Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Geneva: first day of class

Wow! I'm so excited and scared! first class (macro) in one hour! it's so bizarre to be back in the library, reading, studying, under pressure.

also, geneva really needs a "no smoking within 15 ft of entrances" law. Every time I walk into the institute, I have to go through a cloud of smoke. beurk. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014


My glasses don't get dirty so quickly here.

It was nice in Chicago compared to here regarding smoking. People smoke a lot here. Cigarettes are still relatively cheap 6CHF or about 6USD per pack. gross.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

moving on for good

It's finally hitting me, in waves of moistening eye ducts, and perhaps amplified by a slight caffeine overdose: this is not just any benign day, I am starting a new chapter in my life.

I'm moving from 4 years of experiencing Cairo, to at least two intense years of living in Geneva as a student.
This is significant because it marks the beginning of something somewhat serious which is true adulthood?
–at least that's the way I see it at the moment, we'll see what life has in store for me.

But then I also think: 'no big deal', 'change is good', 'it's all part of a process', 'I'm moving forward, not moving on'.

Symbolically, this flight from Istanbul to Geneva marks the separation between my time in the developing world v.s. my time in the developed world (although I don't really like those categorizations, and, anyway, Cairo is stagnant –not developing).

On another note, this vacation in Turkey with T was very good. I also enjoyed the last few days we spent in Istanbul with E and her friend J. They were very relaxing, chill. E is really easygoing and fun to talk to and I really liked the mellow vibe given off by J. T needs to keep away from alcohol... :-)

This morning was especially simple and enjoyable. The weather was perfect, our breakfast was nice, beautiful Turkish girls everywhere (wow, I have really been in Cairo for a long time), and I got a cute Turkish girl to show me her tattoo on her side ribs (about 20 cm below the armpit) without even asking :-D

I am now at the airport, a single individual lost in a mass of travelers, lost in my thoughts, careening somewhere between the third and fourth decade of my life, and boy-o-boy do I feel it. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Urban planning on gameat al.dawal

Cool. So they planned out a parking lane here to allow people to shop and use the stores. Nice. Insightful. Though-out. Rare here

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Ana huna at darb 1718

Just some pics from tonight.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Adidas talat harb

Everest hotel

Memories for language exchangers

فندق اڤرست

Thursday, April 24, 2014

L'etang de mounira

L'étang de 1802 est revenu parmi nous.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Today, I set I new record, from 1 to 4 passengers "gotten" while riding at the front side door or the microbus and waving and yelling our destination to people waiting to get the bus. The bus driver was confused. I was mildly pleased.

Chicago this summer?

WOuldn't it be funny if, after living in Cairo for three year, I went back to Chicago this summer and got shot?

Monday, April 21, 2014


Easter in dokki. A quiet day off, no traffic, like on Fridays.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Lufthansa bike

Blue bus

Today's novelty was a brand new CTA bus... colored blue instead of red

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

SnapShot: tchipsee grave

Disproportionate amount of empty chip bags here. A school must be close by.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

SnapShot: Urban fail

A building in dokki by misaha and pyramiza. A wall at least ten stories high with not a single window. would it have killed them to let a little light in?
Or is this the perfect place for a rock climbing wall?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Dashboard weirdness

This is bizarre because it is so common to see a copy of the Quran on dashboards, not technical refrigeration and air conditioning German-Arabic-English dictionaries! Someone's got their priorities straight!

Yemeni breakfast

Yum yum, not a bad way to start the gastronomical day, with Yemeni omelet and beans.

memories of studying for the GRE

This is the cafe -cilantro in misaha square where I spent a long time studying for the GRE. Back in 2011.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Day walk from Dokki to Mounira

Calle 13 really puts Cairo streets in perspective.

Crates of new sidewalk pavements. From "Arab Contractors".  

They were breaking up this sidewalk in order to instal the new tiles. It was really quite fine, no need to destroy them all. 

Lights were on all over the bridge. At first I thought it was just poor management, but then...

...it was actually because someone was fixing them!
At night this bridge is just a huge party, and it looks really good with the lights and the flags. 

Ugly imposing USA embassy, right in the middle of downtown.

Some art center in GC off of Qasr al-Einy

Poor man digging through the garbage bins. Broken sewer systems. Mounira

And the evening ended around 11 with Yemeni. Mashuiyat, farakh mandi, etc... Great end of the evening :-) with good food, new names, and adopted cats...

Monday, March 31, 2014

SnapShot: shady street vendors

On the left see how they've pulled the banner out to make shade over the sidewalk? Pepsi was never so refreshing. Genius. 

SnapShot: xmas tree of the fish shop

This would be funny to hear: "yea, meet my in dokki square by the fish shop with the christmas tree on the pole"It would work any time of the year.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

separate your garbage campaign

Separate your trash to deal with the garbage problem.
Food in one bag and the rest in another bag.

Thoughts on: Garbage problems around Soliman Gohar square, Dokki

So, lately, I have once again been baffled by something which is total normal in Egypt. 
Consistently for the past few weeks, everyday that I go out around 8am, I see at least three garbage trucks picking up the garbage at Soliman Gohar (SG) Square. 
SG square is a place where all the garbage gets deposited (not in bins, on the floor, taking up two or three parking spots) from the surrounding market place and businesses. Usually there is a bit of a lag between the accumulation and the pick up. Not so anymore! But now, we have not one company cleaning up, we have TWO!

From what I've gather based on different local nearby merchants, one company is the government entity (or governorate, not sure) where the workers get paid peanuts (300 EGP/month?). this money gets collected as part of the water bill (which for our 5-story building is about 250 LE per month (including both) according to my cheap-o landlady). 

The private company that picks up the garbage and does a good job is the one were each apartment unit or business has to pay about 15 LE per month for their private services. That's the service traditionally associated with the zabaleen in manshiet nassr (I went to see an exorcism there in 2011). They are also generally considered very efficient. This has been extensively covered by Western media.

Anyway, the point being, we went from having not enough garbage pick up, to TOO much garbage collection. And still no garbage bin. 

Finally, a nice quote from my favorite NGO operating in Egypt, GIZ:
"The institutions responsible for waste collection and disposal are unable to cope with the complexity of the task in hand despite international support. There is no legal framework or strategic planning and responsibilities and tasks are not clearly allocated. The sector is significantly underfinanced and has an enormous need for long-term investments and services."

That's the zabaleen truck. pilled high. probably super dangerous for the roads too. and therefore perhaps TOO "efficient". 

Here, we have a view of the square, with one truck on the left, and two on the right, and one behind us (above). Normally the garbage is piled up in the center of the photo where the three men are standing side by side.  
This is from a different date than the two photos above. same location. "The truck has become the bin..." I like the tree/shrub sticking out of the back of the truck. 

Photos: Exorcism in Manshiet Nasr

These are from 2011.
There are not actual exorcism photos here, just photos of where they take place. 

Nice drawings on the cliff at the entrance

the two tablets of the ten commandments

Entrance to the church before it goes in to the side of the cliff.


During mass

I like how the crosses also support the ceiling. 

after mass. when the exorcisms took place. I didn't take photos of it out of respect!

A chat about religion lead to an emotional hug out.

Notice the Egyptian flag. We are Copts, but we're still Egyptian too! 

The exorcisms were actually quite powerful. Although I knew they weren't real, it did feel like something was going on. Definitely something interesting to witness at some point. the power of faith.