Tag Archives: metro

Two of us get lucky

First off, let me clarify what happened yesterday to the best of my knowledge. After a play commemorating the martyrs of the Revolution, armed thugs arrived and started making mischief. No one knows why the thugs came, who they were, or what they wanted. The police remained involved in the struggle, but the army completely withdrew, allowing it to continue for hours into the  morning. No one really understands what happened or why. My teacher today said that it may have just been a play by the army to make people fear chaos and not advocate too strongly for a faster transition. The thugs could have also been ex-policeman or something like that….but it’s not clear. So the moral of the story is: people are confused.

At any rate, we had classes today (unfortunately/fortunately) but we were urged to leave quickly afterwards in stuff started up again. Tomorrow I think there are supposed to be more protests but I’m not sure who/why…a simple google search didn’t yield answers as fast as I wanted them so I’ll just wait till someone more knowledgeable tells me after the fact.

We were riding in lady’s section of the metro today (I, roomie, and friend) and as usual, the air was hot and stuffy and we were doing our best to speak in Arabic with one another. Just before the train stopped at the Tahrir square metro station, two ladies started talking to us since they were surprised and thrilled we were speaking Arabic. “You have lit up Egypt,” one of the women said, using a common expression in Egypt that I could never remember the response to.  I always think it’s “and light to you” or “God give you light,” but those are both wrong. As I searched for the correct answer, she added, laughing, that she had two sons, meaning she was on the hunt for wives for them. Unfortunately, she got off the train and I didn’t get her info or anything so I’m not sure how the engagement process is going to work. I’ll just be sure to ride that line at that specific time in hopes of finding her again. Lord knows all I’m trying to do is get settled down with a husband and kids here in Egypt ASAP, and she seemed like an honorable woman. It would be nice to go ahead and cross that goal off my list right after “try a different kind of hazelnut spread every week.”

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Metro Slime

Descending into the Doqqi Metro station and striding into the spacious hall bookended by turnstiles, I can never help but feel fear despite the relative comfort of the air conditioning and soothing decor. It’s because I know there is a clock ticking down my sweet remaining seconds of freedom before I meld with a pixelated blob of people mashed inside an un-air conditioned tube that collectively counts down the amount of stops it must survive.

This is only one aspect of the fear, however; the other aspect involves metro slime. The metro might be bursting with humans or relatively calm depending on the time of day, but regardless of hour, season, or year, every surface in the metro is covered with a fine layer of slime. As my hand grooves fill with pharaonic grime and lose all form of traction, even the slight bumps and jolts of the metro become a challenge to withstand.

Every time I enter, I know I will have to touch a pole or a handle covered in metro slime, and I know I will forget to wash my hands before eating my next meal. This is what we call in colloquial American English a lose-lose situation.

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Fevered Bewitchment

Sometime around 9 o’clock last night, a sorcerer cast a spell on me separating me from my spirit animal and causing intense ramifications in my physical body. Without the gentle but clumsy aura of the giant anteater mellowing out the harsh edges of my own “amethyst” being, I was consumed by what felt like the hottest fever I have ever had.

I was out with some friends doing the same old thing in a place I had never been before, the Hussein area of Cairo, close to Al-Azhar University, that same old thing being smoking sheesha. The Hussein area reminded me a lot of Morocco in that it was the typical winding narrow alleys filled with vendors selling all kinds of things that instantly become dust collectors. We were heading for Feshawi’s, an apparently well known place that makes it into all the Lonely Planet guidebooks. After asking about 8 people where it was, we wound our way there and I suddenly found myself in a crowded café filled with patrons, soft gold light diffused by intense clouds of smoke, and people passing through selling everything from necklaces, to henna, to music, to tissues, to hookas, etc. Someone was playing the oud in the background and people were clapping along with the music.

We sat for a while, and at some point in the night a man who seemed normal but was actually a sorcerer came by and showed us an electronic candle that lit up if you blew on it or tapped it. None of us were interested, so he left. But after he did so, I began to feel hot; I thought it might have just been the cramped quarters and the fact I was almost sitting on the stranger in the booth next to me as well as inhaling death, but when I started to get chills as well I knew that something was not quite right. We left a little while later as my health continued to deteriorate, a combination of the sheesha, the separation from my spirit animal, and having only eaten bread and chocolate all day.

Things really took a turn for the worse once we made it into the metro station. We boarded the packed, sauna-like metro car, and began an eternal wait for it to take off. Though I didn’t want to alarm my friends on account of the sickness ravaging my body, it seemed likely I was about to faint, so I was forced to say something. “I do not feel in a good way” I heard myself sputter in Arabic as my hearing began to go faint and my surroundings lost the appearance of reality. The gibberish I spouted obviously concerned them and they ushered me out of the metro car and I sat on a bench for a second in order to try gain a further grasp on consciousness. A few minutes later, the car was about to go, so we quickly boarded once again and as we sped along underground, I leaned against the door and stared at a spot on the ground trying with all my might not to pass out. One possible benefit of my near incapacitation is that I was only vaguely aware of the usual metro staring.

Finally, we arrived at the Dokki metro station and I thanked the sweet Lord that I wasn’t going to end up in a hospital that night. My condition had stabilized by that time and I was able to walk and even make light of the whole situation a little bit as they accompanied me to my building. As I headed upstairs, I wondered what in the world had happened. On the way to my apartment I also had the pleasure of seeing a dog with a dead cat in its mouth.

I took what I thought was ibuprofen and tried to sleep. I lay there for about an hour, a fever consuming my body and strange thoughts pervading my mind, thoughts about wizards and last prayers. Finally I decided I needed to take more painkillers since my headache was threatening to cause blood to spurt out my ears. At this point, I came to the unfortunate realization that I hadn’t taken ibuprofen at all…I had taken anti-diarrheal medication. Alas, the red fog in my mind prohibited me from realized the small blue pills were not at all what ibuprofen looks like. AHHH. I then took real medicine and slept fitfully and sweatily. I woke up at about 6 and vomited up 5 cups of water, just like clockwork after drinking them. Needless to say, I didn’t go to school at all today. Instead, I lay around the house like a harem-dweller and watched the Naked Gun 3, which was hilarious, and an Australian cooking show. Being sick is great for watching television, definitely a benefit. Hopefully I’ll feel better tomorrow; I look forward to lots of pity. We shall see. If I don’t feel better, there will be more movie watching.

Moral of the story: keep your gem guards on you at all time lest a wayward spell penetrate your aural defenses.

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