Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Islamic Cairo and Felucca

This post should be shorter than the previous one. However, since I received certain complaints from certain someones that I am behind on my blog, I will try to be regular ;-) Today was another frentic day of wandering the streets of Cairo. I have actually almost mastered the route from school back to the hotel along Talaat alHaraab, just in time to move out of the area and onto Zamalek. I was told by the ALI office that I needed to register at 9 this morning, so I dragged myself from bed and stumbled bleary-eyed to school, only to find out that registration goes until 1 in the afternoon and only takes 2 minutes to complete. Well, what to do with the rest of the day? Shop, of course! My two new roommates and I wandered down to Islamic Cairo and Khan El-Khalil, where one of them bartered for a very nice sheesha. Trekking through the streets of this area is a marvelous experience, walking in the cool shadows of the minarets, ducking into narrow alleyways, smelling the freshly baked bread wafting from the numerous stores, and always being scrutinized with a curious eye. Eventually, we ambled back to the main part of the market, where I proceeded to purchase a beautiful leather purse and two matching inlaid mother of pearl boxes. We attempted to walk back to my hotel, but the heat became so oppressive that we jumped into a cab. I always feel like a dripping faucet in this city, and I'm only cool when I'm in air conditioning. Anyway, after this, one of my current roommates, the mysterious fifth person, and I shopped for clothes in the stores in downtown. Clothes here are so trendy! I had mistakenly envisioned a far different fashion industry, but there are endless stores selling the latest camis, short dresses, flowly long skirts (my favorite!), and beautiful tunic tops, among other things. I 'managed' to buy a nice skirt.
Then, it was onto the felucca ride. A felucca is a traditional Egyptian sailboat, a type of transportation that has been used for thousands of years, although the current ones have electricity. Four friends and I met in front of our university (I took my first cab ride all by myself. I'm so proud;-) and walked to the Four Seasons. A pier in front of this has many feluccas waiting for hire, and we got one for 50 LE, total. That's less than 10 dollars for a private boat ride on the Nile. I was worried about mosquitoes, but there were few bugs and only a cool breeze to brush our hair and soothe our flushed faces. It was a wonderful way to end the day.

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