Monday, June 29, 2009

Sunday, voting day updated

I walked into a voting location today. It was pretty well organized. There were soldiers with rifles keeping the safety though. Weird. But yea, a politician who lives across the street from the election location was there, smiling, talking to last minute voters.

Studied the whole evening with Gonz for Tuesday's test on which i have to get a FLAWLESS grade in order for my stupid program to transfer the grade as an A. So not fair. And it's SO hard to get a 10/10.
But anyway, I'm studying really hard and think I can do it. All tonight, and all tomorrow... THere's nothing like a LOT of pressure to get one's toosh motivated...

Kirchner won. NOT. His party lost seats in the senate and lost the general Buenos Aires vote. That's what you get for moving vote dates around.

B, I'll be home around August 3rd, ojala.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


j and N came from wisconsin today. we went to gallery nights, a parilla, and el millon.

also studied most of the day and went to the UCA to register myself to the test. With Gonz, chatted to Juanita, a Columbian girl in our class. If it weren't for that she would have forgotten to register to the exam, and wouldn't have been able to take it. I think she appreciated it...
and then there was the whole thing with Fernandez-Nuñez. G knows... fun day. big weight off of my shoulders! ouf!

monedas article in The New Yorker

Friday, June 26, 2009


in class it was just me, the prof, and the visiting prof. Jerks didn't come. but it's ok as it was super interesting, and quite personalized. Got to get them to talk about whatever I wanted. Talked about argentine security, drug trafficking, us security.

After class, I went to the UCA to try to get signed up to my exam. The office was closed. The following day I realized that I had been told to go the wrong office.

Went to tango lesson. It had been almost a month since the last time but it was really nice dancing again.

Then went to see a play called "la pipa de la paz" which I highly recommend. It's playing at Esmerelda 449, at the Maipu theater. About a old and crazy mom and her young, idealist son. He come down from NYC (peacemaker for UN) to fix things for his mom between her and his sisters. Turns out the mom is kinda crazy, but just afraid of being old, dying, retirement homes. But that's not the main point to take from it, thre's much more. It is hilarious, I didn't stop laughing except the times when it got really sad from touching on those human emotions that *involve crying*. REALLY GOOD> GO TO BUENOS AIRES TO SEE IT IF YOU ARE READING THIS

then went out for pizza with Mario and the rest of the kids that were there. he has awesome friends. One of them works in theatre and pointed out a few not-so-obvious, but important flaws of the play.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

realestate and mario's dinner

when i feel like it, i'll talk about these two.

Mario had about 20 kids over as birthday dinners. Who cares about the birthday... I just wanted the delicious food made by S. He made us an arab meal. Taboule, couscous, the best humus ever... it was SMOKED... salad, beans (more latin than arab)
with WINE!
yay! happy birthday everyone!

Also, talked to S after, besides being a chef, he's also an architect. He told me that the best place to buy real-estate is in la boca as well as barrancas. In theory, I agree, although I still need to go to both and walk around. But yes, in theory because they're both very close to the downtown area and have good axes of transportation to and from the center. I could picture rich bankers living in remodeled 19th century apartments...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

hmm 2

when I come tonight after dinner, I'm going to write about three different wines I have here at home. This, of course, while writing a foreign policy paper.
haha I'm such a snob.

Nevermind about wine, I think there's something more pressing to write about here. The elections are coming up soon, on Sunday to be exact.
Now, first of all, I need to mention that these elections usually take place two months later, and these elections are for the deputies and senators who will take offices in DECEMBER. It is ABSURD to have to vote for someone who will take office 6 months later!!!
This was changed by the Kirchner Government, it was approved by law,


Another aberrance was on the news last night. There is a group of indigenous Gauranies in the northern provence of Formosa who have been deprived of their documentation and this identity. They were taken from them them by the authority of that region so that they won't be able to vote come Sunday morning. Of course, they're going to vote against the person in charge, who totally denies having anything to do with their documents and denies knowing where they are.
THis isn't the first time that this has happened to the Guaranies though. In past years, they would travel to the location for the vote, they would stay there the night, be fed and given blankets, and then magically, the next morning they would be given their documentation back, right before their vote. Food+blankets+poverty=vote? maybe? talk about coercion...

also, just one last thing, Scioli, the current Governor of Buenos Aires, is also running for deputy chair. Scioli and Kirchner are both running for different deputy seats in the same party (Kirchner's) for the region of BA. On the ballots here, there is a system where, because Scioli is in Kirchner's party, and if scioli decides not to accept his position as deputy, all his votes go to K. There is a big scandal as to how this is just a trap to get more people to vote for K. And what if he does accept the position? does he keep the position of Governor of Buenos Aires too? nobody really knows, and the 'judges' are saying the situation is legal.




hmm numb leg.

post, to be updated later tonight... or tomorrow...

so, 5 days, ago, or this past Thursday the 18th, I woke up and could not feel anything in the anterior part of my lower leg, otherwise known as my shin. This numbness continues on up until right above my knee. It feels like the blood circulation is cut off, but I can still walk and run perfectly fine. Just, there's no feeling.
This lack of feeling has been wearing off, at least I think, these past two days. I'm not sure if the nerves are working again, (if they were ever malfunctioning) or if it' s just my brain making up the sensation.

Point being, something strange and unexplained also happened to me in Cairo last semester, I found a suspicious bump in my neck area and had to get it checked out. Ended up being nothing and went away soon after, but still, I guess it was just weird. I don't like when my body does stuff on its own without being told.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

superman was here

What do you see when you see this? I tested Adriana as we walked by this spot one day. She didn't notice anything out of the ordinary. When I see this, first of all, I notice it, second of all, I think: "oh, that's probably where "The Hulk" or "Superman" landed last time they came to Buenos Aires, and things are just too slow here to fix it.

Also, I would like to thank meem for the arabic practice site:
Ikea does a great job a translating, just switch back from page to page.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Today when talking to my dad, he asked me, When are you going to cut your hair? (haven't showered yet today) When are you going to get a crew cut(all off)? I answer, that I can't get a crew cut because I have a hideous scar/tumor on the side of my head which just won't permit a crew cut.
He says "oh, well then just cut around it!"
ooh dad.

two weeks ago I was in Mendoza.

A went on a horseback riding tour of the andes and I went to a famous bodega about an hour from Mendoza, in Lujan. Bodega Norton. There are tons of fb pictures. The tour we did was 30 pesos. It included a nice glass of rosé champagne and then a tour of the wine making process. In this we got to taste the wine in its different stages of production. The first cup, was acid, violet, and disgusting. We poured it into our cups directly out of the 500,000 liter vats. The second glass was from the oak barrel but it had just begun maturing so it was still pretty bad. We took it directly out of the barrel with a pipette. The last glass was the final product which was much much better, but still not amazing if you ask me, but that's just me. A Brazilian sommelier on the tour thought it was great.
The view from the villa overlooking the vineyards with the Andes in the background was breathtaking.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

fridays and Mendoza flashback

Yesterday I finally received a letter from my dad. He posted it nearly one month ago. Horray for snail mail.
Also yesterday, I had a delicious homemade (by a real (half) Mexican) Mexican lunch with S and J. I really need to hit them back up with the equivalent in wine tasting. The main dish was quesadillas but this was garnished with toooo many other dishes. Namely, Nopal (cactus, delicious but the juice reminds me of Beethoven the dog's drool), thin paper slices of carrots doused in lemon juice, guacamole, Michelada (spicy drink, I also added jalapeno seeds) salsa, beans, rice, an authentic Mexican meal, quoi.
I learned from S, who is Columbian, that in Columbia, people use the word "regalar" (to offer a gift) instead of the word "vender" (to sell). This makes for some funny situations when transferred to other Hispanic countries. (e.g. "hell no, i'm not giving you this lcd! *punch*)

Later I was also offered an awesome shirt. It reminds me of my grandpa and my grandpa's bowling shirt. It's definitely a grandpa shirt. It's gold yellow with grey blueish winged-lions and gold coloured pillars. Made in Italy with Egyptian cotton. One peso, sea ~30US cents. gota love thrift shopping. look out for pictures of it on fb.


Let's shoot two weeks into the past and pretend I'm currently in mendoza publishing this from my hostel.
Arrived in Mendoza around 10am. Found a great hostel run by super friendly women.Dropped our stuff off and went off to the bikes and wine tour. We did about 5 different stops, took pictures, had a nice time.
Got back to hostel late.
Ate at a delicious pizza place.
Made plans for tomorrow.
tomorrow: police encounters following a nortonic experience.

Friday, June 19, 2009


Taken from a friend's facebook status on a taxi driver who took her home at 6am a few weeks ago:

se demande s'il est normal que, à 6h du mat', son chauffeur de taxi lui raconte qu'à 55 ans, après 30 ans de mariage et un divorce très difficile, il a eu quelques expériences avec des "chicas de la noche" pour finir par devenir gay grâce à une rencontre avec un jeune homme de 23 ans, mais qui maintenant lui demande "plus de passivité" dans la relation... pas facile en effet.

