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

Sunday, July 25, 2010

*insert title here*

I just got back from an Egyptian soccer game. Supposedly the game was
for some sort of championship. The first team (and the team I
supported), Ahly, play in one league and the other team, whose name I
forget, plays in another league. The game is to decide the overall
champion between the two teams. Ahly is widely supported here and
everyone has Abootrika jerseys in honor of their favorite player on
the team. The other team was supposedly a team made up of policeman
but that wasn't clear. Before i go into the details of my night let
me go into the details of the weekend up until the game.

After seeing inception and staying up until 3 i finally fell asleep
only to be woken up by my six thirty alarm clock, which was telling to
get up, shower, and eat before going to Alexandria. We cancelled the
trip to Luxor butthe trip to Alexandria is easier to we decided to go
up for the day. Nolan, Jamie, Kayla, and I left the school at 7 30. I
had slept the least but I was the most prepared to go. We didn't get
tickets in advance but knew trains left every half hour or hour so we
aimed for the eight o'clock train. We got there on time and found the
platform but we could not find a ticket booth, sometimes I hate this
country. Everyone on the platform was telling us something different
"go there", "come here", "pay on the train", "there's a train at 8 15"
and more outrageous things. Before I go on I'll pause and say that
Cairo is a city of 22 million people with one major train station, and
it's smaller than the one in Pittsburgh. Still, in this city of 22
million people, as we are walking away from the train to hopefully
find a ticket booth we see a sweet little old lady. "wait, we know
her, that's mrs. Magda who lectured us the other day".

7:56 we say hello and find out she is also going to Alexandria

7:57 she tells us what we already have heard but says we can sit in
the buffet car

7:58 we are running behind this little old lady to the buffet car

7:59 we are on the train, the buffet is full, looks like we are

8:00 the train starts moving (and they say Egyptians are never on time)

8:20 we way overpay for the train, 41 pounds. A first class seat is
30. We are standing between two cars of the train.

10:15 we are in Alexandria!

I'll stop with the rundown of times here but the day was just getting
started. We met up with Sara and yalda who drove ip with ayman and
aheb. We got lunch and then decided to go to their apartment and take
a nap because we hadn't slept on the train and weren't feeling well.
After "napping" we did a few of the things we had done the last time
in Alexandria but also walked along the beach for a while. I still
really like Alexandria but it still feels too European and doesn't
have it's own Egyptian identity really. We had a great fish and
shrimp dinner, the best I had ever had and the others agreed it was
among the best they had had as well. For 9 people it was supposed to
be 800 pounds but we wanted to treat the Egyptians. Having Egyptian
friends in Egypt has it's perks because nothing, unless it's in a
department store or supermarket is a fixed price. Every price is
negotiable and they negotiated the price down to 700. Elhamdulilah!
We then left at 10 30 to head back to Cairo in time for our 2 30
curfew, or not in time as it ended up being. It's usually a three hour
drive but traffic in Alexandria and on the highway held us up. They
could tell we were nervous abou getting back late so they drove faster
which made us more nervous. We explained that we would rather arrive
late, and safely, than try to go as fast as possible and be unsafe. We
ended up thirty minutes late which wasn't a big issue. We apologized
to rayda, the gatekeeper and then rolled into bed

This would have all been fine except that today was Visa renewal day.
We had to get up at 7 30 and go to the mogamma and get our visas
renewed. I would like to point out that at the time we got back from
Alexandria I had slept 3 of the previous 24 hours. When I woke up at
7 30 I had slept 4 of the previous twentyfour hours. I was tired. The
mogamma, renowned for it's complexity and long lines went smoothly.
Elhamdulilah! We got there at 8 30 and were back at our dorms at 9
30. We had dropped of our passports, photos, stamps, and applications
and needed to go back two hours later to pick them up. Two hours
Egyptian time is three hours standard time so we went back to sleep
until noon and they rode back to the mogamma once again. We were
still tired. Two hours of sleep only does so much. Luckily for us
Egypt must be on holiday, the mogamma was once again smooth and only
took fifteen minutes to grab our passports/visa and leave. In less
than an hour we had gone to the mogamma for a second time and returned
back to our dorms. Still tired, we fell asleep again.

We woke up at 4 15 to catch cabs to the stadium at 4 30. We already
had tickets to the the game but they don't have assigned seats so you
have to go early enough to get good seats for the game which starts at
8 30. We got to the stadium at 5 but our Egyptian friend who bought
the tickets only showed up at seven. We finally entered, sweaty, hot,
and restless from standing for two hours waiting, but also excited.
The stadium was huge, I imagine 80 or 90 thousand people max, but it
was far from full. One side was completely full l, the el Ahly side
and the other side was about half full. There were probably more
police than fans and more riot police than police. I now understand
why the average government salary here is 600 pounds, they are all
policeman many of who don't even carry weapons. I guess it's a way of
creating jobs but also a way of bankrupting a country. The other
team, supposedly a police team had the most colorful supporters I had
ever seen, they all wore tracksuits, and it seemed that each person
had another color. The el ahly fans were rowdier but still subdued
compared to St. Pauli or HSV fans. Not to mention British fans. It was
still a good atmosphere with lots of noise and excitement but I had
expected worse. The game went well and el Ahly won on an Abu Tereika
goal which sent everyone into a frenzy. It's lucky for us that el Ahly
won because apparently Egyptians fans are subdued until their teams
lose which is the reason for the riot police I suppose. Having el
Ahly win was in the best interest of all involved, which makes rigging
of the match impossible to rule out. We left 5 minutes early to avoid
traffic and the mob and we ended up back at the dorms and hour before
the others in the group who stayed the extra five minutes. It was a
good weekend but an exhausting one and now my pillow is calling me...
Goodnight dear reader

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