Slam Poetry and Fish Gardens!

WOW.  TRANSLATED EGYPTIAN SLAM POETRY.  I hope I am in town for this, but between final papers and a postponed trip to Alexandria, I'm not sure if this is going to happen.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Favorite place in Cairo at this moment: Aquarium Grotto Garden.  The first thing someone might tell you about this garden, commonly known as "The Fish Garden," is that there aren't many fish there.  A few feeble aquariums, some crocodiles, and some pickled creatures in jars.  What people won't tell you is that half the park is a huge grotto!  As in a huge man-made stalactite-y cave complex, complete with a colony of bats!  I went with the only other science major (biology!) in my program, so we nerded out for maybe an hour watching the bats.  While we watched them, a man came up to us and asked if we wanted a cappuccino or tea.  He had a nice shirt and a little notepad and everything.
My response: "No, thank you."
"This is cafeteria.  What do you want to order?"
"... This is a cafeteria?  There is bat poop on the ground."
"Yes," (oh, language gap, sometimes you are beautifully hilarious) "What would you like?"
I just laughed, "No, thank you," again to him and he realized that his poorly thought out scam wouldn't work on these white girls.  There were also some pretty magnificent trees that grow down as well as up.  It is my quest to find out what kind of trees those are!


Garbage City

a.k.a. Manshiet Nasser, home of the Zabbaleen

It's a bird!  It's a plane!  It's a church?  A hanging church lantern!

Hardcore garbage collecting

Hardcore sorting and recycling

Largest Church in the Middle East

Most Christians in Egypt have small cross tattoos on their hands or wrists.  At one point in Egypt's history Christan children would be taken from their families and raised as Muslims, so parents would tattoo them very young in the hope that they would rediscover the religion into which they were born.  Of course no one steals Christan babies anymore, but the tradition stuck around, and many are tattooed before being old enough to remember the event.  I saw this guy in action at this tattoo stall.

This is a cage where pigeons are kept.  Yum, pigeons.

Cairo is so beautiful, it takes my breath away

Passive solar water heaters, and a converter of biomass to methane made from materials the Zabbaleen collect.

The view from Solar Cities, the NGO that sets up those fantastic contraptions on the roofs


Protests Today

Classes were canceled because of protests today.  It's just precautionary measure, and hopefully I can use the time to get some work done... but that hasn't happened yet.  The last month panic is starting to set in.  Anyway, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists actually canceled their protests late last night, but I assume people will still turn up.  The secularists and liberals are still camped out in Tahrir.  READ THIS ARTICLE.



I had a dream in Arabic last night.  The dialogue was pretty simple, but Arabic it was.  I was also wearing a sailor dress, and being chased on a bicycle by a puddle bog monster.

Another perspective

I've heard another perspective on the prez's latest actions.  Some argue that this is the only means by which Morsi could have supported the revolution.  The Judiciary disbanded the Parliament earlier this year, and supposedly were planning on disbanding all popularly elected bodies, leaving Morsi the lone representative of the revolution against a government of the old regime.  Apparently,  the attorney general was appointed by Mubarak and Morsi had tried to fire him several times, and he refused to leave, so this was why he chose to lessen the power of the Judiciary.  His back was up against a wall.  Some are complaining that the liberals, who have called for protests are being babies, and need to accept when things don't go their way, if it is a result of fair elections.  The issue is clearly complicated. I personally am still very concerned, about the fact that Morsi has no checks to his power.  Muslim Brotherhood or not, that isn't how democracy works, for anyone.  But it is reassuring that he may have good intentions.  Maybe.  As for the liberals being babies, Egypt has a strong recent history of politicians boycotting things when they don't like the rules or results on both sides of the spectrum.  I often question how productive this tactic is, but it looks to me like the liberals turn has come around.


No, Morsi, no

Yesterday, Morsi pulled a Mubarak-esque move, and granted himself more powers in the name of "protecting the revolution" and "national security."  That isn't how democracy works, Morsi.  Protests are amping up.  Nothing huge yet, but I would say this action is deserving of some Egyptian outrage.  I am safe in 6 October staying with some family friends, but everyone is concerned as to what this means for the future of the revolution and Egypt.  Many of the powers Morsi granted himself put him above the traditionally strong judiciary, which is currently the only check to his power.  Additionally, all women, liberals, and secularists have walked out of the constitutional committee (in charge of writing the new constitution), because Islamist refuse to debate or compromise, and since they make up the majority, always pass their motions.  Despite this Morsi decreed that the constitution will be finished on time, with the current members (in other words, a stubborn Islamist majority).  Though Morsi and other members of the Muslim Brotherhood, have been talking up democracy through this whole process, this latest decree suggests that it was all a front in order to obtain power and hold onto it.  Is this how dictatorships begin?  I don't think the Egyptian people will stand for this.  It is an insult after all they sacrificed in the revolution the first time around.


Citadel Pics!

THE CITADEL.  (Sort an odd-ball Ottoman addition to Cairo's architecture, but very famous with tourists)

"Al-Maser Mohamed Ibn Qalawoon Mosque"

"The military and the people in one hand"

Military Museum and other mosque on Citadel campus

Muhammed Ali Mosque


The clearest day I've seen so far in Cairo.


Arab League Pics!

Seed Bombing Pics!

Here are the pictures to accompany the map I posted earlier!

Starting in Zamalek

Bizoor Balady Bombs!


I met this woman at the event.  She had a knee injury and I had my back injury, so we made a good team.

And then we finished at Abdeen Palace downtown.