Well after a week and a half of no classes, things are supposed to resume to normal as of Wednesday. The student body has finally reached an agreement with the administration over tuition prices and has worked out other demands which both sides were proposing. After the initial student strike and the closing of the gates, which allowed no one to get onto campus, the administration officially closed all school operations noting that it was a creating a “dangerous situation.” However, because the student body and administration seemed to be in a deadlock with no end in sight and we had already missed a week of classes, things began to get interesting when they threatened to cancel the whole semester, citing that we would miss too much class to make up and lose accreditation. So, towards the end of last week and the beginning of this week, we started online classes as well as having classrooms moved to the Zamalak dorms and the Tahrir Square campus. This proved to be a frustrating experience due to the fact that there was no provided transportation, direction and massive amounts of miss scheduling. However, after many distressed emails flying between teachers, students and the administration things seemed to partially work out and to the enthusiasm of everyone, as of late last night, classes are set to resume normally in two days!
Even though there was a lot of frustration and uncertainty regarding classes, all the time off was quite nice. During the past week I got to experience Cairo a lot more and did some walking through the streets (which is much more pleasant when the sun goes down). Also, it was nice to sit by the pool everyday which was quite empty due to the fact the campus was closed. Below are various pictures of the streets of Cairo, a picture of the dreaded traffic scene here and another of the entrance to AUC. There seems to never be a dull moment and I have definitely learned to expect the unexpected and go with the flow, so I guess we’ll see what happens between now and next week.

These are the picture to my last post.

It was too good to be true to be able to come to Cairo and not have some stomach trouble. Unfortunately it all hit me at once and I had to spend the weekend recovering . However, while I was lying in the clinic all day on Thursday, outside student protesters locked all the gates on campus blocking access for faculty and students, leading to all classes being canceled. In a dispute between the Student body and the administration of AUC over tuition increases it seems that classes may be disrupted for the coming week and it will be interesting to see how events unfold.
Below with the pictures of the protestors are also some pictures I took of a famous market place called Khan El-Khalili. Khalili is one of Cairo’s largest and oldest Souks, dating back all the way to 1382. Filled with various vendors selling everything you could ever imagine, to coffee shops and restaurants it really is quite a scene to walk around. As soon as you pause outside a vendors shop they bombard you with a deal that they say is very good and especially for you(even though in reality it is overpriced by six or seven times). After walking around in what seemed like a maze of side allies and cobblestone streets it was nice to sit down at the famous coffee shop “El-Fishawy” and indulge in some Arab coffee and fresh juice.


I am safe.

With tear gas being thrown about downtown Cairo our biggest concern here seems to be planning what we are doing for the night and where we should go out. As I watch the protests and anti-American/Western demonstrations unfold in the Middle East and Asia it is also interesting to watch the media’s coverage of it. The media seems to cover what happens in Cairo more than any other city as well as link Cairo in to other articles when they are talking about violent attacks in such places as Sanaa, Tunis and Benghazi. Even though there are large powerful protests happening in Cairo they are not of the same violent and widespread nature of some of the other protests which are taking place.

The University itself is secluded from the protests and you would have never had guessed that anything was happening outside of the university walls. Life seems to be going on quite normally here and for the most part, in the greater Cairo area as well.  While things are still developing and evolving at quite a fast pace with the protests, I am definitely more than safe while I sit here reading an article by Max Weber on Islam for my religion in a global world class. No photos to post this time and ill be sure to write soon if there are any further developments concerning the protests.


Settling In

Now that I am experiencing my first full week of classes I have finally begun to get into a rhythm and things seem to be settling down. Up until last week everything seemed surreal and I almost felt as if I was in some sort of weird limbo. Now things definitely feel more settled in and I am becoming ever more familiar with my surroundings. Since my last post, there has been no big touristy trips and I have spent most of my time on campus, going to class and meeting new people. However, it is nice because I am getting to experience the city of Cairo for what it is, rather than feel like an absolute tourist (even though I still stick out of any of the city streets). But finding good restaurants, great food and freshly squeezed mango juice has become something to look forward to everyday.
For now this is just a short post, I will most likely have more to post next week. Below are pictures of the juice bar and of the fresh squeezed juice, which is everywhere. Also I decided to post some pictures of the campus seeing as it is kind of my new home. The pictures do not do justice to the beautiful brand new half a billion dollar campus which they have built out here in “New Cairo” but it is just a snapshot of a spectacular miniature city.