"asks herself if it's normal, that at 6am, her taxi driver tells her how at 55, after 30 years of marriage and a very difficult divorce, he had a few encounters with the "chicas de la noche" to end up going gay with a young man of 23 years old, but who now asks him "more passivity" in their relationship... not easy indeed.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The portrait above the bar at El Millon.
I Went there last night for M's rushed departure/get together

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


This post will be updated as soon as my finals have finished beginning. But as a teaser, I have lots of gorgeous pictures, presents, stories (involving the police (two (stories))), and much much more, to come...

Sunday, May 31, 2009


, rainy, was spent inside between homework, fafsa, hmm... I could actually list what I did as I have my list with about 1/2 of it checked off
and intermittently talking (listening to), eating, drinking tea with Greta my Argentine host mom. She told me about how they had a French prisoner working in their garden during WW2 and how well they got along. She told me about how she lived on the beach in Italy for two years (I suspect she was a socialite partier back in her youth, she still pretty much is). She's leaving a month before I go to Rio so that she can go off to Europe to visit her friends. I'll be alone with the maid. :-) (she bought me a t-shirt for my birthday)

I decided this night was going to be spent alone, in front of my computer, listening to Koran recitations, with a bottle of Syrah. Instead I spent it with Angela. I called her, we talked for two hours. She told me about everything in her life, including how she's still with H despited H's dad going into DIABETIC SHOCK when he found out H is dating a non-muslim (angela). He literally had to be taken to Kuwait to be treated in a hospital there because it was so severe. Crazy. But anyway, they're still together, both incredibly busy and both apparently in love.
I like it when these Cairo moments come back to envelop my life for a few hours.

After this, I was semi-summoned by M to go to el fidel, a club on Costa Rica street where Marny was celebrating her birthday with about four other people. This was fun, For once I didn't mind so many Americans. Got a decent amount of dancing in and some good socializing including a rather heartfelt bus-conversation about what's behind us and what hopefully lies ahead.
Random quote of the night as a boy and a girl were talking/making out: boy says: "this is definitely something I don't want to get called about tomorrow".

Turtle. my obsession.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Gallery Nights (gallery crawl with free Champaign)

Chilled at the Gran Victoria, a café on plaza de Mayo for about four hours. Worked on periodismo interview and emails, bureaucratic necessities. One noteworthy happening, one of two business men sitting next to me ordered a delicious plate of ham sandwiches and left it untouched. So with the approval of my waitress, I helped myself to a not only delicious, but free snack. Then, I walked over to starbucks and 'squatted' (as they say in French) their internet. I briefly talked to a girl who was sitting across from me as she got up to go to a finance class at San Andres. She was reading a book in French. She's actually from Quebec. Only smiles were exchanged but maybe we'll run into each other again in this vast world of expat francophones.

E texted me to go to Gallery nights.

Gallery Nights.
Gallery Nights takes place in recoleta near retiro the last Friday of every month. In this location there is a high concentration of art galleries.
The idea of Gallery Nights is similar to that of the 'bar crawl' concept. A few exceptions though: the bars are art galleries, and the only alcohol is Champagne which, might I mention –thanks to our wonderful sponsor, Chandon– is free. One small cup per gallery, times oooh, maybe, twenty galleries, and one gets rather 'trashed' if such a term is appropriate for such a high class, bon chic bon genre, event.

Our last stop was the lobby of some sort of corporate headquarters. Here they were exposing art from the Salta region in the north west. The particularly remarkable characteristic of Salta's art is its empanadas... umm... I mean landscapes and traditional scenes...

Oh, and not to forget, some of the art galleries were quite good.

After this, I went home, ate again. Then went our again even though I was way too drunk. Sobered up by the time I arrived at la viarua, the armenia cultural center which converts itself into the late night (breakfast served at 6am) tango hub of the world.
Had a nice time with D from UIUC, talking about his various DiTella conquests and dancing with E, M's current target (although if she was, he should have gotten there a little earlier).
Only stayed til 4 though. took the 140 home and passed out after watching just a little bit more of "Eva Perón" –a pretty decent movie so far.

I need to understand why I feel the need to use initials instead of real names. Not sure why I do that.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

street party

(pre)pictures from Sunday night's street party

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

awesome way to meet someone

Saturday around 6pm, I was located in the rugby stadium of CASI about 30 minutes north of BA, in San Isidro, probably the nicest suburb of Buenos Aires.
because I'm still on bad terms with G, I hung out with the typical american dudes, which is always 100% guaranteed fun. This is mostly due to the baseness of our conversation, something I am absolutely fine with. Among this group, I met a quiet, friendly guy named Eric. I will now attempt to best recount the first 60 seconds of our encounter.

My mouth was stuffed with a delicious choripan. We shake hands. Eric asks me what my name is. Because my mouth was stuffed with a delicious choripan, and because I have a rather difficult name to understand which usually requires immediate explanation, and because I try to stay close to the principle of not talking with my mouth full, I began to gesticulate in a series of attempts to signal to Eric, that he give me "his spiel" while I finish my current mouthful.
So he begins to talk, "umm... yea, so i'm Eric, i go to school in Minnesota, I'm from Southbend, Indiana..."
suddenly, my mouth is empty enough to blurt out "oh, I lost my virginity to a girl from Southbend, Indiana!"
He kept his cool (a normal person would have just walked away) and asked who that girl was.
At this point I had already said too much so I told him who it was.

He knows her. He went to her graduation party. I guess southbend is pretty small after all...

anyway, Eric finding out who I first had sex with was the first thing he found out about me.

Next time I'll just chew my food and stick to my name.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

El Camarín de las Musas

A picture from possibly the best café in all of Buenos Aires, the café in front of 'El Camarín de las Musas'.

Monday, May 25, 2009

fin de

Sorry it's been a little while since I last posted.
G's been better after being in bed for three days. She lost four kilos and the doctors have no idea what was wrong with her. All better now.

it's been really warm here.

I've been going out way too much, four days in a row, which equates to an inverse amount of sleep... The whole weekend seems like a blur... but it was very fun. I went out to milongas friday and sunday night.

met some french/belgians at the friday night milonga (la catedral) and chilled with them until 6am.

went to an ifsa party saturday night in a house bc someone's host family was away. that was really fun and i discovered white russians, my new favorite drink. 1 part vodka, 1 part kahlua, 1 part whole milk. just a great time with Max and Eric, as usual. Learned some invaluable mixing techniques from e who has his bar tending license...

not a huge amount of homework though... but was decently productive.

oh, and today, monday is a holiday, the Argentine equivalent of independence day. One is supposed to eat chocolate to celebrate, it's the tradition :-) (wish I had some cote d'or... moans...)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Palermo by night

An eerie autumn night in Palermo, Buenos Aires.

El Milion

This is a picture of the room on the 2nd floor between the bar and the living room in the mansion called "El Milion"


hmm... did anything interesting happen today?

I ate a "la ventanita de Belgrano", a homely neighborhood parilla. Their main ingredient is meat but I like their salad too. I had an 'ensalada completa' with a choripan sandwich.

Next time I go back, perhaps next week, I'm getting a steak. I feel like feeling for a steak, next week.
But yes, la ventanita is very desirable. The only waiter there usually takes 10 minutes to get to you after hailing him, but it's just really good, simple, cheap. I'd say, as was once so well put, it's the place to go to hang out with the workfolk, (along with business men and snobby Di Tella kids)
read some borges, had desarrollo economico. Emilio, our professor looked extra pissed and a tad bit depressed today, enough for G to notice it and for him to let us out 15 mintutes early (he once stopped class for 15 minutes and yelled at kids for being late (the first and only time they were ever late)).
hmm... G and I have a favorite pass time in class which is commenting on Emilio. He has a HUGEly muscular build for his size, so that he bulks around when hulking around in front of the board. His moments are deliberately slow, and clearly he works out too much. Once he scratched his leg and G and I were in awe at the size of his calf muscle.
I think Argentine Economists have their version of Chuck Norris jokes using Emilio.
actually, now i realize, another reason G and I need to stop THINKING about being friends with Flor (one of the cute, smart girls in this class) is that we can gossip with her about Emilio and get her female point of view. I'll run this past G and maybe we'll grow some hair on our chests by Wednesday.

After that we hung out in the library for a bit where I read some more Borges and a book by Barro, and took out an awesome book by Oz Shy called Industrial Organization. It is very nicely explained and the material is super interesting.
We're making copies of it at the copy center in the basement of Di Tella.

By the way, this is internationally illegal, but if anyone from back up north would like a book copied for class, let me know and I'll def do it for you. It just costs the price of the paper, as the university subsidizes the fotocopy room workers. Here all the books people use for class are copied. Rarely do people buy the real book. Especially not in UBA. Go copyright protection laws! Wehew!

Monday, May 18, 2009


Gretta was sick and throwing up all day. She ate some of her sister's food...

At 21hrs30 I went to a outdoor tango competition at Plaza Dorrego.
This was incredible. Some of the dancers were amazing to look at. The footwork was incredible. I think I learned a lot just by looking.
Unfortunately I didn't dance at all after the competition because I have no huevos and my couple would have been by far the worst one on the dance floor. I'm going back next Sunday with a girl from class and we're dancing though. No matter how bad we look.

