So I know I said a little while ago that I wasn’t sure I’d keep the blog going after I arrive in the US, but I realized I have not been as diligent or inspired with my posting as before, and so I have a lot left to say about my experiences that might prove useful or interesting to other travelers (such as how to NOT buy bus tickets in Morocco). This merits at least a few weeks of posts still to make sure I cover some of the remaining comment-worthy territory, which is another way of saying I’m not sure I’m ready to let go of this thing yet. I am already going through some culture shock and though I’m ecstatic to be home with my family, there is a lot to process… and that’s why I started this blog in the first place: to process things in a healthy way. I want to keep going to keep doing that for a little longer at least.
The results of this year have been UNREAL: I’m just shy of 12,000 views with 35 wordpress followers, 8 comment followers, and 743 facebook followers– humbling figures considering the simple aims of this thing and DEFINITELY not what I ever expected. Thank you to all those who have followed along from the start and welcome to those who have just arrived here! It’s been an enlightening adventure for me and I hope you’ve enjoyed it, too.
Tonight we take a bus into the Western Desert to see Siwa Oasis. The Dorling Kindersley Egypt guide describes it as one of the few remaining places on earth where you can truly be alone. It will be my first true desert experience, so I am excited even just for that. I won’t have internet for the next 3 days, but I promise I’ll post the pictures as soon as I get back.
In the meantime, here’s a blog post from Migrationology on Siwa (Photo Essay: Isolated in the Great Egyptian Sand Sea.)
Yesterday, we escaped the big city and traveled the Desert Road north to the Mediterranean Coast, to Alexandria. Immediately, we could tell the air was fresher, the mood lighter, the streets more accessible than Cairo. This is where we will be spending the rest of the semester. Along the way through the desert, we saw some interesting things:
Our apartment in the quiet and pretty Kafr Abdo neighborhood, near the British Council complex. The apartment itself is massive, and I mean massive–you’ll see when I put up pictures later, probably meant for a family of 5 or 6. Our adviser said it belonged to an officer of the navy before us, so there is all this ornate furniture and things in glass cases. Since the program is quite small this year, we just get more space to stretch out.
Tonight we went to the opera house for a showcase of traditional Arabic songs and orchestral arrangements. I was a big fan of the tambourine player, apparently widely recognized as the best in Egypt. I find it hard to find the appeal in some of the music, as it often has so many trills that I can’t tell whether the singer is singing or just doesn’t know what note to stop on. One of the singers, though, was very adept at keeping a melody even while sustaining haunting trills and long, mournful cries. Everything seems to be about longing for someone or something, like everyone with a voice is lovelorn or praising the eyes of someone beautiful and mysterious. I’ll wean myself off the western stuff soon enough.