Friday, November 30, 2012

Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego (or The Republic of Mauritius)?

Today is kind of a sad day; Tasha leaves us at midnight. So we spent much of the day packing and getting her ready to go, meaning I have nothing useful to say about our day, so let's talk about a few things here in Zamalek.

As you know, there are a lot of embassies around here. We've seen Spanish, Dutch, Algerian, Chinese, Thai, Norwegian, Ecuador, Pakistan, Greece, and more. But nearish our hotel there is a sign for an embassy from a country none of us has ever heard of:

Some of you internet-savy people have already opened up a google search bar, but I'll save you the trouble. It is an island nation about 2000 km off the SE coast of Africa with a population of 1.2 million. It's flag looks exactly like that sign. Even after googling it, I refuse to believe it is a real place that needs a real embassy (though apparently Obama has been there, or at least heard of it, since there's a picture of him and Michelle with the prime minister on wikipedia). Therefore, since it has set a precedent of a non-real country getting an embassy, we are making plans to create our own fake nation. And much like this country, our interaction with Egypt will be great enough that we warrant an embassy in Zamalek.*

One other place we pass often is the Seti First company. Every time we pass, Lindsey and I wish we had more money. Their website shows luxury cruise boats and 5-star hotels. We want to ride in one of these:

They apparently offer safaris which are "a favorite among our more adventurous customers... [Their] 5 hummers are maintained in top form ensuring comfortable and trouble-free desert excursions." The way I hear it, you get to ride around in the desert in a tank while being protected with big men with big guns. (Cue my family members frantically composing emails about how I'm not allowed to do this.) The trips cost several hundred dollars, so don't worry, I'm not going on one. But it would be really awesome, since you have the opportunity to do camel rides in the desert and visit Bedouin villages. One day...

Like I said, our day has been pretty much just lounging around the hotel. It's a weekend day, so it's not really a day you want to go out doing things, since everyone has the day off and you know what they say about idle hands. We had a small adventure finding a place to eat for lunch, as everywhere we stopped at either didn't have vegetarian fare or was ridiculously expensive. We ended up at an Asian restaurant that was actually really, really good. On the way out, we saw that the head (and only) chef was a  Chinese woman, so that explained a lot. Hopefully, we'll have better luck for dinner.

*Apparently, when Mauritius was discovered, it was home to the dodo bird. They were wiped out by humans in less than 200 years. We're kind of jerk-faces. It also has the highest GDP in Africa and is one of the world's top tourist destinations. How have 3 PhD candidates never heard of it?!