Monday, January 15, 2007

Arrival in Cairo

After all this shopping at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, I went back to the airport hours early, to take a nap and buy some overpriced tea. My flight was at 11 pm, and I was so wired despite the jetlag (I think it was this theme of drinking caffenated tea). I was pretty nervous coming into Cairo; I started having the "What am I doing here? I can't spend 3 months here! What was I thinking?" panicky thoughts. I lied a lot on the entry card--I am here for study, but I declared it tourism so I can get a cheaper visa, and I am in fact not staying in the hotel of the person sitting next to me on the plane, nor the hotel of the American family I met coming off the plane that I listed on the immigration health card. The airport was a bit of a hassle (I didn't have money for the visa, had to be escorted past passport control and back, had to go to the bathroom the whole time...) but I finally got there, my luggage came out just as I walked up to the kiosk, and I made my way out into the line of Egyptian men (90%men, for real) waiting either for relatives or for unsuspecting tourists to rip off. And I don't see my friends. I walk around the circle, heading outside... turning down lots of "do you need a taxi? are you alone?" as well as one man who went "sexy?" like it was a question. I got rather nervous, having almost completed a full circle, when I hear a woman call my name and I see Lydia and Nahamia and thier 2 daughters, all of whom came out to pick me up at 2 in the morning. I knew them from when I was here before, although not well. They usher me onto the shuttlebus, and I have to admit to them that I have no place to stay. They let me stay at their house, in a guest room. I could barely get to sleep, I was so nervous, but then I slept for 14 hours; I woke up at 4 pm.

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