Sorry to leave everyone hanging, but it’s been a crazy few months here. I’ve been busy with work and blah, blah, blah…
Posts Tagged With: fun with friends
In all the time I’ve been in Egypt I haven’t had the chance to do a lot of exploring. Between preparing my classroom, planning lessons, going to the gym, and all the other minor inconveniences of life, there’s not a lot of room left for sight-seeing. Also, many of the tourist destinations; the Pyramids, Tahrir Square, etc., are far from my home and not the safest place to be.
However, a week or so ago some coworkers and I had the opportunity to do a little exploring. Angelica, the Kindergarten teacher, found a listing for a sushi restaurant, with an all-you-can-eat special, that she wanted to try. Lindsey (middle school Language Arts and Social Studies) and I were game and we had a free day, so why not? After a nice long workout at the local gym we locked up our sweaty gym clothes and caught a taxi to Maadi, an expat-filled neighborhood of Cairo.
Of course, although we had a map, our cab driver had no idea where we were going. I’m finding that to be common here in Egypt. Cab drivers will say they know where they’re going, but stop and ask for directions several times a trip. Our driver that day didn’t stop and ask for directions, but he did drop us off far from where we wanted to be. He pointed us down an alleyway where we could see signs in several languages: Korean, Chinese, and Japanese. Not what we wanted, but we could see what he meant.
Luckily, we were dropped off in one of the embassy districts where guards are more likely to speak English. We asked for directions a few times and walked the 20 minutes to Jo Sushi.
Though not much to look at from the outside, and tiny on the inside (5 tables) the food was good. The servers spoke English fairly well, and were helpful in choosing good sushi rolls. All three of us managed to over order and overeat though. We were starving, and the food took quite a while to arrive, but it was pretty decent.
After our over-indulgence we decided to walk off some of our gluttony along the Nile. It was sunset, and cooling off nicely.
Along our walk we were accosted a few times by men hawking boat rides on the Nile. I wasn’t really in the mood, but Angelica and Lindsey stopped to ask prices. Turns out that an hour’s ride on the Nile at sunset was only 150 Egyptian pounds (LE), significantly cheaper than our 135 LE each all-you-can-eat lunch.
So we negotiated a fairer price (100 LE) and settled in for a sunset ride. It was gorgeous, and peaceful. Some of the traffic on the river was odd: Rowers, fishermen, etc, and the trash everywhere was saddening, but overall it was lovely.
Well, except for the soundtrack. Two minutes after launching our captain turned on some Egyptian techno music. LOUD. And didn’t turn it off for the whole hour.
We took pictures of EVERYTHING, which is only fair, since everything stared at us; the three lonely foreigners in a boat on the Nile. It took the whole hour to circle the island of Zamalek, especially since we started by going upstream. I often forget that the Nile is the only river in the world that flows ‘backwards’ or Northward. Upper Egypt is the south, and I live in Lower Egypt, the North.
After our lovely boat ride we caught a cab and spent the next 90 minutes sitting in traffic. But it was totally worth it.
We started with a simple goal: go to a sushi restaurant. We met that goal, and went even further to have a minor adventure on the Nile. A very successful day for 3 expat teachers.
Sometimes living overseas can be exhausting. You’re away from familiar friends and family, food is different, customs are different, entertainment is different, sometimes even going to the bathroom is different. Every once in awhile an expat needs to get together with some other expat friends and revel in the ‘normal.’ I put normal in quotation marks because there is no such thing, really (except as a setting on the dryer). But it’s a convenient word to use to describe the traditions, customs, and foods that one gets homesick for while living abroad.
These past few weekends (technically they’re weekdays, but they come at the end of my work week), I’ve indulged with some fellow expats in some bouts of ‘normalcy.’
To make our own fun we decided to have a sleepover at a friend’s house that included people playing mancala on my back, watching Bambi until 3 AM, and lots of hair braiding. Hilarity and hijinks ensued and we all gained a little of our sanity back.
The following weekend my friends and I held another sleepover, this time with a theme! It’s Christmas in July! We even brought gifts for a Yankee Christmas exchange. (I shamelessly used this as an opportunity to get rid of some junk I don’t need to take with me to Egypt.)
This second sleepover included much less shenanigans and we utilized our time the next day to visit Houhai, a popular area of Beijing among tourists.
Activities in the 100+ degree heat included a walk around HouHai Lake, a pedal-boat ride, lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant, and general revelry in the beauty that is the Beijing we live in.