Everybody’s Working For The Weekend

3 October, 2009

In Egypt, most people work Sunday-Thursday, and our school is no exception. Most of us spent our two days of rest doing that- catching up on some much needed sleep. I don’t know what happened, but I think I caught a delayed case of jet lag. After a few days of good rest at night, my body clock abruptly decided to revert to PST: I was lucky to catch three hours of fitful sleep a night from Tuesday on. I managed to string myself together with heroic doses of coffee and strong tea.

Thursday night, Set and I had a “Thursdate” whereupon we went looking for the local expat restaurant Christina’s. We spent at least a half hour looking for it, and finally found it on a small street that we later found out was called the Champs Elysee. Once inside, we found out that they wouldn’t give us a table in an empty restaurant because we didn’t make a reservation (we didn’t have the number), so we ended up eating at the bar. That was perfectly fine by us, and we had a good square meal of Greek salads, crepes and toast with tomato, basil and mozarella. It felt good to just sit back and chill out without dealing with the hecticness of Al Bitash or Alexandria.

Upon returning home, I promptly slept for 14 hours straight.

The next day was subdued. We spent most of the day studying Arabic and organizing our flats, and tried to go to the beach around 4. I say tried because we were ambushed by one of the neighborhood kids, Amma, who insisted on shadowing us.

As we walked, he pointed at the earphones on my neck. “What’s that?” he asked. “Michael Jackson?” I shook my head, told hom it was my music player and let him listen to a song off the new Pelican EP (ps if any of the band members read this, can I get credit for introducing Pelican to Egypt?) After that, he became obsessed with it- to the point of sitting next to my backpack while I was in the water. I had visions of my iPod and camera becoming Amma’s newest toys, so I kind of had to keep one eye out for him. When I came back out, he immediately signalled for the Ipod, and I had to make up a quick story about low battery power. A perfectly nice kid, but later I found out he managed to con one of our program friends into buying him dinner- and then promptly asked for money immediately thereafter. Perhaps grifting is something all suspiciously cute kids are born with- after having worked in public schools in California and New York, I can tell you this is definitely an international phenomenon.

The rest of the evening was spent hanging out and talking about all kinds of things with our classmates. I’m impressed by the level of depth and intelligence that they use to speak about things, be the subject teaching or politics. The diversity of our respective life experiences and cultural backgrounds provided a level of depth en par with any seminar or class I’ve attended in the States.

Today was spent prepping for the next week. We’ll be finishing up the grammar and teaching instruction and moving on to the teaching practice segment. Also, this weekend marks our excursion to Cairo to see the pyramids and Sphinx- I’m not usually one for the touristy stuff, but if I get the chance to go on a camel ride, you can damn sure bet I’m going to do it and take all kinds of photos of myself, Lawrence of Arabia style.

More updates and photos to come!


One Response to “Everybody’s Working For The Weekend”

  1. laura nisbet said

    Your observations are so fascinating…it must be really something to see how kids are kids and people are just people in spite of all of the cultural, social and economic differences.

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