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!