Waking up at 530 in the morning is quite early, but it’s alright when you know within six hours you will be swimming in the calm Red Sea. However, it does get a little frustrating when the bus you are supposed to take does not arrive until nine, when it was supposed to get there three hours earlier. But waiting around and having extreme patience is something one must learn to have when doing anything in Cairo I have come to find out. It is not weird or rude to be thirty minutes or even more late when you are told it will only take five minutes. This is just one of many cultural adjustments that I have been adapting to. Coming from a society that is very intense with strict rules, regulations and always demanding you to be on time makes for a big culture shock when it is the opposite.
Nevertheless, as our small bus bumped along the highway heading east I could not close my eyes as I took in the vastness of the Sahara. Once we reached the coast and started heading south to El Gouna the deep turquoise blue of the Red Sea shimmered in the sun contrasting the baked desert and tanned mountains to our right. The resort itself was a vacationers and travelers heaven. The beaches and pools were beautiful and between our buffet meals we were able to go snorkeling, see fish and coral, and watch dolphins chase our boat as they jumped out of the water.

Now I am waking up early in the morning for a different reason though, it is time for classes. Because the weeks run from Sunday through Thursday, I have already had two days of classes and I am starting to get into a rhythm rather than run on a chaotic schedule. Hopefully, after a few weeks of classes and once I begin to grasp my schedule, I will be able to do some more traveling around this great Country!

Hello Cairo

As I looked out the window of the car while the taxi driver brought us to the edge of the city, the pyramids towered over the ramshackle dusty buildings like mountains overlooking a village. On our first day in Cairo we rode horses through the rundown city of Giza, on the outskirts of Cairo, and then into the desert towards the pyramids. After about twenty minutes, of sometimes chaotic galloping, we arrived at the base of the first pyramid on our trip. The structure and magnificence of all the three great pyramids at Giza is unbelievable and breathtaking. Not only were we able to freely move about the desert as we journeyed from pyramid to pyramid but we also entered and traveled beneath the pyramid through a narrow staircase to view the underground world.
When viewing such amazing wonders the dry heat of Egypt becomes somewhat of an afterthought. However, by mid afternoon the heat catches up with you but for some reason hot coffee still seems attractive as you sip it out of a small cup in the air conditioning. With all the marvel of the pyramids and rich history, the city streets of Cairo in and of itself has a lot to offer. The city and people alone are a wonder of culture. This city with such a huge population, does not disappoint in excitement and chaos
Now that I have been here for four days I am about to move into my room at the American University in Cairo and begin school, or at least the study abroad orientation. However, I am glad my dad and I made the decision to travel together to Cairo and spend a short while to explore the city before I go to school and he goes on to travel to Beirut. Even though I have only been here for a short while, it feels as though I have been walking around the streets for a couple of weeks. For the moment though, this part of the journey is over and the next step is about to begin and I sure unimaginable surprises, excitement and adventures await.

All Ready(I Hope)


            Well here we go, the time has actually come. All summer I have been waiting somewhat anxiously to finally get on the plane and go. Finally now the time has come. Everything seems to be all packed up and all the paperwork is hopefully done, all that needs to happen is the actual flight and before I know it I’ll be halfway across the world immersed in another culture.
           For those of you who are reading this and don’t know me, here is a quick  glimpse of who I am. I am currently a junior at SUNY New Paltz and I am double majoring in International Relations and Sociology. I Live in upstate NY and have always enjoyed traveling abroad. I think that may be one of the reasons why when people ask me if it will be safe in Cairo, I kind of shrug and smile at them. Having traveled to Beirut Lebanon and other places such as Costa Rica and throughout Europe, I feel I am truly ready to Live abroad for four months, and study in the part of the world I am most interested in. I am enjoying the comfort of my room at home and the next time I post here, I Will hopefully have some great pictures and better stories to tell. But for now, I still have one more night in my bed. As for tomorrow though, the travels begin!