We met Elley and her friend today. They both went to Tufts and have been here for a year to study Arabic on a fellowship. It was a 25 minute taxi ride, but it only cost 20 EP! Gas is so cheap here! We met her and her friend at a Sudanese restaurant, which was really really good (even though it was a hole in the wall!). We then went to old Islamic Cairo; it has such beautiful old buildings! Elley couldn’t remember all the history, but it was nice to walk around. I hope we can return, because I'd love to go in the mosque again with my camera. I love that everyone goes barefoot in the mosques. They are so grand and peaceful, open to the sky in the center.
Four American girls taking the Metro across town attracts a lot of attention (as does walking around ANYWHERE). It was worst when Sherin and I walked in front. Sherin is blonde and attracts a lot of attention (her hair is very very long). I put my hair up, hoping that no one would notice it. HAH. Fat chance. However, people were only trying to touch it while we were in the metro/the poorer area of Cairo. Once we got near the mosques/near nicer areas, they were more respectful. However, people were following us with there eyes everywhere we went. After we got out of the metro, several boys came up and would pull on my ponytail. I mostly ignored it, because it was quick and they would dash away. However, one boy pulled hard, and I turned around and said “LA!” (no) really firmly, pointing my finger at him. He looked so startled.
The comment we heard the most was “oh, the spice girls!” “you are spicey girls” which was really funny. Lots of “oh, beautiful girls!”, “so sexy”, etc etc. Sherin and I were joking that if someone needs a confidence boost, they should go to Egypt! My favorite comment came from a man who was gesturing for me to enter his shop. He said, “I already have a wife, I just want your money”.
On the metro, a woman took a picture of the group of us (we walked in among a sea of women wearing hijab). Also, a girl wanted a photo with just me, because of my hair.. After today, I plan to always carry a scarf with me, because it’s nice to be able to cover up a little more when I want to.
After seeing the market, we went back to Elley’s neighborhood and went to a real grocery store! Sherin and I stocked up on cereal, cereal bars, and these things that taste like graham crackers and Ritz crackers had a baby. We needed breakfast foods, so this will do!