Saturday, August 24, 2013

Pretzels! Now for Dinner!

Ok, I have landed in Cairo. First order of business: take off layers. Second order of business: remove bullet-proof vest — not needed.

My dear Ahmad picked me up at the airport, and we had a young professor who knew me from orientation last year come along. He provided the heavy lifting for my 70 pound duffel bag. Hey, a girl's gotta pack for the whole year in Seattle (sunny one day, rainy one day, chilly one night, hot the next day...).

I know people are worried about me and some of that fear is from the TV camera's only view (violence, conflict, and bloodshed.) But just like I had lots of help in Seattle this summer (Lara, Bonnie, Alison, Kate, you know who you are), I will have help in Egypt. I used to think of things in big strokes, broad planning. And I didn't get very far that way. But deciding day by day, 'yeah, I think Egypt will be ok,' I came back. The airport was filled with people traveling, families reuniting, people returning from vacation. There was not even a noticeable security presence.

The campus is as quiet as a church mouse. Most teachers will start arriving tomorrow, and some students are already in the dorm. I'm sharing a suite with 3 other graduate students, one of whom is Mr. Friendly because as soon as he heard me come in, he stayed in his room watching a movie. Maybe he fell asleep. Or maybe he's agoraphobic. Not one to pass up an advantageous opportunity, I made sure to take the shelves in the kitchen with my food so he feels that someone has already scented the territory with lion spray. That'll learn 'im!

The recent curfew was lifted from a start time of 7pm to 9pm, though it was too late to be of much use today. All the offices and restaurants are closed, which means,'s Pretzels for Dinner! But no worries, I ate very well on the plane (those Air France folks don't kid around), and watched four movies, and some TV shows. I have yet, however, to get any sleep. I'm going to unpack my bags, check my email and go to bed.

So have faith, things are very quiet on my end of town (SEE MAP in last entry). I'll keep you posted.

- The Occidental Tourist


  1. far so good. Still, I'd watch my back if I were you....just saying.

  2. It seems to me that you've made a reasoned decision. That's the way we should make decisions, right? Study the situation, think about it, and then make the decision that's best for me. If we go by 'what's in the air," or what "everyone else thinks," we often end up acting according to some myth or downright misapprehension. That can end up being a big mistake, as we all know.

    I imagine this year will be different than last year since you are no longer the new guy. You can, in your classes for instance, try what you know worked last year and also try new things with more confidence. The second year in a school, in a new town, was always a lot better for me I remember. I look forward to hearing from you!

    Best wishes

  3. good! stupid media! everyone is prob singing and danding too!