I Love Leggings!

I haven’t posted in a while because I’ve been very busy. This week we had the usual stuff: teaching English and learning Arabic. Plus, we visited more tourist sites in Cairo (Coptic Christian Cairo, Al-Azhar University/Mosque, Al-Hussein Mosque, Khan al-Khalili, etc…). Also, I went to Resala (an orphanage) and taught a First Aid course to some of the volunteers. Needless to say, I’ve been busy.

As much as I have done this week the definite highlight of my week was buying a pair of leggings and a long skirt. You just don’t know hot until you climb to the top of a minaret wearing jeans, a long sleeve shirt, and a hijab in 100 degree heat. (We did that yesterday.) Today was the inaugural leggings day, and it was glorious. I wore the leggings, a long sleeve shirt, and a sleeveless knee-length dress. To most people, it probably sounds like I would be burning up in this heat. But to me, it was so much cooler than I’ve been and I even got cold at one point today.

The second best highlight of my week was on Friday. Here in Egypt the weekend is on Friday and Saturday. On Friday, a few of us caught a taxi to Giza (a part of Cairo near the Pyramids) and we went to Le Meridien Hotel. It cost us 105LE (~$21) for the day to use the swimming pool, tennis courts, gym and locker room facilities. We simply stayed at the pool all day. We kept slathering on SPF 45 all day, and I still got a little sunburn. But, the absolute best part about the pool, aside from the cool water, delicious virgin pina coladas, and smell of sunblock was the view. You can see the Great Pyramids from the pool. You dive in, come up for air, and then PYRAMIDS! It’s just a breath-taking view.

The third best part of my week was a discovery I made: http://www.otlob.com It’s an online food delivery site for Cairo. You just register (it’s free!), select which region of Cairo you live in, and it has a list of restaurants with their menus that you can order from. So once you pick the restaurant, you can order the food from the website. It’s such a hassle to try to order in English to people who barely speak it (I wouldn’t even try ordering in Arabic… I’m not that good). With this site, you order your food online, the restaurant calls to confirm your order, and then you get your food within 45 minutes. There is even a timer that says “Your food should arrive within X minutes and X seconds.” Tonight we ordered Chinese food, and it was delicious! I got Kun Pao Chicken that was the spiciest food I’ve had in a long time!

While on the topic of food… After the pool on Friday, we hopped into the scariest, oldest, most busted cab I have ever seen in my life and we went to Supermarket Alfa. I thought we were going to die on the way to the supermarket, but when we got there, it was as if we had died and gone to Heaven! It was a real, western grocery store! (We’ve been living off of mom and pop corner stores for 3 weeks.) We bought so much stuff there! I got frozen shrimp, frozen all-beef hotdogs, milk (full fat), butter, mozzarella cheese, green beans, curry, hot sauce, fish sauce, light coconut milk, and some school supplies. (I’m planning to make a Thai dinner this week.) The other girls got some American staples like instant oatmeal, M&Ms, frosting, chips, salsa, etc.

I think we’re going to start traveling soon on weekends. This Friday (July 4), we will be going to a party with the US Embassy! The week after, we are going to Alexandria! We’re talking about going south to Aswan at some point and/or to Sharm El-Sheikh (on the Red Sea coast).

I just can’t believe that I’ve been in Cairo, in AFRICA for 3 weeks now. I feel like a native! And at the same time, I know it will be wonderful to go back home, eat pork, drink alcohol, and wear “skanky” (read: non-fully covered) clothing! Three weeks down, 5 to go! I’ll do my best to continue blogging and keeping you up to date on my life here in Cairo. Sometimes (read: most of the time) we are too busy to even breathe, let alone write blogs.