Friday, May 04, 2007

The Cairo Experience

How can I describe the last few days... I can't in the time that I have to write tonight, so I'll just write a few highlights.

Last night I was smoking a hookah and drinking tea in the oldest continually operating coffeeshop in the world in the middle of the ancient Khan El Khalili market. Fishawi's has been open 24/7 for the last 240 years without ever once closing its doors. Sitting back on an old dark wood bench, speaking in Egyptian and classical Arabic, taking in the fragrances, the sounds, the ancient decorative motifs all around while politely refusing all of the trinkets that were being held out to me by the vendors who were shuffling past... I can't even begin to convey the magic of it all.

This morning I was looking at most of the treasures of ancient Egypt, including most of the Tutankhamen collection at the Cairo museum. Tonight I'm watching Resident Evil on the big screen T.V. while listening to excellent Middle Eastern and American techno music as I'm writing this from the hip coffee joint across the street from our villa. The sound for the movie is turned all the way down, but there are Arabic subtitles. What a great way to work on the language! They have 3 channels here that play American movies with Arabic subtitles all day long.

I've gotten acquainted with all of the waiters and the owner here. Last night they enjoyed showing me their modern satellite system and talking to me about all of the best channels that I should try to get in the states. I know all of the waiters by name now, which adds a lot to the whole experience of being here. Tomorrow we're going to Alexandria, and I'm sure that will be an exciting trip as well.