About My Blog

I Spent six weeks in Egypt before spending a year in Germany. This blog covers the best summer of my life. If you are looking for my posts while I was in Germany ask me, and I'll be happy to share them but I have been asked not to share them publicly. Feel free to visit my brothers blog of his year in Germany or my new blog

Monday, June 28, 2010

Cats and car crashes

THE GODS HAVE FALLEN! Car crash! We saw our first car crash today
when a public bus (a VW bus more or less) crashed into the side of
another smaller taxi. Everyone was fine but a large crowd convened in
the middle of the intersection to figure it all out. This was before
the afternoon sleeping period which I opted out if so that I could
talk to Yalda Kayla and Sara about everything we had experienced so
far. While siting there street cats would walk between the tables of
the outside patio amd stare longingly for food Kayla is terrified of
the cats, which to be honest are no like American household cats in
the slightest, and threatened to punt one if it came close. I was a
bit scared of them too because they are so bony and lanky with huge
eyes that they are almost alien like.

I did get an hour or so of sleep before visiting the al azhr gardens,
from which you have a 360 view of all of Cairo. It's truly one of the
most beautiful places I have seen a sunset. The sun went down and
left a fantastic glow over all of Cairo. We stayed in he gardens and
played games with our newly found Egyptian friends and then sat to eat
dinner until nearly midnight when it was finally time to return home.
The late evenings are justifiable when the afternoon naps are adhered
to, but not when you only had four hours of sleep the night before.
Thankfully I got to sleep almost a full seven hours before wakin up
for breakfast, a cross city car ride to school, and my first ever
Arabic lesson. It was great and he teacher is so sweet and willing to
move slow, although she did say we went through more material in one
day than she had ever expected. There are 12 of us in our class
including three women and two men who do not belong to our group but
are also visiting Cairo to study Arabic. One of the men is from
montana and is probably in his fifties, we didn't Get a chance to ask
him why he is studying Arabic but his American accent is very obvious
when he speaks arabic.

After class some of us went back to our dorms while the rest stayed
behind to use the Internet. We tried to look for notebooks for class
but the only stationery store we could find sold huge sheets of
paper. We need to buy textbooks for our class and they are about 120
pounds which is almost 20 US dollars. After the failed stationery
shopping we went to find an Internet cafe and we found one which,
although it had no airconditioning making it unbearably hot, cost us
only a pound for half an hour which is the equivalent of 20 cents in
the US. Georges, our group leader, said that a good rule of thumb is
that the American dollar and the Egyptian pound have the same buying
power. A loaf of bread in the united states is 3 dollars here it is 3
pounds so by default everything here is five times cheaper than in the
US because one US dollar buys a bit more than five Egyptian pounds.
We don't know why the costs are so cheap, because we don't see much of
the production, but we have several theories. Theory A is the
government controlled production of foods, the Egyptian government
tells large groups of farms what to grow so there is a huge surplus.
Theory B is the cost of fuel, again the buying power of an Egyptian
pound is equal to the buying power of the American dollar and gas in
America cost three dollars a gallon so here it costs three pounds per
gallon or a little less than a dollar per gallon. With reduced fuel
costs the cost of transportation drops and the cost of food drops as


Heidi said...

Well done, Jan, I am glad you get the chance to use the Internet to keep us all up to date on your experience. Interesting theories you propose. Perhaps you will find out more as you go along.Thinking of you very often!!!!

karen said...

Aren't cats significant in Egyptian lore? I remember always seeing cats in sculptures and paintings at the Egyptian exhibits in museums. Perhaps the cats in Egypt are not like American cats because our cats are not gods or the companions of gods?