There was also a tradition group dance called chacareras. It was really fun to watch the old couples doing this stuff. There were also some gorgeous women but I was too taken aback by their dancing to pay attention to that aspect of it... maybe when tango doesn't look so cool to me anymore.

She's still throwing up. It's really disturbing. God this country does not know how to cook

wine and cheese tastings...

Sunday, May 17, 2009


a picture of the subway. It's cool to see it when it's turning; would have taken a picture but we had to get off.







No-class-fridays consisted of a tango lesson, fries at el palacio de papas fritas (delicious) with awesome-the-next-woodyallen M and H.
before that restarted a painfully slow process of getting a residency visa so that my credits may transfer back... (long-live the day (if this day could be longer than 24hours it would be awesome, let's starting thinking about making an exception to calendars) that the world becomes one unified visaless place) (or that I have a diplomatic passport)

french party at E's. met a lot of cool people and a few dual citizens. Afterwards her friend got us into the Bahrain for free. danced til 4. The music was soso but it's a good place overall, if you can get in for free.


After Mario's last night, went to el Milión to meet with E and her friend in from Boston, M.

Thursday's class was super boring, but I think it was just me. I think that level of boringness will be remembered for years to come.
At 6 went to a free tango lesson at a cultural center, with G. This was pretty cool. and my cool I mean free. G danced with a cute 23yold girl from Madrid and I danced with a 30 something-year-old single mom... but i had a really nice time and will def go back next week.
R and I had a nice dinner. Soup, steak and her special mashed potatoes.
Valientes is getting super repetitive. Didn't realize soap operas could be so dumb. And every argentine makes fun of me for watching it. I stand proud. At least I admit it, they watch it in hiding.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Going to eat at Mario´s tonight. I asked him today what we´re going to eat...
Hola Thibaud: gracias por tu email. Vamos al comer agnollotis. Son
unos sorrentinos grandes rellenos de ricota.
This is like a empanada filled with ricota cheese. For a picture:

When I get a chance I´ll add what wine might go well with this. Have to consult my guides at home.

Algunas expresiones francesas:

Saltar de un tema a otro. Sauter/passer du coq à l'âne means to jump from one subject to another.
Passer d'un sujet à l'autre sans lien évident.
Detallos en francés de la etimología:

Llegar a un arreglo/un compromiso.
Ir a medias: con el dinero
Couper la poire en deux "to cut the pear in half" means to meet halfway or to split the difference.



Another blunder, yesterday in my journalism class our prof did a pop quiz. we went to the computer lab and he gave us 45 minutes to write two pages on the argentine elections and Another topic. Lucky for me, none of the other argentine kids actually knew much, so it was just a but harder for us foreign kids. Needless to say, lucky because he's letting us hand in the second assignment next class. I'm going to re-do the first one out of good will... hopefully inspiring his merciful side...

Ah, an a very very very good note, pirus got an awesome internship offer! I feel totally left in the blue. I need to get my life in order!
This weekend I'm applying to a Chicago think tank! That might make me feel better. It's the one CARI (Consejo Argentino de relaciones internacionales) has modeled itself on. CARI is where I often go to lectures and have my foreign policy class.

Castellano class starts in 15 minutes!


Monday I had my econ test which was nothing short of a disaster.

It's raining hard in buenos aires for the first time in about three weeks. Maybe winter's finally here, but hmm... maybe just a little latent. I got my first smell of winter three weeks ago, a tuesday evening, on Santa Fe, I remember distinctly.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

nothing to do with Bs.As.:


Yesterday (Saturday)

was a very good day. I woke up at 8, got work done, yet helped a friend solve a problem with this mac (handbrake, making divx copies of movies, for his film classes), got homework done, went to a 2 hours long tango lesson, loved tango, studied econ with G until 7:45, went to meet H at the ended of a orchestra recital of a friend of ours, went out for wine and pizza with those same (ARGENTINE!!!) people (Malbec, Lopez) to a place on Corrientes (almost as good as las Cuartetas), then went to a milonga with the same people (a milonga is like "une discotheque" but for tango) and to top it off i got home at a reasonable hour!

more about macho tango another time. but it is indeed very sexist.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Tuesday night i hung out at El Milion from about 11pm til 2. I love love love love this place. I need to make it a point to go there every week!
After that I invited E and N over for Egyptian tea (arouza). This was cool as we talked on the Balcony until 4h with the moon casting our nocturnal shadows.

Waking up at 8 was difficult.

word of the day: adamantine = unbreakable.

"ze" tigre

TOday's post is by a special guest, MC, from El Tigre.

MC likes to cool and is a Religion Major.

yo. I clicked on your blog and saw a mention of the transgender conversation and it reminded me I wanted to research it (told you I was a nerd, and not just when it comes to kitchens). It's spelled "ze". And it's gender neutral. So while a transgender person who identifies as male or female would use that gender's standard pronouns, one that chooses not to submit to gender duality might use ze, or might not. In that case, I don't know how or if they might use pronouns. I've never actually met anyone who used ze. In my encounters with trannies I just ask (either them or mutual friends), and it's usually appreciated. So that's what I discovered.
Happy wining!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

a Uruguayan, two columbians, a frenchman, an american

what do you get when you mix the five in a group project on the medias of Chile and freedom of press?

you get things like:

"mailde'uruguayan'sname'", along with email addresses like caro87hotmail or chaco@...
I find this hilarious given that they're journalism college students.

you get columbians who for some reason think three digits in dates should be separated e.g. 2.009, 1.999
never seen that one before...

or stuff like not knowing to click "reply all" when they're working on group project.

and then of course, the frenchman doesn't care and waits until the last minute to get stuff done.

and the american who's trying to understand what's going on inside these heads and trying to get them to work together as a group, the way american students are taught to.

luckly, there are still Brazilians and Mexicans in the world.

Speaking of Mexicans. Today a mexican and the aforementioned uruguayan were hanging out. The mexican has a tee-shirt that reads "hecho en Mexico". The uruguayan tells him to go on the main pedestrian street (florida) and walk by people sneezing and coughing really close to them. With the current H1N1 craze here ( I saw ONE man wearing a mask yesterday even though there are no reported cases in Argentina yet) that would be the funniest thing to do with one's day (my humble, beating-prone opinion)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

El Tigre

Had a short but sweet talk with pirus.

Went on a guided tour organized through my program today. Took the train up north and biked through the nice and not as nice parts of town. We had maté and alfahores while sitting along the coast. I ate a chorripan for lunch with delicious dried tomatoes.

then we went kayaking. in the mar de la plata. There was a carnaval Emily talked about which we went pass. I would like going back to check that out. Looked like a simple, fun, proletarian time.

Bonded with G and M K. talked about cooking. Might take a few cooking classes with her from this chef she knows here in BA. You go to his house and cook/eat there.
talked about transgenders on her campus. They're not "he" or "she" but "zee" (not sure on the spelling)

Had a few fun email exchanges with my cousin on being married, falling pregnant, and snow.

Hung out with Soso over icecream. good, tango times.

Monday, May 4, 2009

a memory

I felt like posting this conversation I had with a (far away) close friend yesterday. I feel that when reading back on these posts in X number of years, it will be a decent reminder of the events/situation, and nothing more. This may seem hypocritical of me as there are plenty of things I have not posted in the past that might have been memories, but whatever. Not at all meant as an attack or with any bitterness:

edit: nevermind. Perhaps it's just better to say that I'm single now.

Also, I had an awesome two hour long video chat conversation with Chris about life, Cairo, and the pursuit of happiness, and mainly how him not having 120K and not getting any financial aid means him not going to the #1 (john hopkins) or #4 (Tufts, Fletcher school) top international relations school in the US. gotta love it.
He's trying for the UK and Europe now.
Oh, and apparently, Jordan, from Cairo (the girl) was really into my blog and read really far back into it and was shocked at my writing that he had a mini crush on her when he first met her. ("gasp... I had NO idea!") lol sorry for revealing personal things. That's the third time that's gotten me into 'trouble'

Friday, May 1, 2009

Dalai Lama, a memory

From: tbo
Sent: Tuesday, April 28
To: Uncle
Subject: Dalai Lama

Hey Uncle,
Remember that story of us going to see the Dalai Lama at Grant Park? And something about me yelling at the top of my lungs "DALAI LAAMMMAAAA".

I think you told me that story once. Not sure if it's true or not. Is it?


From: Uncle

HI, you were sitting on my shoulders and it was very quiet. You screamed out "Dalai Laaaaammmmaaaa!" All true buddy. It was very funny. All these people dressed in their native garbs turned around to look and you and saw that you were a little boy and smiled. Thanks for reminding me, that was great. Hope all is well and thanks for the email.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Goal: speak Arabic

My goal failed. No body speaks Arabic anymore here. They all forgot it or can't be bothered to learn it more than basic Koranic use. This is what a mosque leader guy told me.
There are other mosques though. I think I'll go to a different one next week.

Meeting up with Rochan was fun. Talked a good deal about Atef, learned a few things I didn't know about him. We went to Plaza dorrgeo, downed two stellas. Her friend was pretty cool too.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday, small huge world.

