From Egypt!

I’m not sure if I was just ready to leave Qatar or the fact that this would only be my second visit to Egypt in 12 years (Technically my second day in Cairo in 12 years).  The noise, the atrocious driving, the crowded streets—I missed it all.

We had to stay at a hotel instead of AUC because of the whole swine flu incident at the very dorms that we were supposed to stay at. It’s cool though—I’m not complaining. The view from my room is phenomenal! We are right by the Nile so naturally, I’m out on the porch writing catching up on some writing.

The first day was really long and of course everyone was running on low sleep.  We went to AUC for lectures and overpriced cups of coffee. After practically falling asleep during the last one, my story partner, Nada, and I had an interview scheduled with Ahmed Abu Haiba. Abu Haiba is the visionary behind a new channel called 4shbabTV, which he describes as an “Islamic MTV.” Our story is basically using this channel to talk about youth identity in Egypt. I swear it’s a lot more focused than it sounds…inshallah. We sat in on “Who Wants to be an Islamic Pop Star?” Please pause and reflect on the sheer awesomeness of what I had just said. Thank you. It’s an American-Idol type thing where people from all over the Arab countries call in, sing, and compete to get their songs produced on 4Shbab. We were in the control room so we heard a lot of the comments. “Habibi—don’t ever ever sing again, ever (for God)!”

Just so you know, apparently the entire city of Cairo rushes the streets after winning a soccer game. I was walking downtown and all of the sudden, cars started honking their horns (they even have a distinct beat) and many started waving the Egyptian flags, fireworks, lots of yelling…no jumping over fires though–I guess that remains a UNC thing. It was really fun only I feared for my life the entire time. It’s hard to believe but the driving got even worse. The concept of a lane doesn’t exist here, pedestrians DO NOT have the right-of-way, no signals, no speed limits. I spent about 15 minutes contemplating whether or not I should cross the road and after watching a number of people (Egyptians) take on the challenge aaaaaand a  big fail it was indeed. These people are either really talented or insane.

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