Sunday, November 26, 2006

There's gotta be a limit...

on how many times I can get lost here and a cap on the amount of time I'm allowed to be lost for! I mean, honestly, I feel like it's becoming more and more common. Isn't getting lost supposed to happen less and less the longer you're in a place? Here are brief recaps of a couple of my most recent experiences (though they won't be nearly as good as hearing me explain it):

Incident #1: After dropping Kristen off at the airport and I decided I would save 37L.E. by taking the bus. I took a shuttle to the bus stop (i.e. look for all the people standing around and that's the stop). First, I had to ask which bus to take and got a couple of really long answers in Arabic, but all I got out of it was the number 28. I waited and waited and waited and finally lept onto the bus with everyone else. I had my headphones in my ears as we pulled up to a much larger bus station. As I looked out the window at a station filled with men, I thought to myself, "I'm glad I don't have to wait around here." Next thing I know, someone is tapping me on the shoulder telling me the bus isn't actually going to my house. I think he told me why, but I didn't understand...as usual. After I asked a few people and got a few different numbers, I climbed onto a different #28 bus and took another seat. This time an Arab who speaks English sat next to me. He explained to me that the bus was going near my house, but taking a detour along the way to what I thought was a different suburb*. I decided I would stick it out because I wasn't really digging the bus station. I put my headphones back in my ears but unfortunately, he didn't understand that headphones mean I don't want to talk. Here are the questions he asked me in our brief moments together: "Are you here with your husband? No? So...if I were to marry an American, could I get a greencard? How about American citizenship? What's your phone number?" Not even kidding!!! Just then, we were driving along the outskirts of my suburb, so I didn't hesitate to get off and find a taxi home. Needless to say, it was an exhausting 1 1/2 hours.



*I found out just today, that what I thought was a suburb is actually a road that is about a block away from my house.

Incident #2: I decided I could make it on my own to my family's house via microbus--and I really thought I could. I actually got on one microbus and transferred onto the correct one. I was on my way!!! The only problem was that I had never been here in the dark and if you know me, you know I'm not captain observent. Even though I payed very, very close attention, I somehow missed the garden, statue, median, and fruit stand I was keeping an eye out for. I kept holding out hope that I wasn't quite there. Next thing I knew, I was the only one on the microbus in the middle of one of the poorest (and definitely not the safest!) areas in the city. The driver asked me where I was going and my response was, "I'm not really sure," My heart started to beat a little faster as I called my friend to help me and talk to the driver in Arabic. To my great fortune...her battery died the moment she answered the phone. I then tried to call her brother over and over but he didn't answer the phone. Finally (I'm still sitting in the bus as the driver mercifully waits for me) she calls me back and promises to pick me up. Yippee...I get to wait for her to come in the middle of a strange place in the dark. I thanked the driver and climbed out of the microbus and found the most well-lit area I could to wait. A couple of minutes later, he drove back to me and told me to get in and that he would take me to her house. I climbed back in the microbus and my heart began to return to it's normal rate. Anything is better than the situation I was just in. I got out at the statute, but again, found myself lost. I wandered around until she found me. When I got to her house, the family ran out and hugged me and kissed me praising God that I made it. Needless to say, it'll be the story of the year.

Bonus incident: Kristen and I also got lost in a taxi for about 45min as he drove us to a palace along the city wall instead of the metro station. When he finally made it to the metro station we realized it was the wrong station after he had
already driven away. And thus begins the 25 min wait for my dear friend to come rescue us.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

More stories

Kristen left today (boo hoo!). Our time was wonderful and I saw more of my country and city than I've seen combined in the last 3 months. Here are some of the high lights!

Our first night together on the Nile River. Isn't she great???

Here we are at sunrise on Mt. Sinai.

We walked down the 3750 steps of repentance a monk built to the top of the mountain as a form of repentance.

Then we spent a few days on the Red Sea coast relaxing, catching up on life, and snorkeling.





You can't come here without visiting the Pyramids of course!

Here we are in Hussein Mosque: where Mohammad's granson is buried.

Last night, we ended up going to a concert of two of the country's most popular musicians. It was wild!!!

As these pictures show, I'm a heck of a tour guide. There's an open invite for anyone who wants to come...though I've made a rule that if you're a girl with blond hair, you have to bring a boy along.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

P.S.

To those of you who sent me fun packages, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!! It was better than Christmas!!!!

I feel very loved and missed, which is a great feeling!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Exploring

I've finally made it out of the big city and started to see the rest of the country! My dear friend Kristen got here on Friday and we've been exploring.

Saturday night, we stayed the night in a monestary and then climbed a very famous and revered mountain to watch the sunrise. It was beautiful...and freezing cold! After that, we spent two days on the coast just relaxing. This town is my new favorite place. It was practically empty, very relaxed, and because there are a lot of tourists there, I could actually talk to the men. I spoke Arabic most of the time and became the-foreign-girl-who-speaks-Arabic. We also went snorkeling over a coral reef. I think this will be my place to go every once and awhile when I need to get away from the honking horns and dirty streets.

Last night, we took the overnight bus home and got here at 6am this morning and will spend the rest of the week in my city exploring and hanging out with my family.

AMAZING pictures are on their way as soon as we can figure how to get Kristen's pictures onto my computer.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Typical Friday Night

I got this "footage" while crammed into the front seat of a car with another friend. My roommates and I watched it 3 times because it was so funny to us that this is our life. Unfortunately, I missed the part with the donkey cart. Can you finally undertand why I say it's a miracle I surive the roads every day?