Today I'm going to visit my first Mosque in Buenos Aires.

Goal: speak Arabic.

I will report back as to how this went.

This week, for the first time when I saw some medialunas at a café, I remembered those delicious pastries they sold in Cairo. sigh...

Good news:
Wednesday, I skyped with Atef. I have some very good news concerning him. He was accepted to a scholarship. This involves a fully-paid (by Mubarak) 4 month intensive course. He'll be doing 10 hours/day of English, business, and computer-related matters. It's a great way to get him going places in life (english is very sought after in all fields), as he generally complained about the lack of direction, and general desire for something better.

The reason I mention this is because I am the one who told him about this scholarship. I found out about it through some Egyptian friend I met through the 'class' I taught through the Islamic NGO. I know it's a very good class because they spoke pretty darn well after the time they had spent studying. One of the guys was even engaged to his teacher( and another, longtime novia, at the same time, he couldn't marry because he didn't have the money to).

So I'm really happy for Atef, I'm happy our friendships and contacts brought about this great opportunity for him.

Wow, and strangely HIGHLY related, The English/Iraqi girl who introduced me to Atef is in Buenos Aires NOW and I'll meet with her tomorrow. Planning on telling her this good news.
Small huge world.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Breathless (Ddongpari)

Una Crítica

“Breathless (Ddongpari)”

“Breathless (Ddongpari),” una película coreana del director y actor Yang Ik-jun, tuvo un gran éxito este año en el Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema (BAFICI). No es un misterio el hecho que la sala haya estado repleta de cinéfilos: una historia horripilante e interpretaciones increíbles por todos los actores.

El director es Yang Ik-jun que desempeña también el papel protagónico. “Breathless” es su primer largometraje pero no parece. Vendio su casa y pidio prestado dinero a su familia y sus amigos, Yang realizó esta película por sus medios propios. También, los actores y empleados (todos voluntarios) eran sus amigos que el había conocido durante los diez años de su carrera como actor. Yang tiene la intención de pagarles si su película tiene más éxito. Inspirado por una rabia personal, Yang escribió el guión con la intención de contar una faceta de la vida coreana muy poco contada: la del abuso y la violencia de parte de los hombres en el seno de la familia.

La película empieza con un largo flujo de escenas en las cuales Kim Sang-hoon (Yang Il-jun), el protagonista está golpeando y abofeteando a cualquier persona que pasa por su camino. Eso incluye una sarta de insultos que deja el espectador con algunas nociones de malas palabras coreanas, que son tantas veces repetidas (shee-ba...). Sang-hoon es un gángster que cobra las deudas a los morosos. Su papel evoluciona cuando Sang-hoon conoce a la chica, Han Yeon-heui (Kim Gol-bi), una estudiante tan perdida como él y afectada por problemas en su casa con su hermano violento, Yeong-jae (Lee Hwan), y su padre demente. Kim y Han forman una pareja que funciona en una manera muy rara. Eso les permite a los dos mejorar sus relaciones con miembros de sus familias y demuestra una compasión del temible gángster Kim.

Esta película tiene una muy buena historia y actores excelentes. Pero me parece claro que esta película está en la categoría de “independientes”: sus 130 minutos son demasiados largos y el constante movimiento de la cámara es mucho para un espectador común como yo. Con veinte minutos menos, esta película sería excelente. Cercano del a los 90 minutos estuvo a punto de salir de la sala por causa de la continuación inagotable de violencia y malas palabras, pero ocurrió algo en la historia que me hizo quedarme... Su único desventaja es su larga duración. Pero si tuviera otro billete iría alegremente para ver a “Breathless” de nuevo, pero no con una chica, más con mis amigos del club de boxing.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Monday, March 23, 2009


Sunday, Day 36

This weekend was nice.

Thursday evening my brain overloaded and exploded trying to understand what classes I should take.

Friday, I read an annoying book for Spanish class. It's called bocitas pintadas. Our teacher sold it to me like it was the best book ever but it really just sucks. 80 pages of hard vocab and complex human interactions.
Friday night, went out around 22h30. Met S 30 minutes late because I confused Guatemala street with Honduras Street. We had an outdoor cocktail a at corner bar. I used her as a sounding board for my class problem. After that, I introduced her to some friends of mine. We went to a Columbian girl's apartment, near by my apartment. That was fun. After about 1 hour of confusion as to where to go next brought about because no body wanted to pay 50 pesos (15 bucks) to get into paris hilton type clubs. (oh funny moment, we were outside of a club, we could hear the music coming from inside. I was commenting on how shitty the dj's transitions were and how he had no genre flow. Then we were all happy because he a great fat boy slim but then i commented on how he would probably play an offspring song right after, which has no flow whatsoever, sure enough, he did) :-) we were all amazed by me.
We all settled at a outdoor bar area. stayed there until 6 am. Then P, A and I went to a place for breakfast. Went home at 8am.

slept until 13h. Felt like shit the 'hole' day. tried to do hw, mostly just wasted away on fb. Discovered doing homework on the balcony is perfect.

Volunteered at a bike/run race from 8 til 2. Very cool. Spoke spanish the whole time. Didn't really do anything race-related, just spoke Spanish.
Found out my host mom is probably a Nazi.
Did hw, talked to S a little more than an hour.
Will now attempt to do 60 push-ups in a row, eat dinner, and then struggle with Economic Development Theory.
Yoel, help me.

هذه نهاية الإسبوعة كان جيد.

ليلة الخميس ظننت كثير و عقل انفجرت لان فكرت ان اي صفف لازم ان اخذ خلال فصل دراستي.

ليلة يوم الجمع خرجت مع صوفي في ساعة عشر و نفص. اشربنا كوكتايلات و قالتها مشكلتي الفصول. يساعدني كثير. بعد ذلك قدّّمتها على اصحابي يف شقق بنت كولومبينة

يوم السبت:
نمت حتى ساعة الوحدة. ما يملت اي شيء كل اليوم. اكشفت العمل الواجب في ال بالكون هو جيد جدا.

ساعدت في سباق الدرجة و الجري. إشتة

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

typo/ Monedas

In my last post I meant to say BA related, not BS related. Freudian, I mean 'left pinky' slip.

I have been confronted to a few problems in Buenos Aires due to the lack of Monedas.

Monedas means 'coins'. Monedas are scarce in Buenos Aires and nobody knows exactly why.
BA has a very extensive bus system. Buses come very often, operate all day and night, and often times take you from one end of the city to the other, dropping you off/picking you up very close to your destination. For this reason many people choose to take the bus. As a matter of fact, I find that congestion in this city is very low compared to Cairo and even large metropolises of developed countries, perhaps due to the bus system.

However, one major flaw of the buses here, is that they only accept monedas. There is not electronic card system and in this respect, the bus system is outdated.

Therefore, everyone uses monedas to take the bus. No monedas=no bus.

A few effects of this scarcity:

Today I did not go to class because I could not find monedas. Instead I read the news at a cafe and studied some econ. (Upon handing me the change, the waiter "forgot" to give me 50 centagos' worth of monedas...)

Yesterday I tried to buy some avocados (inspired by Zac) but could not because the store had no monedas and I didn't want to give them the few I had left, the very reason I went to the store in the first place being to get monedas.

A week ago, Ugi's, a pizza place –my new favorite hawaoushi equivalent– could not sell me four pesos' worth of pizza because they had no monedas and change for my 100 peso bill.

I wonder if it's just me, or if others also lose out on opportunities and sales because of this lack of monedas.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Valientes, a telenovela

Fine, I'll write about something that's more BA related.

This morning, about 3 minutes ago, I was watching CNN Español. They were interview a poor mexican lady about how the fall of the Mexican peso is hurting her when she goes to buy medicine for her sister who has colon cancer.
and this crucial question came to me:

Why am I not watching "Valientes"??

I suppose I've been living with two women for too long (four weeks?) and perhaps too old of women, to make it worst. We've grown into the habit of watching our telenovela Mondays through Thursdays at 10pm... ( I can hear the theme song in my head right now)

(as well as see the "actors'" glistening bodies in the intro)

Valientes is ridiculously dumb as far as 'mind stimulation' goes. I never catch myself thinking about what's going to happen next in Valientes, I merely catching myself replaying its scenes through my mind.

In a nut shell (my mind)
Valientes is about a love triangle between three HUNKY mechanic brothers and three HOT sisters (who don't know they're all sisters, and they're all half sisters).

Add money, greed, old farts, evil, humor, and LOVE
and you get yourself a GRADE A telenovela.

In my defense it's good practice for my Castellano.
I really can't find ANYTHING else which could be used in my defense.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Uma Patel

So, I briefly saw Uma this northern hemispheric winter. When I say briefly I mean for about 20 minutes. Furthermore, this was a very rushed 20 minutes as she was rushing off to a date (to which I had to privilege to drive her and her beaux to)

In this post, I would like to further expound on this. For beginners, I'd like to say, as I've always said, she's quite the pimp, and contrasting only with her proclivity for study and has always had great potential to 'catch' the most prized specimens. This was again proved to me by her valentine's date (it was St. Valentine's day) and the taste of their date, a classic movie: Annie Hall. Her date has always been someone nice to me, we share a main common interest, and I've heard good things about him from girls.

