It Seems Like Everywhere I Go, the More I See the Less I Know

I find that, somehow moreso in Egypt than in Morocco, I am constantly making an ass of myself here. Perhaps it's because the campus is way too big for the meager 5,000 students who go here and I'm constantly wandering around like an Alzheimer's patient. Perhaps it's because I'm more ballsy about my actions now that it's my second time in MENA. And I suppose it's partly because a lot of times in Morocco I felt like I played it too safe instead of taking risks. This time around, I decided I really want to live, and experience everything, not just observe. I think that, despite the constant ass-making I do, always seeming clueless and lost, I'll be happy that I chose to do things this way in the long run.
Yesterday I didn't have much to do: I signed up for some trips [Alexandria, Bedouin Night, and Giza..there's a 3-day cruise over our long weekend in September too, but its 1750 LE, around $350. Needless to say, I won't be going.], tried to sign my loan check [they wouldn’t let me because I haven’t registered for my classes], registered my e-mail address, and went to the one orientation meeting they have for transfer students. Know what I found out? There are only two transfer students this year, including me. And the other has lived in Cairo for a few years. Silly me. Somehow I thought it was more common to take the route I have. Apparently not.
After that enlightening experience, I hung out with "The Gang" in the common room for a few hours- the common room is the only place in the residential area that is co-ed. There's a group of about eight of us: me, Katie, Becky, Anna, Chris, Will, Zach, Rashid, and Adam. We all hang out together all the time, but the sad thing is all of them except Becky are leaving in December. I have a feeling that that's how things will be at AUC; I'll have to make new friends every semester. We hung around, played BS, and then went to dinner at Tabasco. After that we tried to get a football game together, but we were too disorganized. At 10pm, we caught the bus to Zamalek to go to a bar. It was about an hour's ride there, along busy highways and overpasses. The skyline on the way was so diverse: huge mosque minarets penetrating the black night sky, grandiose hotels, and decrepit buildings literally falling apart around the residents. I also had an enthralling conversation with my new bff Will [I never call him Will- he will henceforth be referred to as Goose or Sunshine. He looks EXACTLY like Goose Dunham. I know, I'm gay.] that ended in my nearly peeing on myself when he asked how I liked his "smell". We got off the bus and Zach, the fearless leader [who was so dedicated to finding a bar that he had drawn up a map], led the speed-walk to a fancy bar on the banks of the Nile. No alcohol here, we were told. [Note: right now is Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, where they fast all day and get to eat all night. It's a little difficult to find alcohol here right now.]
Disappointed but not defeated, we started a two mile trek to the Mariott, which has a pub in it. We walked through dank alleyways full of stray cats, passed all the embassies, and practiced our extreme jay-walking [friends from Morocco take note before you come visit me: crossing the street in Cairo is wayyyyy more intense than it was in Morocco. Try crossing 6 lanes of speeding vehicles Meknes-style. It's a rush.]. We FINALLY made it to Harry's Pub, where we quickly placed an exceptionally large order and were delivered exceptionally large Sakara Gold beers [Bama folks: about the size of a Big Ass Beer in Nola]. We had the whole pub to ourselves [again, it's Ramadan] and had a great time talking, watching soccer on the TV, and laughing about how much trouble we went through to get alcohol. Typical Americans. Four Exceptionally Large Beers and two hours later, we stumbled through the streets of Zamalek trying to retrace our steps to find the bus stop. After getting lost several times, we made it to the bus and I had an intense discussion with Chris. Around 3am, I poured myself into bed [the night before I had only gotten two hours of sleep].
I woke up at 8:30, too lazy to take a shower, and ran errands on campus- trying to register and whatnot. Important discoveries today: AUC is only accepting 24 [possibly 30] of my 60 credits from Alabama. This means I will probably be here for THREE years. And also, I can't register for classes until Saturay. School starts Sunday [since Friday is the Muslim holy day, the weekend here is Friday and Saturday. The school week starts Sunday. We'll see how many times this causes me to miss class on Sunday. Predication: a lot.]. Also, the trip to Giza is at the same time on Saturday, so I will miss seeing the pyramids. All rather disappointing discoveries.
Anyway, I'm off to nap- 7 hours sleep in two days is just not okay.
Also, I'm sorry I haven't really described Cairo much. The truth is, on the AUC compound, I don’t really see much of anything except desert, and I've only been off the compound twice. I will definitely try, but let me give a disclaimer: nothing I write will ever do Cairo justice. You'll never get the feel of the broken sidewalk, the chalky-dustiness of the ground, the gray tint to the sky, to heat of the Egyptian sun pounding down on you, the hum of all manner of different languages. For that, I apologize. Come visit me and see for yourself.

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