Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ramadan, Laser Lights and Survival Arabic

So, I have arrived...not exactly as planned, but at least with all my luggage, both cats, and my sense of humor intact. I am not really a superstitious person, but traveling on Friday the 13th is something I will think twice about in the future. From the moment I arrived at the Continental cargo hold where I was told that the health certificates for my cats had expired, to the airport in Newark where the intake folks took so long to clear the cats that I missed my flight to Cairo and had to spend the night at the Newark Airport Sheraton, it looked to be a disaster in the making. Add to the mix the fact that I had to pay for both my extra/overweight bags AND the cats twice, it also became one of the most expensive trips imaginable. After all was said and done, however, we made it here to Alexandria and are now ensconced in a one bedroom furnished apartment on the campus of Schutz American School.

We have arrived, of course, in the middle of Ramadan, which is a season of fasting, praying and doing charitable deeds. In Egypt, this means that many of my colleagues here at school are not eating with us in the cafeteria yet, and apparently many of the students who will join us on Tuesday will be tired, sluggish and probably cranky. At least that's how I would be. In the meantime, both the new and returning teachers at Schutz spent the past few days in Cairo for a staff retreat, which included seeing a laser light show that illuminated both the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. The voice narrating the show was a Brit who sounded oddly like a UK Vincent Price and at times the laser images looked a lot like Pacman racing across the base of the Sphinx was a surreal experience and not one I would repeat. But the retreat gave me reassurance that my choice in coming to Alexandria was the right one. I have yet to see much of the city, but from what I have been able to see, I am looking forward to exploring. Hopefully, I will be able to learn something useful from my survival Arabic class. Inshallah.

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