Forgive me for my bromides, just wanted to note that I wish I knew what became of that valentine night.

This is my friend Teresa. Nothing to do with the aforementioned.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Robert Solow

"Everything reminds Milton Friedman of the money supply. Everything reminds me of sex, but I try to keep it out of my papers."
- Robert Solow

كل شيء يذكر ميلتون فريدمان ان التموين المال. كل شيء يذكرني ان الجنس لكن أحاول ان يحفظه خرج نشرني.

-روبعرت صولو

an apple


Today I ate an apple.

Hi Uma. SOrry I'm MIA. I'm not sure why, just busy, and not motivated? Plus I promised myself I would only post in English AND Arabic from now on... a hard promise to keep and easier just not to post...

But yea, that apple, it was delicious. Crunchy, sweet, juicy (I like sucking the juice out of the core). The apple is the most delicious fruit ever.

I'm bring the apple back.

اليوم اكلت طفح

مرحبا وما. اصف لست هنا. لا ارف ليمذا، بس مستعجل و عندي معنا. و ايضا وعدتني ساطبع بالانجليسي و العربي... وعد سعب لذلك يسحل لا طبع... ب

طفح لذيذ جدا

انا سرجع الطفح

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Argentina day 5

Saturday 21/02/2009

Woke up at 11h30. With a headache, ears still hurting, happy that breakfast was waiting for me.
Then I discovered our fourth resident as I turned the corner into the kitchen... a turtle! (between roger and this, I'm really unlucky) Greta has a pet turtle and it happened to be eating its morning lettuce just then. I dunno, it was weird to see a turtle in the context of getting milk from the fridge. Greta came by a few minutes later with his introduction and then put him on the balcony. She informed me of the potential "bichos" problem (I smiled because thanks to a special someone I learned this word yesterday) but claimed they came from other apartments..

Went out with a little group by the port. Discovered my new delicious equivalent of Hawaoushi... don't remember its name though. And bonded a little with Gregor, a German student who is 'double' studying abroad.

Read some more of "your inner fish" a pretty good book so far, talks about how
we're descendants of fish, really interesting and well written.

Went out again, took the subte, after dinner with like 9 people, we went out for drinks, Gregor and I shared two liters of beer (quilmes) the local Egyptian stella equivalent.

استيقظت في ساعة عشرة مع صداع و أدني بيجاني على طول و سعيد إن الإفطار كان ينتظرني.
ثم اكتشفت الربع ساكن في سقتنا عندما دورت في المطبخ... صلحفاة! (بين روجر ال فار و هذا، لا عنددي حظ) جرتة عندها سلحفاة و حدث هي بيكل خسها في هذه لحظة. لا اعرف، ممكن دي غريب جدا ان سوف صلحفاة في سواق الاخذالحليب من الثلاجة في السباح. جرتة ذهبت بعض دقيقة بعد و عرفنيه، و جاءته في البالكون. اعلمتني إن المشكلة الحشرات.

خرجت مع مجموعة صغيرة نحو الميناء. اكتشفت مساوني جديد الهواوشي... ولكن لا اتذكر اسمه. و اسبحت اكثر سضيق مع جرجور، طالب الماني من جامعة برينستون.

اكرت اكثر من كتابي، كتاب جيد جدا ان كيف نحن يصلون من ال اسماك.

خرجت مرة اخرة و أخذت المترو. غدءت مع ٩ افراد، و بعد ذلك شربنا بيرات، غرغور و انا شربنا يثنين ليتر بيرة يسمها "كيلمس" و مي متل بيرة ستلة مصرية.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Argentina day 4

Friday 20/02/2009

First day of Porteño class. Really liked my teacher. She remembered my written exam, said that she corrected it at 2am and it made her really hungry. I excused myself, people laughed. We have an assignment to do for Monday which is designed to have us go out and discover more of the city, I have two other partners, still need to contact them.

oh, also I tried buying a cell phone, but I don't have enough money. I think there is $1 left on my account. So I'll be living on the 200 pesos that are left in my wallet until Monday at the earliest. I'm glad I didn't buy a phone earlier because I would have had to not eat/go out this weekend.

Around 1h I met up with some people. We went out for a few drinks, had a corona and a caipiriña (brasilian drink, Fe, you still make them the best). Around 2:30 we went into this club niceto which started off with a live indie rock band. They were alright. Bu then this awesome 80's electro pop music started playing. I loved this. It was basically all the music that influenced current techno. I could recognize a good amount of the beats and besides that, it was just generally really good music/dj. As the night moved on, the music did too, towards more modern music. M and I spent the night trying to figure out if P is gay.

Anyway, got home super late. horray for headaches, no hangover though.

Taxi drivers don't drive with their lights on here, just like in Cairo.

Argentina day 3

Thursday 19/02/2009

Had the written exam first thing. Ridiculous text, but whatever. We had to synthesize it and also write another page about an object we would choose to represent our country. I chose France, and Camembert cheese and bla bla bla...
some others students chose the constitution, a starbucks drink, their family, another a tree(in a really cool way though)...

After another orientation session about concentrations which didn't concern me, I went out to eat with this German kid and Jewish girls. The German guy seemed cool but I don't think the American girls understood his humor. He sort of ran off to buy a cell phone after the meal, don't blame him though. Then I learned the meaning of "JAP"... they decided to go shopping... I don't know why I tagged along, I guess I had nothing better to do. I suppose some good did come out of it though. I took the bus and the train for the first time. I also talked to one of them who was not so into shopping and liked speaking Spanish but was interesting because was really traditionally jewish, culturally, linguistically, lived in the mother land for a year, yet seem really open minded and just plain old nice. Another one didn't know what a kufaya is... (Palestinian scarf) (but thought it's stylish, again jap)

Also met a different jewish girl who is also taking Arabic. She speaks hebrew though, so she'll be able to use it in a useful way, hopefully.

After splitting off from them, got lost, while reading a book. Finally came home around 8pm. Took a cold shower. am sweating now, again, 15 minutes later. sigh...

Argentina day 2

Wednesday 18/02/2009

I befriended a guy named Sam today. He seems nice but one thing we have in common so far is that we both only speak Spanish. We met during an architecture tour provided by a travel agency via our school. By the way, I live in the nice part of town... clearly, it's super wealthy based on the shops, apartments, hotels, embassies, etc... Architecturally, Buenos Aires looks exactly like France. Even more so, the streets do, everything does, the side walks, I think they even use the same asphalt... So yea, really, I'm studying abroad in France with a Castellano tango.

Oh, we had our oral exams today. I think mine went well. My interviewer, Diego, seemed to be happy with my level. And besides not really remembering the past tense anymore, I think I did well. Just basically asked me to talk in Spanish which is fine because that's what I've been doing all day. I've gotten a few comments from other students how my Spanish is pretty good compared to theirs, so we'll see, the results will be in on Friday; not sure at all what they'll mean though.

Sam and I met a girl who is Serbian who is learning Arabic. It was cool speaking in Arabic a little but she can't say much. S and G and J could have said more with what i've taught them.

I went for a walk before my copious dinner. My goal was the French Embassy and back. Got lost, but it's ok here because I live in a good neighborhood. There were people in the streets sorting garbage at almost every corner. It seems like they were sorting the plastic from the rest. Strange to see that in such a nice neighborhood.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Argentina day 1

Tuesday 02/17/2009

Arrived on time. Shared a taxi with a student who is coming back for his second semester here. Got the down-low from him.
My program sent me directly to my host family. There I had greenbeans and pasta for lunch. Then I went right back to some session on how to use the Bus system in BA. Kinda useful although I lost the map/pamphlet right after...
Met some people, walked around with them, trying to find cell phones.
came home, ate, slept from like 22h til 8h30 with at three hour pause in between.

Written during some orientation session which was held in Spanish (everything is): I miss Arabic. I really want to speak it instead of Spanish. I keep on hearing Arabic words when people are speaking Spanish. I keep on thinking of everything I'm going to say in Arabic first, then in Spanish, then I say it. Speaking is a slow process for me and I still blurb out words in Arabic and barely catch them.

Also, it's going to be really weird going back to class again and taking "academic" classes per se. Especially when they're all in Spanish.

Chicago departure

Monday 02/16/2009

Packed all morning. Went to the airport. Upon arrival, was told I could not go to Argentina without proof that I would be studying abroad. Wow, stress, more of it. Called my study abroad provider, found out that this was not my fault, that 5 other students had encountered the same problem. The visa requirements just changed: a tourist may not stay in Argentina for more than 3 months without a visa, except if they're studying. Had to go to the UPS store and print out proof of acceptance.

Anyway, now I'm in Dulles listening to Loscil (thank you Zac). Talked to S for 45 minutes. Warned her about the problem.

Looking forward to finishing this french novel T gave me about three years ago.

Looking forward to arriving there and taking the taxi directly to orientation.

Looking forward to stealing a wireless connection in Buenos Aires.

Looking forward to studying 30 minutes of Arabic a day while Sophie does 30 minutes of Tibetan... ( predicted lifespan: one week)

Looking forward to finding a mosque and stealing an Egyptian to practice with.

