Wednesday, September 06, 2006

First Day of Classes

I began classes today, and whew, they're not called intensive Arabic for nothing! But first, a brief discription of my amusing encounter at the Nile Hilton. I'd decided, given the dearth of quality air and exercise facilities, that I wanted to join a fitness club. I know I mentioned the Gezira Club in previous e-mails, but their lack of English and other policies made them a very undesirable property. The Nile Hilton, on the other hand, is quite close to campus, and has a very nice gym and, most importantly, a gorgeous pool to sun around. My roommate also wanted to join, and we saw in the brochure that a family membership is cheaper than two single memberships. Beside it, in parentheses, it said 'two adults', so we thought we could maybe join as a family, being as we are living together. So we go the the gym office, speak the manager of the place about memberships, and tell him we want a family membership. He tells us it's only for a Mrs. and Mr., or occasionally for a father and daughter. Then Frances pipes in, "But we're living together!" He remains composed, but I could tell he was rather flustered, and he says he understands, but repeats that it's usually only for a man and woman. "But we're together!" He was extremely polite and cordial, and tells us if we wait a week, he can speak with his boss and get approval for our 'situation.' Well, neither of us really wanted to wait a week, so we joined as two single memberships. It turns out they didn't charge us tax, so we didn't pay that much more. Anyways, as we're filling out our applications, Frances comments on my left-handedness. The manager exclaims "You didn't know that about her?" So I am, henceforth, the Nile Hilton lesbian, but not by choice! When we took a tour of the pool, we met the pool boy, Hassan, and I certainly was glad I'm not gay ;-) He was very steamy, if you know what I mean, just the sort of man you want fetching your towels and reserving you chairs. I'm going tanning after class tomorrow, and I'm very excited to lost my mid-length sleeve tan. Oh yeah, I also had orientation yesterday, but how can that compare to the Hilton ;-)
Today, I had my first IA classes, and they were arduous, no doubt. Of course, right after them, I walked home from the AUC to Zamalek, and then got a pedicure and manicure. The way I figure, it's a learning experience, as the stylists don't speak any English, and every time I go, I speak a little more Arabic. As the AUC handbook says, Meet Egyptians, and thus, I am! The girls were the same as last time, and they remembered us! I learned their names, their ages, and the fact that they like gum. I gave them each a piece of my Trident, and they were very enthused. The salon, Twins, charges a whole 25 LE for the process. Perhaps tonight I'll do a little homework, but I only have one class tomorrow, and then, the weekend! The above pictures: one is of the Nile about a block from my flat and the other is the view from my window at sunset, across the river.

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