Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Hi, sorry for the lack of updates, I've been at a school trip to alexandria, and thought I'd have internet access there, but I didn't. We were at this really expensive Hilton hotel, which wasn't all that impressive - the funniest thing being the bar: the wine list had two wines listed: "red" and "white" (both supposedly terrible), they also had three kinds of whisky: "good", "cheap" and "special" and everyone who ordered a long island ice tea got something different (but never actually a long island ice tea)

Me and some others decided to stay behind downtown for a day, and I think I like Alexandria. It's a port city, like both of my hometowns - so the wind from the sea blows away a lot of the smog, and you have a nice view of the sea. The architecture is also a lot more varied than in Cairo, even though some said things seemed a bit more run down. It strikes me as kind of strange to think of that Cairo is bigger than Alex, as I think port cities tend to be bigger and wealthier... I also met with Amani, an internet aquaintance of mine, and we had a chat and a Pizza, so all in all it was a worthwile stay.

Back in Cairo now, classes start tomorrow and I'm going to get up early to find the building my first class is at - the only clue being the cryptic "SSCI" that stands in the "Bldg" coloumn on the sheet that lists my classes. Oh, and none of the courses I was planning on taking were avaliable (except arabic) so I'll be taking this:

Accellerated modern standard arabic, Arab society(anthropology), survey of arab history and philosophy & religion.

It'll be fun I think, and I hope my home university can approve these readily, because I think I'll have to get very lucky to change them (they do a lot of stuff on paper here....)

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Egyptian cabs
A matter of great legends, much fear and confusion seems to be the taxis in Cairo. I recently read a text about it at what seems to be something like a bbc version of the wikipedia. It's a very well written text, in that it's funny, but it has a few exaggerations - and might make people hesitate about travelling to Cairo.

There is no reason to do that. As long as you know the arabic name of a central landmark by the place you're going (like a square (Cairo's full of squares) or a university) - you're pretty much guaranteed to get where you want to go without problems. The meter is decoration, though, so you should settle the amount you're to pay before getting in the cab (the day we paid LE20 to go nowhere was the last day we made that mistake), you might end up paying too much, but you won't litterally get robbed (what would be the fun in that?).

The driving norms in Cairo are actually quite interesting. Getting where you want to go seems to be a matter of strategy and great driving skill - driving in to the right openings in the traffic, while using the right combinations of light and sound signals. I've heard that there are an increasing number of traffic lights and traffic policemen to ruin the fun for everyone, but the art of egyptian driving lives on for now. I've heard that it's quite similar to how they drive in Beijing(sp?), by the way.

Oh, yeah, and I think I've found myself a nice appartment. As I write there are two options, and which I'll end up with depends on factors that are currently out of my control. Both places are nice and cheap, though (around LE 1000/month) - there are cheaper places, but I really want to get settled before the trip to Alexandria the day after tomorrow.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Reader's/interactor's manual:

I think there are people here who may not be completely familiar with how a blog works. So because of that (and because I've been hogging the one PC in the hostel for all too long), I'll now post a user's manual in stead of the scheduled programming:

It's very simple: The first posts/entry are at the bottom, and as I get more pages, at the last pages. Every time I post something new, it pops up at the top.

Important: By clicking the 'X comments' link at the bottom of each post, you can add your own comment - I highly encourage this, because I love attention, but note that these comments are as public as this blog. Private or embarrassing comments should be given through mail.

By clicking at the time underneath each post, you can open the post up seperately and thus get a permanent link to it (unlike if you just link to http://studereriegypt.blogspot.com/ , in which case the post will dissappear behind the first page after a while...)

The blue top-bar has nothing to do with me, it's the site that hosts this blog.

And that should be everything.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Maybe this will be one of the few blogs that actually works like an online diary. I feel sorry about this possibility to those who would feel obligated to read it, as that'd mean it will become really boring.

I actually visited the AUC dorms today, and had a good long walk around town (after a cabbie miserably failed me and a couple of american students - charging us LE20, which is quite outrageous, especially considering the fact that he didn't get us anywhere...)

My main worry here now is that I won't get to know any egyptians. They mostly seem like open, chatty people who are anything but shy and reclusive, so I don't really think that will be a problem. Several egyptians actually approached us the street, starting conversations - and some of those didn't even have anything to sell.

Another worry is all those everyday things, food, a more permanent place to stay and so on....

Thursday, January 19, 2006

I'm here!

In Cairo that is. Finally. At the King Tut hostel.

I can reveal that taxi drivers still ignore red ligthts here, at least at this time of night (it's past 2AM), but the ride seemed safe, and my knuckles didn't go white nor me pants wet even once.

The taxi was easy to get too, probably because it's so late. I'm very much at rest now, and I suppose the real challenge starts tomorrow - in finding my bearings around here.

I'm quite tired now, and I really only went online to check my mail - so, maybe I'll post more tomorrow.

Edit: oh, and by the way: it does seem like a big deal!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

beklager at denne er på engelsk, men blogger.com tillater ikke noe annet, og blogg.no krever reklame.

This is my first post in this blog that will be dedicated to my life as a student in Cairo (and probably some other stuff as well), it'll be updated whenever I feel like it (and that will probably depend on how much feedback I get).

There's always something surreal about packing things to move, I shuld know, as I've moved four times the last four years. Sitting around between packing, seeing your environment slowly disintegrating around you, and ending up in a flashy minimalist appartment before disassembling the desk and clearing away the bed (okay, so I'm projecting: these are my two most important pieces of furniture).

I'm now sitting in the chair that came with the room, in the corner along with everything that's left, and waiting for my da to come along with the car. I'll be leaving tonight, and I don't think it's really struck me yet. I don't suppose it'll ever seem like a big deal, but it doesn't seem realistic to me to think "tomorrow I'll be in Cairo".