"Frankly, R, Cairenes whores don't appeal to me."

Friday, February 13, 2009

Chicago day 4 Why are Chicago streets so full of potholes?

Thursday (R)

Why are Chicago streets so full of potholes?

5h wake up, which I really enjoy, mainly because of the 21h bedtime. Got some paper work done.
At work, talked to Peter about how he got into the Prosthetic business. Helped pass time. Went out for a quick sandwich with my dad which mainly consisted of him talking about my aunt and the possible deal that could go on between them. Not very fun to to listen to.
Came home and talked to Nayru for 3.5 hours. Quite enjoyable.

Then about the time that ended, my dad and my sister came home. My sister stay only as long as it took her to change into a cute outfit for a birthday dinner she went to. For her friend R.

Dad and I had a relatively peaceful meal. He left to do some errands and Then I took off to Z's around 21h40.
As usual, same smell, same pristine apartment. Makes me want to work there and study there. It also makes me want to clean up my room. Perhaps this would make my mind more clear as well.
Z gave me a bunch of music which I am now copying to my computer. Good stuff.

I left around midnight. Oh, and he has a really nice place.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cairo Day 145 Al-Dustur


Woke up at 4h. Was only out of bed by 4h40. After blogging and morning slowliness, started going over stuff for today's test. By this time it was 6h20 I think... It takes me two hours to become productive. And even then, between 6h30 and 8h I probably only studied half the time. Made myself two coffees, thank you Michael, for bringing the Caffeine directly into my dwelling. Ah, and thank you as well for the high quality coffee you offered me on Sunday night.

I befriended a Norwegian at ILI today. I told him about Cairoscholars because him and some friends of his were looking for apartments through ILI which are total rip-offs. Showed him how to take the minibuses as well. 29 year old, seemed nice, will get to know him more during breaks tomorrow.
Also, after school suggested to the falafel man nearby school that he set up a delivery service with school...

Napped at home a while which didn't feel as refreshing as it should have. Must have awakened in the middle of a rem cycle or something.

Hung out with Chris for 2 hours at Bostan's behind cafe riche. good time, as usual, chatted, caught up. Him, Jordan, Scott, Ahmed, and Ashref went to Sinai this past weekend for two nights. They had a lot of fun it seems, from stories and fb pics. Gossip: Jordan and Ahmed made out, Jordan was super drunk, possibly went further.

Ate a lentil soup. So good.

I read a REALLY good article about Egypt + Facebook + Politics = something closer to free speech than what currently exists. I bought the Dustur –a weekend newspaper– because it was mentioned in the article as an opposition newspaper. Plan on reading through it tonight before sleep.

My relationship status on fb was approved today. I had a fun time clicking on our names back and forth between profiles. Quick link.

Cairo Day 144 Monday


According to numerous winter break European sources, I have lost weight. If you ask me, I've gained weight; my gut has matured quite nicely. If you ask the scale, I possibly did loose about 2 kilos. I don't know how people can tell this when the opposite is what meets the(my) eye.
Hence, the numerous-winter-break-sources' concern has been an excuse to get back to doing push-ups. This activity has been going on for about 5 days and seems to be coming along nicely, from what the bathroom 'mirror mirror on the wall' tells me.

Went to give an English lesson to my Muslim kids but they didn't show up... and I didn't have my cell phone on me, it died today because last night I decided to let it sleep next to me, but shouldn't have as this kicked me in the butt today. I waited at the culture wheel for and hour and a half which was spent studying for tomorrow's test.

Hung out at aamr's ahua for a good hour and a half at least. I swear, that guy can teach more Arabic than anyone. Plus, I get homework done too. And he's interesting, for an ahua guy. He studied two years in a agricultural college but then when the gov. placed him on a team to fix bridges, he quit and came to work at his dad's ahuah. This story is the epitome of Egypt, shit education followed by a shit job followed by a semi-shit job which encourages others' laziness.
But he's cool though, he knows how to deal with people. We exchanged numbers two weeks ago and he still has not called me! amazing for an Egyptian. And he doesn't bother me when I'm studying/don't want to be bothered. His brother, the other guy who works there isn't nearly as cool, mostly angry it seems, and I tend to avoid it when Aamr's not working.

Cairo Day 143 lemony penguins


Did homework all dandy day.

Alternated between that, blowing my nose, laundry, cleaning up a bit, and I should add, more blowing my nose (dislodging the sandpaper that is still stuck in there) and, sick, officially, the cough has kicked in.
To those powers at be who predicted this, congratulations, my awe for you has yet gone up another level.

Ah, and made myself two, or was it three, hot coco drinks. yummy.

Might I add, to make these blog posts more even,
Roger! :
Earlier this week, I noticed a small bar of soap was missing from the bathroom sink. Forgetting to ask andreas about this, I just started using the bar from the shower.

Thursday night, I forget to put the bar or soap back in the shower ( I hate starting the shower, being wet, and having to step out to get the bar from the sink).
When I come home, the bar of soap (green) is on the countertop, totally mutilated, with scratch and bite marks everywhere on it. along with a few hairs too. Roger! that prick, tried to take it away with him too! fortunately, it was a little too heavy I think...

the next day I went out to the staircase to see how he could, if possible, come in from the bathroom window. Sure, enough, there's a nice, nifty ledge right outside of the window. Furthermore, I saw a piece of toilet paper which had gone missing two weeks earlier. (I'd rather not explain how I notice when toilet paper goes missing...)
Fucking roger, the clean rat,
but, respect.

I hope his farts aren't too bubbly or green or lemony.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cairo Day 142


Woke up before 10. But then slept again from like 13h to 15h. Mind you, there is a horrible dust storm going on right now. It is just about impossible to go outside without having the feeling of dust/dirt/sandpaperbeingrubbedinyourthroat pasting the insides of every upper-body cavity. I didn't sleep well last night as a result of this...

Met with Michael at 18h. By this time the storm had cleared up. horray.
after our convo, I bought some coffee and he showed me how to make it, in my apartment. Nice guy.

Around 22h30 I met up with Nadah and went out for a Stella at hurayah. Nice time. Talked til 1h or so. She told me to come to see her sing at after 8, she sings there every friday night around 23h. Listened to music in her car on the way back home. good times.
Practically finished my cover letter for that internship in Arg. just hoping Jiongyi gets back to me soon with his final, master correction (the fourth person to do so ;)
ooooo I get byyy with a little HELP from my friends...

Cairo Day 141


I think I slept until 13h. Correction I did sleep, until 13h30, or fell in and out of sleep. My day was doomed from the beginning.

Did, I don't know what, oh, some hw. At 18h was at the culture wheel to administer my little dose of English to my Egyptians. Had them try to read an article from The New Yorker which was a little too hard, I think. Still fun though.

On the way home, in the minibus, I explained the differences between American and Egyptian culture. I explained to them how awkward it felt for westerners for them to pay for us every time we do something. The ramifications being, we don't feel comfortable hanging out among other misunderstandings. While it is also up to us westerners to be aware of this and understand it, it is also up to them to see it from our point of view. We, as westerners, are not used to, nor do we enjoy having to argue to pay for the bill.
They, I feel, were nicely enlightened by this and I think they will apply it to their future encounters with the western world...

Boring, went home, studied, slept. too much. god this blog is boring.

Cairo Day 140


After school, I don't remember what I did. Oh right, I slept because I was exhausted.

Again, met with Michael at 6pm, and went over to a gathering of some friends of his at 8pm. This gathering was located in a russian collective apartment, for people itinerating through Cairo. It was run by a guy named Anton who has gone all over the world (save NA and SA) by hitchhiking. He was pretty cool. That same night he announced a trip to go down to Fayoum and hike back up through the dessert until they hit this road which would bring them back into Cairo. The thing was "bring blankets for the night and maybe water because the dessert is hot during the day" or course, all of this was said in the most typical russian accent you can imagine with the most horrendous grammar errors. This who little gathering was pretty awesome. They served up Russian soup, delicious. And the company was fun. Most of the people there had met from couchsurfers or another international website. Nice people, lots of Russians.

Went home in a taxi with a lady from the party who happened to live in the same freaking apartment as I. small world, big coincidence, nice lady.

Cairo Day 139


Because Ivan had not finished his paper (out of solidarity, not to make him look bad being the only one who had not turned it in) and because mine could use a good beating by someone who knows arabic, I did not hand my paper in. No biggie.

Met with Atef, had him look over the paper.
We had an interesting talk about trust between our two cultures. He and I both feel (correctly) that I have a problem trusting him. This is true, I have an inherent problem feel 100% comfortable with him, or most typical Egyptians. I acknowledge this have tried to feel more comfortable to no avail. I attribute this to the fact that I had very little contact with Arabs growing up.

Then, did homework for like 2hours, met with Michael and did more convo partner time. (more, I only spoke Spanish with Atef...)

