I promised I’d get back to many of you, so I thought I’d do so at the same time…as my access to internet is limited until I find a place and an adapter for my computer plug that actually works.
I felt like a walking zombie when I got there, due to about 4 hours of sleep total for the last two days. It was still so nice to catch up (for all eight hours) in Dubai with my dear friend Safa, who I hadn’t seen in 4 years and hear about her life in the Emirates, which seemed so surreal to me, from the distance of the Bay.
I arrived in Cairo around noon and got a ride from this really nice Egyptian guy I met on the plane who moved to Dubai to work for a credit card company (since there are almost no jobs for college grads here) and is visiting his family in Cairo for the first time in a year. It was interesting to hear him say that the situation was unstable and society is in disorder due to the revolution (an Egyptian friend of his friend living in Dubai was recently killed by someone who stole his car, which clearly fed into this theory). His brother who picked us up, is an unemployed lawyer (due to the revolution, according to him) living in Aswan (way south of Cairo) found the whole idea of the revolution rather uphauling as well. Soo, needless to say I was a bit trepidous about venturing out after that, and, was planning to stay away from the big protest they had planned at Tahrir, with all the warnings I’d been hearing about the army crackdowns etc. But, then I heard reports from people who were actually there, about how safe it was.
I got there late, when the rally was supposedly ending, but there were 10’s of thousands of people still gathered. The sight was just as incredible as what we witnessed and stood captivated by for hours on end, watching on AlJazeera. I captured some nice footage of protesters and the most amazing 11 year old boy who came to the square on his own and drew this awesome diagram he was displaying to protesters (all by himself!), of helicopters bombing kids in Gaza and Libya and Mubarak oppressing Egyptians. He took the bus there alone, and I asked him if he was afraid, he looked at me completely perplexed, and asked of what! I had no answer for him, in fact that is the sentiment I have come away with initially. Of course as in any major, massive city, especially one ridden with so much poverty, one must be extremely smart and cautious. What I believe is more likely the case, is that the situation is extremely uncertain, which perhaps creates a sense of fear of the unknown and what is to come. However, for me that is what enticed me to come in the first place. The unknown means an unwritten future, a history and destiny IN the making. I am so excited to witness history as it’s being written, and can only hope to play some small part in it.
In fact, ALL the people I have met (EVEN the notorious young men who cat call women for a living–who I’ve have honestly had to stop myself from cracking up at, bc they’re soo funny, harmless and YOUNG!) have been sooo gracious, helpful, respectful and kind.
Let’s just say the hostel I’m staying at has really motivated me to find a place quickly! So I hit the pavement hard and I did so today, without luck. But I do have a housing prospect that looks promising (in what I just found by doing a quick search http://wikitravel.org/en/Cairo/Downtown historic building), which I will go check it out tomorrow. While at the cafe where I was deep into my housing search, I overheard these 3 really strong young women/students from Cairo Uni, talking politics and about recent events and got a chance to do my first interviews. More on that soon..
Now I’m chillin at this cafe watching some futbol, and having some dinner. There are soo many things I’d rather be doing, so I really hope this housing thing works out tomorrow so that I can get on with them.
Onwards to bed, and all ready for my third day 😀
Peace, love and tahrir,