Well, this week was definitely not as exciting as last week.  But, it was good nonetheless.  I got to go to Cairo again on Thursday.  It wasn't as polluted this time, so that was good.  Thursday was a big religious feast here in which they celebrate the sacrifice provided to Abraham in place of his son.  They celebrate by slaughtering sheep in the morning and eating them at night.  Some people I know that have lived here a while say they have really "cleaned it up."  They say the streets used to run with blood on that day, because people could kill their sheep anywhere they wanted to.  The local butcher would literally just walk down the street with his knife killing all the sheep as he went along.  But now they have moved the sacrifices to "designated areas" in each neighborhood.  So, I didn't get to see any bloody streets.  I didn't even get to see any killings because we got on the train to Cairo before they started here, and by the time we got to Cairo they were done.  I did see lots of sheep skins along the road though.

In Cairo, after I got through with my meeting, I walked around some with a couple of friends.  Since it was the festival, everyone was out on the streets.  As I walked with one friend who had lighter colored hair, they pegged us both as foreigners immediately.  Guys (mostly our age and younger) started calling out, "Hey!  Hello!  Welcome!  You are beautiful!  Do you speak English?" and so on.  We just ignored them and kept walking.  But it was funny that if I didn't walk with her, and just walked by myself, they didn't think I was a foreigner.  I have never been so thankful for dark hair!  =)  Occasionally I still will have guys say, "Hello!  Do you speak English?" but I usually just keep walking and they conclude that I don't speak English and leave me alone.   Women are not supposed to make eye contact with guys here (except for business transactions) because that is seen as "forward" and an "encouragement" to the guys.  I went walking with my Egyptian friend last night and I noticed that every time we passed by a man, she would just put her head down and look at the ground.  That way there would be no chance of looking in their eyes, even accidentally.  This has been a hard adjustment to make, but I have been doing well.   One time I forgot though and smiled back at a guy who smiled at me.  Oh man...I will not make THAT mistake again!  He immediately started talking to me...."Do you speak English?  You are beautiful!  I love you!"  LOL!  I just walked a little faster and didn't look at him anymore...eventually he gave up and said, "Okay...goodbye!"

Here is a picture of the Nile from a bridge we were walking on...note the air is not so polluted this time!


I got to ride the Cairo metro for the first time as well.  (Again, if you're claustrophobic and/or you place a high value on your "personal space," Egypt is not the place for you!)  Just when we thought we couldn't fit one more person on our train, five more got on!  They were IN THE DOOR while it was closing!  Then they pushed their way forward just enough so that the door could close.  If you live in or have ever been to Atlanta, the Cairo metro is very similar to the MARTA train system--just with five or six times as many people!  In Alex, we have a tram system, and it can get fairly crowded at times, but it is generally a lot more low-key than the Cairo system.

Oh, and I must say--our taxi driver in Cairo ROCKED!  The guy was going at least 90 through the town, and he wasn't stopping for anything!  That is, except for the occasional cop and speed bump (and he knew which ones you had to slow down for and which ones you could take at top speed).  He weaved in and out of traffic like it was nothing.  I actually wanted to congratulate him on a job well done when we got out of the car!  (Unfortunately, I couldn't speak to him since I was with one other girl and two guys...if it was just me, or just me and the girl in the car, I could have said something.  But since we were with guys, it was their place to do all the interacting with him.  It was too bad, because I think they were too afraid of crashing to truly appreciate his skill.)  I bet the next time I watch a movie with a car chase or fast driving, I am probably going to laugh at how tame the driving is!

Speaking of movies, I went to a movie here for the first time last week.  We went to a mall that had a theater.  Oh, and I got to eat dinner at an A&W there in the mall!  They called the hot dog "beef roll" and it had no pork in it, but it still tasted good!  (Besides, who knows what's really in hot dogs anyway?)  And they had root beer floats...yum!  Anyway, the movie was an interesting experience.  They play both domestic and foreign movies here.  We went to an American movie (most of them come out in theaters here about the time they are coming out on DVD in America), and they play those in English but with Arabic subtitles.  It's cool usually, although I have heard that if you go on weekend nights, the theater will be crowded and people will usually just be talking the whole time.  They don't need to be quiet, since all they are doing is reading anyway!  When we bought our tickets, they pulled out a map of the theater and you could pick out which seat you wanted!  Then they sold you a ticket for that seat.  There were two pricing levels at this particular theater.  One was just under $3 and one was just over $3.  Not bad!  We bought the cheap was stadium seating anyway, and the only difference with the higher-priced tickets was that they were in a raised section at the very back.  When you go in the theater, there is an usher who looks at your tickets and takes you to your assigned seats.  There are previews before the movie, just like in America.  But once the movie starts, you're not supposed to leave your seats until intermission.  Every movie has an intermission.  It was so weird...the movie was going along and then about halfway through it just stopped and an ad popped up on the screen!  Oh, and I have to mention the concession stand.  They had some candy bars, but they also had small bags of chips, as well as full-sized cans of Pringles!  All in all,  it was an interesting experience.  I think I'll do it again some time!  =)

Well, I know this has been a random update...but thanks for reading!

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