Thursday, January 26, 2012

Uptown to downtown

At the moment we're living in Zamalek in Cairo: an island on the Nile, covered in lush trees, embassies and restaurants. And it's all nice and cozy. It does feel a bit isolated though, separated from downtown Cairo, where the life of Tahrir Square, various shawarma shops and... people in general, make the town come to life in a whole different way.

So today, we returned to downtown Cairo, mostly to visit the Egyptian Museum, but also to sneak a peek at  Tahrir. (To my dearest mother: we are ever so careful, I swear, so don't hold your breath in despair.) Some  students went there yesterday, on the actual celebration, but we decided to stay at home. We stick out like sore thumbs in this city, with both our gender and Scandinavian appearance, and decided that the daily dose of sexual harassment and staring is enough. (Which is one of the reasons why downtown will not be where we're settling down for the next months.)

Still, I like it downtown. I like the atmosphere. I'm just not that into walking down the streets, feeling like an indecent dressed piece of meat.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Moving around

Yesterday we moved from our cat-crowded, freezing, somewhat charming rooftop hostel, and into the dorms of AUC. The university kindly offered us to move away from Tahrir Square, which is practically next to where we've been living so far, and into their own premises. Not a permanent solution, but a rather good deal, as it has hot water and heated rooms. Compared to the luxury offered by our previous "home", this feels like a five-star upgrade. (We started at rock bottom when it comes to housing, so it's only getting better from here. And that's a nice thought.)

And how is Cairo at the moment? Anticipating, I think. There will be a lot of things happening at Tahrir Square during the next 24 hours, but I'm not sure what it will be colored by. The older people I've talked to, grin and talk about the night as a joyous occasion. The younger tend to talk a bit more grimly about sacrifices and revolutions, but still don't fail to mention that it's going to be a night of celebration.
What do I expect? I honestly don't know. But it will be interesting to stay in Cairo now, that's for sure.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Rise and shine

Today's my first day at campus. I've been up since six listening to the city, looking out over the rooftops and just enjoying the morning. And now, now I'm heading out to catch the school bus. Sounds like I'm six again. But I like it!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Exploration time - Cairo style

Today, we went out to catch a cup of tea, both to kill some time and to heat up. When the sun sets, Cairo is actually freezing this time of year. (And it's on the border to chilly while the sun is up as well.) As we'd been sitting still for what seemed like hours - on concrete - the situation called for a nice cup of chai. So we headed into the streets, not sure where to go, but never doubting that the journey would end up with tea. And it did. It just took four hours of adventuring to get there.

What happened? Well, we were wandering about in the streets of downtown Cairo when we started talking to an old man. Born and raised a skeptic, I wasn't quite sure about why he wanted to tag along with us, and even less why he wanted to buy us tea. But hey, prejudice never served anyone good, and we went with the flow. A flow of tea cups and cake, sweet drinks and markets. And, my very first visit inside the majestic halls of a mosque! We got to see the charm of the old streets of Cairo, the bustling life of the souq (local market). We stared in awe at the citadel, and laughed at the enthusiastic old man, greeting people to the left and making jokes to the right. To sum it up - we went to buy a quick cup of tea, and ended up with an adventure for hours. And I'm loving every second of it. (I would, however, just about do anything for a good woolen sweater now.)

Finally in Cairo

Welcome to Cairo. My new home for the next months.

At the moment I'm sitting on the roof of my hostel, listening to the sounds of the Friday prayer spreading across town. The sun's bright and somewhat heating - quite the contrast to the freezing temperatures of the night. Not sure what I'll be doing the next days, but at least I'll be in Cairo. I'm finally here.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

On my way!

Allright! Location? Oslo Airport. Destination? Istanbul. And then, then it's Cairo baby! 

My stomach is full of butterflies, and my eyes sore from crying. (I don't really handle goodbyes too well, haha.) But I'm on my way! Part scared and part giggly - and incredibly ready to get my chilled behind away from Norway. (It's amazing how -15 degrees Celsius can motivate you to take the final leap, and leave the country.) 

Ah, well, see you later, got to run for my check-in.

Friday, January 13, 2012

China pt.5: The Great Wall

Realized I never posted enough pics from the wall we pranced around on in China. So here's a whole bunch!

And this is how charming I looked as I practically inhaled 1,5 liters of water at the end of the hike: 

Note to self: I you're planning on walking for hours in the scorching sun on a stone wall ever again, bring more water. Bring a horse carrying tens of liters. Or at least another bottle.

And wait, it's not over yet! Here's something less green and blue for you as well:

Boom-bada-bing - blogging again

So, I'm leaving for Cairo on Thursday. And about an hour ago, I was cornered by my mother, asking/demanding me to blog a little bit down in Egypt. So, I'll try to blog a bit again.

Moving to Cairo, hey? Yesss. The American University in Cairo, AUC, is waiting for me - somewhere between crowded streets and an amazingly interesting culture, and the Arab Spring. Six days from now, and I'll most probably be located in a cheap hostel in the middle of Cairo, eyes wide and backpack full. I'm not quite sure about what courses I'll be taking, not sure what to expect of the enormous city - but I'm looking forward to it nonetheless.

I'll try to take a few photos in a while, but for now, I'll let you enjoy a few wonderful gems I found at Flickr:

#1, #2, #3, #4, #5
If you like these, head over to Peter Gutierrez' profile at Flickr - there are loads more, and they're niiice.
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