One of the most simultaneously annoying and endearing things about Egypt is its prevalent CULTURE OF RUMORS. Egypt’s Minister of Information works way, way over-time ensuring that RUMORS don’t get too out-of-hand. This guy is on TV at least once a week dispelling some myth. When I was eight, no one was going NEAR the tap water because EVERYONE was scared of cholera (hey, Moom, remember that?). When I was here three years ago, no one was eating chicken because EVERYONE was scared of bird flu. THUS, it follows that this year’s Top Rumor is our beloved H1N1¹. Upon arrival to the airport back in August, everyone had to fill out a card ensuring that none of us were carrying it (don’t worry, Egypt, I’m clean!) in addition to all that “nothing-to-declare” schtick.
“Oh, this H1N1 hype will die down soon enough,” I chuckled to myself as I pranced through customs². Three weeks later, I received an email from AUC:
AUC will be suspending classes beginning Thursday, September 17 until Saturday, October 3. The decision follows a request by the Egyptian government that the university suspend its classes in line with government universities, which have suspended classes due to concerns relating to the H1N1 flu.
Uh, what? I’d been in class for two weeks and was already going on holiday for ‘Eid, and now my vacation’s being EXTENDED? I scarcely know whether to be angry or utterly DELIGHTED!
So, it’s with some regret that I have to apologize for a lack of content re: THINGS I AM LEARNING. I haven’t had class long enough to tell you (though I assure you that I am learning lots about myself and promise to return a stable, self-actualized young woman). I will inform my readership that, in addition to my ‘Eid el-Fitr journey to Dahab, I’ll be taking a quick trip to Istanbul prior to resumption of classes. I figure that I’m here already, I might as well take advantage of Cheap Tickets and Close Proximity³. When I return from Istanbul, I’ll be in the thick of things: classes, kitten adoption, late night discussions at Odeon and Huriyya, eating Koshari everyday, planning for Halloween, etc.
¹of which I am a Proud Survivor.
²I DID prance! I always prance when I get to that airport. You can only contain your nostalgic joy for so long, y’know?
³I should note as well that at least Turkey has some semblance of relevance to themes I want to explore in my thesis, e.g. National Identity and Migrant Identity! &c.
But while the rumors persist and enable me to jetset round-the-region (no desire to jetset round the globe, really. too much to do here!), allow me to grace you with a very few pictures from my time in beautiful Dahab (in Sinai). The bulk of our time was spent lounging, breathing clean air, and scraping our legs on the reef while snorkeling.