Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Life on the Nile

Greetings from the other side of the world to all of you back in the civilized land of Dr Pepper and honey. This is a belated blog post. . . But somehow I think the three of you who read this will have survived the interval.

After two weeks here in Cairo I feel settled in. The original shock of the clashing cultures in my mind has gone away. It certainly was helpful to have Matty B here to walk me through everything. I would have been much more terrified of this trip had he not been on the waiting end of that Delta flight.

I live in a small apartment about two blocks east of the Nile. The building is very conveniently located adjacent to the Metro line. One Egyptian Pound (18 cents) can take me to most of the important places in Cairo. From there, a couple pounds gets you a taxi ride to other locations.

Our neighborhood is called Maadi, and is where you'll find the largest expatriate community and most embassies. Maadi's cooler temperatures and the tree-lined streets make it more pleasant than the intensely hot down-town Cairo.

Partially because of the diurnal heat and the nocturnal schedule imposed by Ramadan, I enjoy going out on the streets during the evening to get food and to interact with the locals. There are a couple of falafel and kushari joints where the workers have become familiar with my regular orders.

When I'm not talking to folks on the street, I pop in one of my earbuds and I listen to my podcasts. I always like listening to podcasts wherever I am, but I get a distinct pleasure out of listening to Adam Carolla (Adam Corolla so T gets it twice), Terry Gross, Bob Boilen, the New Yorker, IFC News, and filmcasts, and thinking that I am probably the only person in Cairo listening to Neil Conan or Garrison Keillor, etc. Somehow, even though they'll never find out about it and/or acknowledge it, I image that they would all be so proud.

One of the major downsides to being in Africa right now, is that I miss a lot of the movies that come out. Hopefully, I'll be back in the states by the time Watchmen comes out. Egyptian cinemas are lacking. I cannot find one showing of Brideshead Revisited anywhere in the city. This means that I'll have to use Bittorrent. But the internet in our apartment isn't good enough for that kind of heavy lifting. We'll see.

As a general practice, I plan on posting most of the photos that I take onto my Facebook account. Those of you who eschew the popular social network will have to stomach your distaste for it and click here. You need not have a Facebook account to enjoy these photos. However, I thrive on comments (on the blog and on the photos), so "share up yo' stack," as the Beastie Boys say. Nora Charles. . . I'm talking to you.