23 November, 2011

My Little World Keeps on Ticking

Since Cairo is being featured in the news a fair amount lately I wanted to give a quick update on how Scott and I are doing during the protests.

Well for starters, Scott is doing pretty well since he is spending the week in Berlin for a conference.  He was reluctant to go since the protesting seems to be building up and he didn't want to leave his coworker (or his wife) in the lurch.  Back in a few days, it is not clear yet what sort of scenario he will be greeted with.

I've been carrying on with my regular routine as have most of the people around me.  Our little island is quite normal with all the shops and restaurants remaining open.  Other than the traffic seeming somewhat subdued and a few more people walking around during the day, it is all pretty usual.

I have still been going to Maadi to teach dance and nearly all the students are still attending.  Some of the schools are ending early and some businesses are sending staff home early to avoid being out in the afternoon/evening.

The only real "excitement" that I have seen was on Tuesday afternoon when I left home and had to stop by Scott's work (which is about a 3 minute drive to Tahrir Square).  We saw small groups of people walking away from the square with paper medical masks slung around their necks.  Some also had bandaged heads.  A little further along the cab driver and I started to feel teargas in our throats so we rolled up the windows. We saw slightly bigger numbers of people with masks on, bleary eyes, etc leaving the square.

Then we began safely heading away South and towards Maadi and encountered a group of about 600 people marching in the opposite direction.  Our traffic was still flowing pretty well and the marchers were walking mostly on the sidewalk.  There were drums and people fist pumping and chanting.  Not sure what they were saying - we haven't covered that in my Arabic lessons yet but it definitely wasn't "my pencil in on my desk" or "the teacher is at the front of the class", or any other phrase that I have been working on.

The march was peaceful and had very diverse attendance - young men in their twenties in jeans and tee-shirts, older men in business attire, young ladies with their heads covered, ageless ladies in full burkas.

Talking with a few others I have heard that college students have been returning to the square each afternoon, sometimes bringing their parents!  Expats are even going down to see what's up.  Men, women, and youth.  Egyptian and foreign.  Everyone waiting to see what happens next.  Well so am I, but I'll just watch from a safe distance on the news.

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