Three Social Engagements! In one day.
I started off the day with a 10:00 am coffee visit with one of the spouses living in Zamalek. She has been here a little bit longer and I found it so encouraging to see how well she has navigated her way around here. I had possibly the best coffee EVER - a latte with fresh ginger grated on top. Whoa - write that idea down Starbucks.
We had a really good time, she had lots of incredible stories and has been just about everywhere. I am by far the least travelled of everyone I have met here (okay I haven't been very many places by most people's standards, but I tell you these guys have got it covered!).
Then off to Ma'adi by cab again, this time by myself with a map. We somehow got there in about 40 minutes with only one wrong turn. There are not very many street signs and lots not in English so I was counting roundabouts and intersections on my Ma'adi map. I can do this! This time I went to the Community Association Centre (they have a gym, a library, a store, a language school, and a cafe) where I met the outgoing dance teacher for the program I'll be taking on in the fall. She had set up her own recitals there and had classes with waiting lists. Big shoes to fill.
I was picked up by the first cab I asked to go back home. He went a different way that I could not figure out, but I had only a Ma'adi map so had nothing for reference. He tried talking to me, but of course my complete lack of Arabic was a bit of a handicap. By the creepy smile he kept shooting back I think it was just as well. At one point he pulled over beside a restaurant, gestured towards it, and asked me something. I don't know if he wanted us to go eat there or if he was just telling me it was a good place. But he waited for a response from me (No?) before driving on again. I did get home in one piece but I don't think I like taking cabs by myself here. Until I learn some Arabic at least!
Third engagement - drinks at the Marriott Hotel. What a fancy place. Gorgeous building, gorgeous garden and pool at the centre. We met the other Zamalek-ers plus two people from France. All organized by my new latte buddy from the morning. Again the conversation was divided between English and French. I might leave here a much improved French speaker and a very wee-bit-o-Arabic speaker. Again everyone was so interesting and friendly. I could get used to this.