Went to bed late

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Cairo Day 138 New President Day/khaled day


Slept, could NOT get out of bed for the life of me. until about 9h. Oh, justified not going to Amiya because I have not paid for it yet and hadn't received confirmation of funds from my dad yet. Did hw at my other ahuah, my new main hang out place where all the guys think i'm really named musri and from Fayoom. last night as michael and I were walking to the place we chilled at, some random man, I guess from the ahuah called out "Mursi!" and smilled. feels good to be hollad at in the streets, not harassed though.

oh, and I was almost going to forget this: Khaled is the shit.
I repeat: Khaled is the shit.
In 2 hours worth of class today, I learned more grammar than in the past 3 months. No joke. He is amazing. just, to briefly explain, grammatical terms mean nothing to me in English or in Arabic. But in Arabic, whatever grammatical term you're talking about is derived from a word which has to do with its function, and the derivation usually is exactly what words look like when they have that function. i.e. this word, describing nouns when they come at the beginning of a sentence (btw "this book" is a sentence in arabic) is derived from the root "to begin" but I had never made this connection by myself. And the past three grammar teachers never had the wits to point this out. I fee like it's been 40 days of storm and finally Khaled said "khalaas, let there be light"

Did hw, well, for two hours, read about all the Orientalists on a list I can choose from. This was a significant waste of time given that I now only have tonight to write about 2-4 pages on one of them. Ended up choosing Sr. Edward Francis Burton. He's badass. He's also mentioned in a blog to which I am now subscribed, in an amusing and trivial attempt to "become more manly". by the way, I'm already manly enough (next week's article is going to be about me, they already contacted me for an interview via skype), I'm just reading this blog to cultivate myself on cool dudes from the past. As rule number one goes, Burton was well rounded, and in his free time practiced hypnotism... my hero...

oh, and I predict, the future: I'll be up till about 3h writing the damned paper I've been procrastinating for two weeks now.

Cairo day 137 24


Woke up at 5h to finish my paper. Class, productive. Ate 5 sandwiches total today. I think i eat to compensate lacking sleep. Minibused it on home. did 2 hours of hw which was not enough. left to go to kobbri al kaba and from there took a taxi with chris,jordan, scott to city stars mall.
City stars: huge mall. AMERICA, fuck yea! even smelled like an american mall. we had mexican food. oh, by the way, this was on the occasion of Chris' 24th birthday. He's OLD!

Scooted on back to Dokki to meet with with my affable french/arabic convo partner, michael. I was super tired and we chose an ahuah place which made things less efficient than Cillantro's the first time we met. Still nice though. Slept, could NOT get out of bed for the life of me. until about 9h. Oh, justified not going to Amiya because I have not paid for it yet and hadn't received confirmation of funds from my dad yet.

Cairo day 136 I think I smell a Rat


If only I were a Cat.

(with green eyes)

Woke up at 9. Wrote a week's worth of blog entries. Mad at myself for not being better about it.
By the way, we had a rat (Roger, Andrea's personal touch to him) in our apartment on Friday. Andreas called me, sort of hysterically as he had been startled by it upon entering and seeing it scurry into the kitchen. Using a carpet and and armed with brooms, we set up a barrier which would have led it outside. Unfortunately it was no where to be found anymore.
This was concluded by me suggesting that we clean up the apartment. I said this while we were in the living room and at that very same moment I notice a piece of Andrea's peanuts on the floor by the tv close to the rat's spotting. I think this perfect combination hit home... no food=no rat. well, I guess it was concluded by us cleaning the apartment, especially the kitchen. This reminded me of the coffee stain Karoline let fester under the garbage for god knows how long while I was gone. That girl is sorta clueless. I feel sorta bad for Hannah but I think they will get along.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Cairo Day 135 Michael

Wandered around my neighborhood. Got foul from a car stand, something I enjoy doing once or twice a week. Didn't hear from Atef as I was supposed to so I responded to an email about a french-Arabic language exchange. With this guy named Michael (christian, no shit) who is learning French. The exchange went really well. I was a bitch about not speaking English and he got the point. he's pretty good at french, but once the basic introductory conversations were over, he did have more trouble than in the beg. did 30 min of only fr, 30 min of only arabic, 30 min of me speaking fr and him speaking only Arabic and the 30 min viceversa. Super effective. My voice was exhausted from speaking so much. Much more effective than with Atef, although I'm definitely going to keep the two, assuming Atef calls me back.

Apparently, had a meeting with Risala kids to speak English. Had no idea. There's a huge communication problem between Osama and I, which mostly stems from his English. This is the second time I've "stood them up". I've already requested to deal with Shayma, the girl Angela used to organize with because he english is better and she's the brains of their little operation. Only wondering if her being uber religious and not be able to shake hands with me is going to cause a little problem with me having her phone number...

Cairo Day 134 trippin on shroons

Atef called me to re-invite me to his place. Super nice of him but I had a lot of hw and plans with Chris. He even had me talk to his mom! weird, but super cool, a nice opening up in our relationship!

Did homework all morning/afernoon. Then Chris came over and we watched two more episodes of Entourage. Then got Hawaoushy and Koshary (i still have some of the hot sauce left on my keyboard from a little explosive spillage) and finished the rest of the season. It actually was pretty good. Better than the middle with that weird episode where they start tripping on mushrooms in the desert.
Then went out, chilled until 22h15 I think. Went home, did more hw, a lot actually. Talked to La L after about her closure night out with man u.

Cairo day 133 so, what do you know!?


so, what do you know!
Ana, a girl from LP swim team and Anajah, a girl from LP Singers Choir are here on one of those rush-to-see-everything school trips. So we meet up, hang out at their hotel for a while, meet some of their friends and whatnot. Then start walking around town, got the some koshary and icecream. They were amazed at how cheap things could be if you were with a 'local'...
After quite some hesitation(only on Anajah's part), they finally that coming with me to Atef's in bumblefuck country side 30 minutes away by taxi would be better than going to a club with americans. hmm...
He made us tea and hawaoushy. Hung out on his rooftop. Had a very nice time. Anajah sang his and his friends the national anthem and, somewhere over the rainbow. Her voice is still just as freaking awesome! Mostly spoke Spanish actually, as our lingua franca (ana's mexican). This always marks as very strange to be using Spanish as an intermediary language.

Told Anajah (african american) about how blacks from Sudan are discriminated against because they take all the low class jobs. Asked her if she had noticed any of this. The answer was no but that she could imagine it and also that she didn't look african and that she's surrounded by a bunch of white people all the time.

Cairo day 132


Did the english convo table with some of the Risala kids.

Cairo day 131


My apartment got rented by a friend at some point during this week.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Cairo day 130 Welcome to Egypt


Conversed with A for about two hours. After this we got some food by midan talat harb. There we saw a demonstration against the conflict in Gaza. Got pretty intense for only having about 70 people and being completely surrounded and subdued by police forces. A told me this was a planned demonstration, in coordination with the medias and the police, for the medias, to have some footage for international television, certainly not Egyptian television. The party who organized this protest is called "the tomorrow" and is quite opposed to the current rule. If the police had not been there, according to A, it could have grown into a MUCH larger protest against gaza, the gov, corruption, you name it e.g. revolution.
Then, a little bit later, A and I continued talking about revolution and corruption in this country and the need for change (obama=hero someone?) Basically, way more people would take part in such things but there are too many who are afraid. And rightly so... A was an student organizer for a political party back in A's azhar days. Way too many people that might have been a little too voiced in the ideas have not been seen again. A recounts parents coming into the city from the country side crying because they had not heard from their daughter or son in months... oooo how lovely a tourist site the prisons would be...

Friday, January 9, 2009

Cairo day 129


Woke up at 10h on Jordan (and now Scott's) couch with a sleeping bag keeping me warm. I have NO recollection of going to sleep, which is kinda awesome. Hung out for a bit, watched an episode of southpark in which Cartman has a crazy twelve year old babysitter (turd), crazy cat in heat, and all this, well because, his mom's in heat as well. I was quite hungry, so set out on a hunt to find an open restaurant on Friday in Cairo. This wasn't easy until about 13h. Had the best taemia/cauliflower/potato sandwiches ever. and I mean ever. It had a been a long while since I had gotten lost in Cairo, wandering, exploring. and I must say, this was really fun, even being hungover. I wander through this really typical neighborhood, before, after and as people were coming out of their mosques. around 13h15 the streets literally flooded to life. Again, this was quite cool.

Read the news paper, wasted time and slowly made my way over to my rendezvous with Atef. For once I was not late. We've been getting really productive lately. Maybe that, or maybe it's just my Arabic getting better which is giving me that impression. Learned a few good expressions too. Then we got some food. My new favorite: lentil soup with butter. delicious. Then we got some delicious desserts, with cream on top. I taught Atef how to recognize a nice butt when he sees one. This was the best part, locking arms with an Egyptian while checking out the few uncovered butts, two totally contrasting, opposite things is somehow hilarious to me.

Might be watching Entourage with Chris tonight, when he gets back from bowling in Giza with some super wealthy Egyptian friends of his.
And that's a wrap for today!

dice? no dice. awww... c'mooon... Dice!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Cairo day 128

Thursday regular good'ld day. I mean AWESOME day.

