my clothes because there will be a pool of water between me and my beloved clothes line. So I get up.

7:30am - Coffee Roatary opens. I arrive 10 minutes later and order my double-shot latte. I open my our pretentiously named textbook whose name literally means "The Book" to read some more sentences meant to teach new phrases.

8:40am - So deeply engrossed in The Book's hidden agenda was I that I almost forgot that class begins in 5 minutes. I run to class and arrive sweaty. I sit through two hours of Amiyya, and then one hour of Fusha. Then there's a power outage. The lights go out. The electronics shut down. But most importantly, the air conditioner turns off.

12:15pm - They let us go because we're sticky and cranky and annoying. So my friend and I go to the gym, which had been the plan all along.

1:00pm - Arrive at the gym. Make sure the air conditioner is on, change, start our workout.

1:50pm - I notice the creepy gym attendant arrives. He comes in, brings us what he calls a "towel" (its a washcloth, but I appreciate it greatly nonetheless), and sometimes - if I'm using a machine or doing sit-ups - he'll pretend to be my personal trainer and count for me. In English. But otherwise we communicate in Arabic. He tried to teach me the names of all of the body parts once. That got awkward quickly.

3:00pm - Shower at the gym, get in a cab, go across the way to Carrefour to sit in a coffee shop and read a page and a half of an Arabic text all about approaches to Islamism.

6:00pm - (It took us approximately 2 hours to read that text) Pick up some vegis at the super-market section of Carrefour where I am in line in front of a very gooey, relatively naked family of five small children whose parents seem about ready to put them all up for adoption, and then hit the road for a mandatory CLS evening excursion to an artists gallery. No idea what to expect. Call the head of the program on the way to warn her we'll be late. We're not late. Other people are. The mini-bus to take us there is hot.

7:00pm - Arrive at the gallery. Walking in, I see a mosaic on the entrance and say "Wow, that looks an awful lot like most of the public art in Alexandria!" No one cares. We get into the gallery, and it turns out, this guy has done most of - if not all - of the public art in Alexandria. Props for me. He's very dignified, lets me play his piano, makes some fantastic 3D mixed media art as well as oil paintings, but his public art is the best. Reminds me of Chihuly a bit in that sense. Totally different style and totally different mediums, but I like his public art best. I want him to tiled the bottom of my pool when I get old and rich.

9:30pm - Arrive back in front of the hotel to be greeted by the usual evening crowd of salesmen. At night there's the sqeaky toy, tissue, and sunnyglasses gentlemen, and during the day they are joined by the mango, sandal, hair accessory, underwear, corn on the cob, and prickly pear hawkers (though they, too, stick around sometimes), many of whom recognize us by face now. I'm hungry so I join some friends going to the roof of a the nearby Sofitel (trivia: Winston Churchill stayed there when it was still called the "Cecil") and I remind myself for the umpteenth time never to raise my children in Egypt. Unless I buy them squeeky shoes. Which are annoying, but let their whereabouts be known to vehicles that could run them over. Namely cars, horse/mule/donkey carts (which, for the record, are a totally legitimate way to travel/transport things anywhere in Alex), and pedestrians, who are really just like cars but on the sidewalk. The Sofitel is beautiful, the elevator is small but grand, and the rooftop restaurant is so lovely I could melt. The cool breeze, the exceptional view of the Monument of the Lone Soldier, the whispering bay, the engaging company, the shimmering stars, the bright green of the large Mosque in the distance...ahh but to be young and in Alexandria on a free program that you love. And to put the cherry on the whip creme -- my Mom called, and I got to talk to her. Marvelous.

12:15 - Dinner is finally over, and we head back to the Egypt Hotel (Hotel Misr) for the night where I begin to blog...

The sagely Simon and Garfunkle once said, "I think it's gonna be alright, the worst is over now, the morning sun is shining like a red rubber ball." So true.

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