Getting to know Cairo
Cairo Travel Blog› entry 6 of 11 › view all entries
July 12th, 2006 – by: mchesus
Staying with a host parent/family is such a different experience from staying at a hotel, or even hostel. It's such intense culture shock, really understanding how the locals live.
Today we visited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It was fun - we all got dressed up and asked questions to the Ambassador. It was so formal and interesting. I asked about the widening gaps in the classes and the dissolving of the middle class. She was clearing trying doing her best PR for us.
We all ate at a Egyptian fast food place - GAD - and talked about morals. In America morality spans a spectrum, but in Egypt there is a more unified sense of what "morality" is. It's so weird to me that a huge majority of adults don't drink alcohol, or teenagers that haven't ever been on a date. I appreciate the differences, and find them very interesting.
After our lunch we headed to three coptic churches, the Ben Ezra synagogue, and two mosques! A lot of ground in one day. We had an amazing guide, a friend of Amideast who showed the 16 of us around at all the places with great humor. It was incredibly hot that day, somewhere well above 100. When walking to a church or mosque there was a market owner who was trying to get us to buy water - i was tempted - and he kept yelling "water 5 pound!" and i was looking at some scarves and he said "scarf 5 pound!" and then i pet the dirty cat at my feet and he yelled "cat 5 pound!"
At the Al-Azhar mosque, despite the stories I had read about it being a very bad mosquest for Americans, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I borrowed a dress like outfit, took of my shoes, and put on my headscarf, and sad on the cool tile, and by the tapestries for half an hour. I felt at peace for the first time in a week. it was one of the best moments of my life
we dashed across the street to the khan al khalili and ate rice pudding and laughed. Om Ali's are the best desserts in the world....in the khan i got called at many different ways, "hey spicy girls!!!!" and "for you, beautiful, it is egyptian price!".
I LOVE EGYPT
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