Monday, December 3, 2012

Our Last Day In Cairo

Today is our last day in Cairo! It’ll be a LONG day: 37 hrs from when we wake up until we land in Chicago, plus another 9ish hrs before we should allow ourselves to go to bed. I slept pretty terribly last night, but hopefully that means I’ll be able to nap this afternoon or sleep on the plane. We’ll see.

Since it’s our last day, we’re not doing much other than packing. So I’ll tell you about a few things that didn’t really fit into other posts.

Last night we went to a place called “Wings In Flavors”. It wasn’t bad, though we didn’t try any of the wings. It was a nice place not too far from our hotel, but as we were paying, I looked over to the littler rock garden that they’ve got set up in front of the window and saw a little mouse. He was very cute and we didn’t want them to hurt him, so we didn’t say anything. He was on the 2nd floor and the kitchen was on the 1st, so I’m going to not think about this logically and pretend he was the only one in the building. The restaurant also had a really awesome bathroom sign.

After dinner we went to Mandarine. I think I’ve talked about this place before, but they specialize in Egyptian desserts (though they also have some really good gelato-like stuff). We loaded up on basboosa and kunaffa and ate them while watching Arab music videos. I’ve got to say, I liked the stuff our guys made better, but it was still pretty good.

Our of our favorite things about living in Zamalek, especially after Edfu, is that even though there are a TON of stray animals, they are all pretty well taken care of (there’s trash everywhere for them to eat, and you’ll often see little dishes of food and water outside of businesses). One of the dogs that actually has an owner lives just down the street from our hotel and we pass him almost every time we leave. He’s a small dog, but thinks he’s a big one. He loves playing with the giant yellow lab that lives next door (and has about 50 lbs on him). He barked up a storm at us at first, but then we petted him and now his tail wags every time he sees us. We’re pretty sure the owner was trying to tell us his name is Zooko, but I heard it as “Bazooka” and the name has stuck.

Aside from all the little stands on the streets where you can buy water and snacks, there are two other stands you can run across while on the street: roasted corn and roasted sweet potatoes. I’ve been wanting to try a sweet potato, but every time we see one, we’ve just eaten and I’m really full. However, I did get to eat at the corn cart! The cart is full of uncooked corn; in the back, there’s a small coal grill where the operator cooks the corn. The weird part is that it’s not sweet corn. It’s basically popcorn corn, but before it’s dried. So the corn is really chewy and tastes basically like uncooked popcorn. It wasn’t bad, just very, very weird. 

Sorry it's so dark, it was late at night. In the background is the mall-like center that has the $2.50 store.
At midnight (so about 4pm CST), we'll grab a cab to the airport. Then it's a 4.5 hr flight to Frankfurt, a 3hr 45min layover, and then a 9.5 hr flight to Chicago. If all goes well, I'll be in line for customs around 1pm Chicago-time on Dec 4. Here's hoping it's a short line and no one wants to look in my bags.

Thank you all for reading! If you come back tomorrow, I'll throw up some pictures that never quite made it into the blog. Hope you enjoyed reading about my adventure (even when it was boring) and I'll see you next year! Per request (I heard ya, Julie), I'll try to put some posts up about my conference(s) in the upcoming months, so keep an eye on Facebook in March (and if all goes well, ARCE in April, but fingers are crossed on that one).

As Tasha said, "ma salama, Egypt; hello, USofA!"