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Posts Tagged ‘McDonald’s’

24 October deserves another post, if late.

My birthday morning consisted of taking the GREs out in Dokki at 8:30, which proved to be a trying experience. An old wrinkled woman in hijab with the grumpiest American accent I’ve ever heard (kind of impressive) was Gestapo about putting your pencils down at the exact moment she called time. I barely finished the essays and the math sections I was at least five questions shy in. Vocab and reading was a cinch. It’s rather annoying to have to take these things, though. We’ll see if it warrants re-testing. I’m almost certain it will.

Caught the afternoon bus back to Alex, and met up with folks (Tom and Andrea came out for the weekend) at the Spitfire and proceeded to merrymake. A blur of cigarettes and Stellas and sparkling conversation. Discovered a German girl that can roll cigarettes like the real thing. I mean an absolute artist.

Nothing really to say, except quite the night, which ended in the traditional McDonald’s pig-out at 2 in the morning on the Corniche.

I love this city.

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Today is the day that they install internet in the flat; insha’Allah. I’ve heard that for about five days now, and to keep my tentacles in the real world I’ve been resorting to wireless at the Hilton-run cafe next to the Bibliotheca Alexandrina– which has food and drink in a town that fasts pretty seriously.

Newspaper articles abound with rumors of a food court to come (including a giant McDonald’s)– but, to quote Mike Mewshaw (who spoke to an expat on the subject), “Who cares? The place is a just a giant, expensive internet cafe anyway.”

I’m inclined to agree, though I would still say it’s unfortunate. The library isn’t of much use as a library per se; patrons aren’t allowed to bring laptops, other books, or food or drink into the main section, which cancels the place out as a workstation. There are a few museums inside– one for manuscripts and another for the history of the city, but Egypt’s general repository for all ancient source text is still overwhelmingly in Cairo– at the massive Dar al-Kutub (the arrogantly named, but appropriate, “realm of books”). This says nothing of the stacks, which are largely empty. The city has poured all its money into a beautifully nonfunctional piece of architecture, which serves only to draw Italian and German tourists on day trips from Cairo. As an academic (perhaps I should say an amateur one), I’ve found this particularly frustrating: all I’ve ever wanted to do there was bring a laptop and a dictionary into the library. Just…do research like a person.

Meanwhile, the university across the street looks as if it belonged in Beirut instead of Alex, the stucco rotting and the hallways filled with sand and dust. Windows broken and cigarette butts everywhere.

“Welcome in Egypt!”

Oh well.

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