Arrived in Cairo
Well we’ve arrived in Cairo. The trip out here was very easy though very long. There are 18 of us and we flew out of JFK International in New York. I was in NY a few days before we left so I got to go to some museums, and I was well rested and showered for the long 6.5 our flight to Frankfurt. But most of the other students flew in to JFK from somewhere else so by the time we got to Egypt everyone was exhausted and wanted to get clean. I’m not sure how I would do it differently, but getting to NY a few days early was definitely a good idea.
We had a layover in Frankfurt that was almost as long as our flight overseas. We did a little shopping and got something to eat. Otherwise we all laid around and tried to get to know each other or take cat naps. The flight from Frankfurt to Cairo was only about 4 hours.
The flights were very easy despite being long. My advice to anyone flying is to bring a long sleeved shirt or sweatshirt to wear if it gets chilly, and bring a hat. You can use the hat to cover your eyes if you need to sleep. Its also a good idea to pack some soft things in your backpack (I had among other things 2 days clothes on the off chance my luggage was lost or stolen) so you can use it as a pillow if you have to sleep somewhere awkward, like an airport floor. On the flights most of us read or slept. On the Frankfort-Cairo route there was a good selection of movies to watch. I watched the Karate Kid, other people watched Iron Man 2 or Robin Hood but there were about 18 to choose from. A bunch of the girls were studying their Arabic on the JFK-Frankfurt route. I watched Futurama on my Laptop. The food was questionable. I ate it because I eat just about everything. But some people didn’t like it. So its probably a good idea to bring some snack food too.
The city looks dirty. The buildings all look dilapidated and so much is either under construction or looks abandoned. When I saw our hotel I was disappointed by how it looked. But its actually very comfortable. My mom would call it “shabby chic.” So the outward appearance doesn’t do the quality of life much justice. Although there is litter EVERYWHERE. People are not responsible with their trash. And I saw 3 stray cats just walking to orientation.
Not much to report today. We had our orientation and first Arabic lesson, which was too advanced for us beginners (about half the group, myself included, speaks little or no Arabic) but hopefully it will get easier. We’ve got plans to go on an excursion to Aswan and Luxxor, and Giza. Rumor has it we’re going to see an opera at the opera house here in Cairo but it’s not on the schedule so I don’t know.
We move in to our dorm in 5 days or so and start classes the day after. I’ll be sure to post more as interesting things happen.
I recorded some video of the Cairene skyline but it’s too long to upload (about 4 minutes) and 40 mb over the limit. So I’ll have to figure out how to trim it down.