Tuesday, May 15, 2007



So everything has been working okay for a while. I've put a stop on my diet, mostly because I noticed I started feeling better once I started drinking more water and eating larger lunches. The problem wasn't that too much bad stuff was coming in; not enough good stuff was! I'm still eating plenty of fruits and vegetables.

So I was finally going to put up a post today reassuring everyone that my computer problems are settled, and then the phone company disconnected the line. So, right now I'm in an internet cafe again working on a shitty computer. Tomorrow I'm going to get my LCD in my laptop fixed so I can just walk over to a WiFi cafe (there are *loads* all over Cairo) and work from there, until my flatmate (who is Egyptian) can figure out what's happening with the phone company. The owner swears he's paid the phone bill, so why it got shut off is a mystery.

I'm finally starting to make more friends here, just chatting some people up, some of the expats and some of the English-speaking Egyptians. Some of the people who work at Kalimat are pretty cool and I've started talking with them as well.

It is pretty hot in Egypt right now. I've only resorted to the A/C a few times so far, but that is because I am so hardcore. Okay, so actually I've used it quite a bit, but I don't have it in my room, so I am managing to sleep in the heat at least. That should count for something.

The one thing that's nice about really hot weather is I actually enjoy taking cold showers, which I understand is supposed to be good for you. Other than that, it's just really frikken hot. This is of course my punishment for being really cold in winter, and thinking, "Man, I can't wait till summer gets here."

I hope all of you are well. Oh, this is News: I am going on vacation next month! I will be meeting up with Marylyle and we will be staying in Paris for a few days and then traveling the French countryside for a while. I'm bringing my (fixed) laptop so I will stay in touch the whole time. I'll still have to work 4 days a week or so, while Marylyle goes off to one boring museum or another. :-)

But it will be nice to take a short break from Cairo. I really should get out of the city anyway; I will probably just make a trip to Alexandria at some point. I keep meaning to go but I'm so worn out on the weekends I usually just want to crash in my flat. I'll just have to force myself on the train or something.

Sorry for the quality of this post, not my normal writing style I think but better quantity over quality, right?

Sunday, May 6, 2007


This is why I haven't posted lately.

So, I tripped over my laptop cord and it fell on the ground and you can see what happened to the screen--it cracked.

I'm a bit upset about it.

I've gotten over my grieving period and I'm starting to figure out what to do to solve the problem. Fortunately, it looks like replacing the LCD screen itself is fairly easy, although getting the screen shipped to Egypt may be a bit tricky. For right now I'm going to hook my laptop up to a keyboard and monitor. There's just one problem:

One the right, you see the video output. It's called Mini-VGA, and nobody but Apple supports it. Sure, it's cute and tiny and takes up a lot less space than a normal VGA plug. But it means that until I get the adaptor from an Apple Store, I still can't use my computer.
So, uh, stay tuned on that one. Not sure if I can find one of those in Cairo.
Other than that, I'm doing fine. I quit my diet. Basically, my rule is this: when my computer gets destroyed, I get to eat whatever the heck I want if it makes me feel better. I got chocolate, hotdogs, bread, pickles, and potato chips and they did help me calm down a bit. Strange comfort food, I know.
But don't worry, I won't break my computer ever time I want to quit my diet; I'll just quit my diet. Really. I have nothing to prove.
From now on I'm going to be a lot more protective of my computers. Promise.
UPDATE: So I called a local Apple Store, and they said that a Mini-VGA cable will cost me 600LE, or around $120. Another place said they will only charge 390LE, or around $75. Either way, this is a lot of money to pay for a tiny retarded cable that costs

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Newer healthier Jordan

Right, so haven't done that much since my post on Friday (early Saturday morning, that is), mostly because very little has happened. Spent most of the weekend indoors, and yestereday I went back to Arabic class. Today was a holiday, so I spent most of it sleeping in and lazing about. I met with a friend in the afternoon. She'd just gotten back from London and, it still being less than 48 hours after she'd arrived in Egypt, she was allowed to purchase booze from the local Duty Free shop. This is, incidentally, the only way I know of to get bottles of imported liquor in Egypt. Otherwise, you have to drink the Egyptian brands, which are unspeakably horrible. And that's if you're drinking the good stuff. The bad stuff might kill you.

Anyhoo, so as some of you may know I am an occasional bourbon and coke drink. And by occasional, I mean that in a really crazed drinking binge I may have as many as two, three, or four...a month. I'm not a very big drinker. Obviously, I drank a bit more when I was in London (it's true what they say -- the youth really are susceptible to peer pressure). So when my thoughts did--rarely--turn to alcohol, I dreamed of a nice bottle of Jim Beam. So this afternoon, that's exactly what my friend helped me get. The whole time I was in the shop, it was hard for me not to feel like a criminal. I suppose the government presence in store should have felt familiar, coming from my experience in ABC stores in Virginia. And yet, it was hard not to feel that what I was doing was somehow fundamentally wrong. My friend, who's been in Cairo just a little longer than I have, felt the same way. Despite your best intentions, the morals of Egypt do infect me a little. I find myself shocked by a woman who is dressed immodestly (shoulders showing, stomach or back showing, legs above the knees showing).
I have no doubt in my mind that many Egyptians -- particularly the more traditional ones -- one have an aneurysm and keel over on the spot if they ever went to Miami Beach.

So moving from one kind of poison to another... Cairo is full of pollution, and the food that you grab on the go is pretty unhealthy -- all fried, containing who knows what (although, thankfully, never pork) and mixed liberally with the dust and pollution that surrounds the city. You can see the pollution when you wash a shirt and look at the dirty water left behind, or you can just leave the city for a while and be shocked by how clean and clear the air tastes.

In any case, I've decided to go on a brief detox diet of sorts to get myself a bit healthier. I've been feeling fatigued and a bit heavy, so starting now I'm cutting out the unhealthy stuff and eating detox-y foods, starting with tonight's dinner.

Just for kicks I looked into getting a detox diet according to my Ayurvedic type. This test says I'm a Vata. When I looked over the recommended foods for my Ayurvedic type, I thought "I can do this." I went for red lentils for my main dish. The list of vegetables included cucumbers, and I had loads of delicious cucumbers in my fridge, but the recommendations also said "Avoid raw vegetables". So...I made cooked cucumbers!

Recipe: Cooked Coriander Cucumbers
Cucumbers (around 2-3 small ones per person, I cooked 4-5 which is way too many)
Coriander to taste (dried Coriander; the British use this term for the herb form, called cilantro in the States and elsewhere. I loathe cilantro but like coriander for some reason.)
Salt to taste

Heat a skillet. If you have whole coriander, throw it on the pan and toast it. When toasted, add the cucumbers, stirring them constantly in the pan.

Cook until done.
I have no idea when this is, I just cooked them until they seemed cooked through and looked sort of like cooked zucchini (courgettes).

They taste a lot like cucumbers, only they are warm.

Stay tuned and see how long I last in this diet, and, if I have the time and energy, what I'm actually eating. I don't have a firm diet set but for the next week or so I'm going to try to cut down on wheat and refined sugar/flour and eat more and more vegetables and fruit.

Anyone who has suggestions, please feel free to offer them!