Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
I've been holding onto this last one for awhile now. We've been home from Cairo for 10 days and I need to move on, but not before I tell you about the amazing people who made our stay in Cairo so relaxing/delicious/safe/carefree.
This is Khaled. He drove us all over town. We probably spent more time with him than anyone else, if you know anything about Cairo traffic then you know why.
Mohammed on the left. He's the reason I gained ten pounds in 4 weeks (sadly that is not an exaggeration).
Sayeed is next to my mom and Su-su is next to me.
I realize this is a lot of photos, but I have a feeling that over the next few months I'm going to re-visit this post and reminisce... and maybe cry a little while I fold laundry and do dishes. Sigh.
It's pretty darn cute when Ike says Su-Su.
Wael, my favorite of my dad's bodyguards (no offense to Omar, he's cool too).
Always in a suit and tie... and packing heat.
Su-su, oh how I miss her. She went shopping with me and her bargaining skills saved me hundreds of pounds. Thanks to her I didn't have to pay a "skin tax."
Nabil, my dad's driver.
My little brother, Chris. Love this guy so much!
His nephews adore him.
Even though shortly after this photo, Chris accidentally broke Booker's Kinder Surprise toy.
Then things got a little weird...
My judgement in Cairo may not have been the best. I blame it on my Egypt Goggles, the same things that made me completely disregard all car safety rules. Those darn goggles also made petting a lion at the zoo sound like a good idea.
Letting three-year-olds hold your gun is normal, it's fun, it's Egypt!
Seriously, what was I thinking? It's not loaded, but still... it's a GUN. Yikes.
I'm just glad he looks super awkward and uncomfortable.
Friday, May 7, 2010
On our last night in Cairo, we needed to find a way to keep the boys awake (our flight left at 1 in the morning). The Embassy was hosting a Kareem Salama concert over at Al-Azhar park so we decided to check it out. Apparently Kareem Salama is the first ever American-Muslim country singer. An Egyptian country singer? I just had to check this out. The concert proved to be lots of fun. Booker especially enjoyed it, see below. If you want to hear more of Kareem, head on over to iTunes. His EP is titled Generous Peace. I'm not a country music fan, but if an Egyptian country singer can make it then I'm intrigued.
I begged Chris to come even though he's way too cool for country music. Thanks little brother!
That's my dad getting interviewed with his bodyguard standing by. My dad. The guy who used to make us crazy weird casseroles with potato chips on top.
Your toddler is up two hours past his bedtime at a country music concert in Cairo, Egypt? There's an app for that.
"My name is Booker and I like to DANCE!"
As I sit down to post about my final days in Cairo, I can't help but think, "Whoa, did that really happen? Did I really go to that swanky party on that luxury Nile cruiser with those hoity-toity Egyptian celebrities?" Yes, I did. And it was really strange but fun all the same.
My dad goes to a lot of parties, work-related obviously- have you met my dad? Huge nerd. Anyways, while we were in Cairo we tagged along and attended some of those parties. One night he invited us to a party on a newly opened boat, a luxury Nile cruiser to be exact. My dad told me to bring my camera because the host of the party always has some celebrity guest in attendance, think George Clooney and Brooke Shields.
We look like we belong there, right?
Clark hates parties like this and I love them. The food is always delicious and everyone else is slightly tipsy and "OH SO HAPPY TO MEET YOU!" Good times. This particular boat (besides being full of food and drunk people) had several beautiful rooms, where you would stay if you were to charter the boat.
The theme of the master bedroom was based on King Farouk of Egypt who was overthrown in the Revolution of 1952. Egypt now has a President instead of a ruling King.
They had a rug made out of one King Farouk's letters to his mother. I want one.
Believe it or not, he actually does belong here.
This was the Napoleon bedroom.
With a Rosetta Stone rug! I want of these too.
It was a beautiful night to be out on the Nile.
Trying to blend in...
My mouth is watering as I remember the mini lamb chops... the kofta... the mini creme brulees, so small you could eat 50 of them. Mmmmmmmm.
The host's wife was a former Swiss model- you know, just like all the other former models I meet back at home. Remind me not to stand next to former models... ever.
And the celebrity of the evening was the KING OF EGYPT! He lives in exile of course, in Switzerland I think. But he is the pretender to the throne... if there was a throne for him to assume.
We talked about diaper brands, how to remove grass stains, Dora the Explorer, you know. His Majesty and I, we're tight.
These were some Egyptian actors and pop stars. I was too shy to talk to them. One of them was in a movie with Orlando Bloom.
So there you have it. One week ago I was nibbling on sushi at this party. Now I'm back at home and from the smell filling my nostrils, I can tell that the dog pooped in the living room... again.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
One of my regrets from my trip to Cairo is that I didn't get to meet more Egyptians. Besides the various staff at my parents' house, I didn't have a lot opportunities to interact with Egyptians on a real meaningful level. So when one of the security guards asked if his daughter could come over and meet me, I was thrilled! More like, can I meet her?
And that's how I got my first Egyptian friend. Bassant came over for drinks and we talked about what it's like to be young and female in Egypt. About school and dating and arranged marriages, you know- normal girl talk. She was very curious about my life back in America. I think she was hoping to meet an EMPOWERED American women and I'm afraid I didn't quite meet her expectations...
"But how are you a mother of TWO children at such a young age?"
"But surely you must work outside of your home?"
"But of course you went to college, right?"
And with that, I assured her that yes I have my degree and she shouldn't let anything stop her from getting hers. She's a student at Cairo University studying Spanish and she also works as a female guard at the embassy. So that's the story of how I met an Egyptian women who is more liberated than me! I hope she'll come visit me in Tucson and put some use to her Spanish. She promised to take me shopping next time I'm in Cairo. And thanks to the ubiquity of Facebook, we can keep in touch until then.
I'm suffering from a pretty serious case of post-Cairo depression. My symptoms include:
- Complete inability to do laundry, cook or clean.
- Craving koshary, felafel sandwiches and fresh strawberry juice.
- Thinking the sound of the train is actually the call to prayer.
- Wanting to bargain over the price of my Subway sandwich.
- A sudden fear of wide open spaces.
- Disbelief when the people of Walmart don't adoringly mob my children.
- Keeping wads of toiler paper and small change in my purse in case I have to use a public restroom.
- Wishing there was more garbage on the ground to liven things up.
- Obsessively stalking my parents and little brother on Facebook because I miss them so much.
- Disappointment when I come back home and my bed is still unmade and toys are everywhere.
- Total. Lack. Of. Motivation. It's getting bad. I've got a few more posts from Cairo that I need to crank out, but I need to find the motivation. Once it's blogged, my incredible adventure will be over... and I will fill a bathtub with my tears.
Fortunately there is a cure and it's called CAIRO 2011. Now I just to convince Clark of it's effectiveness. I'm thinking of going back for the month of February or March this time. That gives you plenty of time to plan a trip and join me. See you there!