I woke up 7h45. was out of the bait by 8h08. Ate a banana on the way down. Sat at a coffee shop and talked to Amer for about 15 minutes. He invited me to a wedding tomorrow but I don't think he was serious. It's a shame because one of the topics that was assigned today in colloquial class was "different types of islamic weddings" oh, and wait... the best way to start a day: here it comes: be hearing a word that was randomly taught to you the night before by a different native speaker. In this case, the word was "mood" used by Atef, and then used again my Amer. It felt so good to be able to understand a random word like that.

Class was good. Felt like I did quite well in both of them today.

Learned that Khaled is tight with a friend of the author of three of my Arabic textbooks. This Author is freaking genius as far as arabic textbooks go.

After class I ate two chip sandwiches and one tomato/cheese sandwich at the local sandwich joint by my school. Then, on the way to the bus stop, I talked to one of its workers who was getting off work about his HORRIBLE IMAM who had just started saying the call to prayer in the mosque across the street. his voice, and the worker agreed with me 100%, is SHIT. he pronounces "allahu akbar" as allahu aenkanbar" and, really it sounds like he's in pain. I wonder if people even pray there. This was a good bonding moment between me and the man who makes my falafel sandwiches everyday.

OH! and THEN!!! the SAME godsend thing happened on the way home!
An expression I had JUST learned like one hour before in class was used by this guy I started talking to on the bus!!!

I've started thinking about what I'll be doing between Feb. 1st and 8th. Falafel is one of them.

came home, watched the rest of "paradise now". hwed a bit, talked to N briefly (hoot hoot for those who read this!), she's doing well in NYC it seems, and at 21h30 I'm going over to Jordan's to sit in on a power hour.

and a special shout out to my man B for forcing N to reactivate her fb! This link goes out to him!

Cairo Day 127

Wednesday Coptic Christmas, national holiday, no school.

woke up at 10h. did homework all day. except for a food break; made noodles with a delicious onion/tomato sauce. inspired by Chris. Was rather delicious.

Went out around 16h30. Had a great time wandering the streets around my flat. Met with Atef at 18h15. Had a productive session with him.

Also, on really shitty thing happened today. My dad double check with this a study abroad person about me being able to arrive late in BA. Turns out I can't. Didn't think that would be a problem. We'll see. Maybe I can get my tickets changed and leave earlier than was planned.

Day 126 Cairo


Colloquial, again was good, not tip top, but good. I think I'm going to pay for two weeks and see from there. I have a feeling the teacher doesn't like me/has already placed me in a category.
Today we learned about dates. The fruit, that is. Khaled talked about dates for like 25 minutes. This was interesting, not at all boring, rather, super cool. We went on a tangent from Ibn Batuta -a traveler/explorer- (he traveled the desert on dates and water) to dates and the different kinds of dates and date trees and date production. haha

Did some shopping. Home for a bit, homeworked. saw Islam for 30 minutes at the ahuah. Came back home and did more hw. went to bed around 23h.

Day 125 Cairo

Monday, Cairo

First day of my last month of school.
Started off with the bad news that Media Arabic level two would not be offered this session. Bummer. Went to Colloquial level 5 to see how the teacher is, possibly to take the class depending on her. She's alright. Mostly, the cool thing is, there are only 5 people in the class, not like last semester's where there were about 10.

Had koshary with Ian and a friend of his. Regular back to school talk "how was your break" etc...

Formal Arabic, level 7 with Khaled. I can see why Angela had a crush on him.

I have a man crush.

He's an awesome teacher. I think for a teacher to be awesome one must be slightly infatuated with them.
Right from the start he captivated my attention. He speaks super clearly, uses words he knows we know/ words we don't but in context it is guessable.

The class is composed of Khaled, Ivan and Sonia. Ivan is studying Arabic here until he goes on to Bahrain to do research there on a fellowship. He seems kick ass. American of Mexican descent from California. Sonia, whom I know from my past two classes is here studying to improve her Arabic. She is British-Egyptian. She's 24 I think but looks like she's 20. She learned French in college and taught English at a university in Strasbourg, France for two years. I think she got bored of it and decided she should get back in touch with her roots and learn Arabic. Good for her.

In the evening, met up with Atef again. Then Sarah and her visiting friend sat with us. Met Chris' parents, who are both SUPER American. His dad did not like Egypt at ALL and couldn't wait to go back. His mom seemed to have been more relaxed and easygoing throughout their trip therefore seemed to have enjoyed it.
A hilarious excerpt from an email Chris sent me a week ago:
"though this shouldn't be shared, my mom told me that on their first night here my dad freaked out saying that he wanted to take me home with them when they return to the states b/c he's so worried.  he also has recurring nightmares about having to return to egypt to claim my dead body."

Got home, did hw. lol.

Day 124 Ghent--> Brussels--> Luxor--> Cairo

Sunday Brussels-->Luxor-->Cairo

nice day. met a cool person on the airplane, shared a taxi with them back to Dokki. Ate two hawaushees and a koshary and chilled at two coffee shops on three occasions, mostly reading Le Monde. Did not do any homework as I should have but still feel productive.

Perhaps my only regret of this whole trip is not going to the Opera. :-)

Day 123 Ghent

Quite a nice day, and a sad one, understandably, but positive, happy, plain old good as a whole, and referring back to the entry about my grandma, I only get sad when I know I'll never see someone again, which I don't feel is the case here.

Got some more xmas presents. Probably the most useful ones. A guide of Buenos Aires and a guide of Latin America! Totally going to start reading them like now.
And holly heraldry wreath! Chocolates! with alcohol in them! delicious!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Paris day 122

Woke up early, got out of bed late. Probably the best I've slept since I've been in France, although I've been sleeping like a baby on tranquilizers since I've been in France, so can't complain. That's probably due to the reduced nocturnal noise levels.

Cursorily organized a meeting place with Gwladys at Montparnasse. Of course I was 20 minutes late, but of course, I left about 20 minutes after Sophie advised me to leave... We talked, and talked, and talked more. Good times. and ate some too. good times, again. Then I took the metro to Oberkampf where I met Doumitra and Sophie at Doumitra's hotel (where she works, not her hotel).
We hung out at a cozy tea shop across the street from the hotel. Talked about what happiness is, as Sophie is super interested in that kind of stuff (wisdom too).

They accompanied me to la gare du nord. goodbyes... -they were great! hehehe

And now on my way back to Brussels where, I doubt I will see Nadine, because I'm out of credit. Plus I don't feel like getting something to eat yet. Going to Ghent for one night and then antwerp for a short night, then, Cairo for about 40 more nights... :ooOOOOoo
Have a small plan for ghent tonight. Involves a cool tree, a pizza places and a bench by some weeping willows along a river.

Day 121

Lyon --> Paris
Difficult wake up. Looking forward to sleeping in the train. Had a enjoyable ride to the train station with Pyrrhus. Goodbyes always suck, although not as bad when you know you'll see the person again.
Now in the TVG about 30 minutes out of Lyon. Looking forward to getting picked up at the Paris Gare de Lyon by Sophie R. (for my few readers who might be confused).
Finally did end up getting a different cell phone from Pirus which is practical in itself although the phone isn't too great. I think it'll be a good opportunity to improve my memory by just memorizing all my numbers... (good luck!-)
time to take a nap in this lovely bundle for French technology...

Sophie picked me up at the train station. Walked our way over to her apartment. Chilled there for a while... until... more precisely SURPRISE!!! Bennet Smith arrives at 18h! Ben is so cool. He was here visiting Paris with his family for one week. We hung out a bit, watch a few episodes of Entourage, which, by the way, has gone bad, like not entertaining at all, the script seems to have changed from awesome to bad, right after episode 7. and the story writters changed around episode 4. sigh... petering out...
So we made some delicious pasta, well, Sophie made it, I just ate and critizised... but really, it was delicious. Had some wine too. Then we went out to meet Gwladys and a ton of European ex-study abroad students. Hung out at an Irish bar and talked, had fun, goofed off, some "what ifs" with Ben and Sophie who always have awesome just-as-ridiculous replies.
oh! and what a shame! Ben didn't get to see le centre Pompidou as we would have liked!

Lyon day 120

woke up 9h, worked on my Argentine internship application some more.
RDV for thibault and I to get our haircuts. Pretty short, I like it, I think, makes me look more thin, I think, as short haircuts always do, which is neither a good nor bad thing in this case.

Didn't do too much the afternoon besides have a really delicious meal and work on the app more and goof off with pirus a bit.
The new year's was spent at Loic's. Antoine and Pirus were there which was the most important, along with Loic, Anne-Claire, and Elsa and some of her friends towards with beginning of the night. He also invited a good group of his friends from medical school. I had a really fun night. Antoine is his good old self which is awesome.
Speaking of awesome, received a really sweet text message from a special someone, which helped make my night.
And we didn't even smoke a sheesha! which, perhaps isn't a bad thing. It's funny how tuberculosis is such a deterrent to smoking while lung cancer isn't. Maybe it's the idea of catching a disease from someone else which does the trick.
Jeeze... we left around 4h40 after hanging out on the couch for a good hour.

It's too bad I didn't stay longer in Lyon. Maybe an extra night could have been worthwhile although there are still people I should see in Paris, and I did get to see everyone I wanted save, perhaps Mr. Z who I probably would not have seen anyway because he's probably in the U.S.