14 August, 2011

Khan el Khalili

All done Arabic school for a little while!  It was a whirlwind two weeks but definitely a good start towards being able to communicate.  Give me a few more weeks/months to review and practice and we shall see where I`m at.

For our last day of classes on Thursday we each did a short speech or a skit in arabic.  I played the role of a cab driver and my partner was the cab victim (er - rider).  We were met with rather glowing reviews and even earned some laughs.  And Scott keeps telling me I`m not funny!

Thursday night we went out for Thai food to say goodbye to another temporary staff member from Scott's work.   We're becoming regulars at the Thai Elephant; now if only they would consider using airconditioning - we always leave there soggy with sweat!

Friday began was a  leisurely morning - shoot!  I slept in and missed church.  Still not accustomed to running my weekends with the Sundays first.  Then off to the Gezira club where Scott played basketball with the guys and the girls went to the ladies gym.  You`d think with this fair amount of gym-ing that I would be getting fitter but it seems that the heat (and possibly the pollution?) are no match for a few half hearted workouts per week.  My energy levels are quite low and my buddies seem to be feeling the same way.  Bring on the cool autumn breezes.  Please?

Friday night Scott and I joined Eneda and her hubby to go check out Khan el Khalili market.  This market is one of the must-see places when in Cairo.  It was established in 1382!  That is crazy!  One website I visited even hypothesized that the existence of the the USA can be attributed to this market.  Maybe a bit of a stretch, but here is the link where I read that so you all can decide for yourselves:

What an incredible place.  Once again I was extremely aware that we were absolutely in a foreign country.  Completely strange, old, beautiful, dirty and loud.  Scott and I had been reluctant to go (despite everyone telling us that we really did need to see it) because we had heard that the vendors are very aggressive and persistent and would follow you until you bought something.  Well we needn`t have worried:  I encounter more persistent children selling mint or fruit in front of our apartment on a daily basis than anybody we dealt with there.

The overall structure of the market was hard to explain: it seemed like a confusing puzzle of roads, narrow alleys, overlapping awnings, shops, and mosques just stacked up in an elaborate but haphazard configuration. All of it dapled with dust, garbage, rubble and of course CATS.

One major complaint for us by the end of the night was all of the traffic.  Apparently before the revolution the market was for pedestrians only, but since then without the rules being reinforced there were many scooters, trucks, and car trying to honk their way around all of us.  At times it was pretty stressful!
But the noise did not dampen some of the fairly magical sights. The moonlight and the lighting of the mosques was amazing. We could have been there hundreds of years ago and it probably wouldn`t have looked that different.

No comments:

Post a Comment