Thursday, March 17, 2011

Holy Wednesday

Yesterday was a big day for me, religiously.  I got in with the big man upstairs FIVE TIMES, in three different religious, you guys!  Yes. That's right.  I visited two Coptic Christian churches (think Greek Orthodox), one very old synagogue, and two mosques.  Not only that, but we managed to crash services in both a church and a mosque, so I'm feeling pretty good about my juju today. 

We started off our day by heading to Coptic Cairo on the Metro, an experience that I was pleasantly   surprised by, especially when I found out about the all women's car!

Ladies loading dock, Cairo Metro!
 Then we went to a lot of religious buildings, where we infidel ladies had to suit up.  Enjoy my cultish green fake a burka, PopTart!  For all of the rest of you, don't I look like I belong in a villainous cult on Buffy? 
White girl in a mosque...
 This is the moment where it dawned on me that I am considered exotic here, a weird but true and possibly slow moment for me.  However, I was still displeased that the infidel White DUDES are not required to do anything special to enter into a mosque.  Whatever!
Other members of our cult and their manfriends, who can walk around freely.  My inner feminist sighed a little bit.
 After much churching, we headed to the Khan al-Khalili market, a completely overwhelming experience for me, a notorious crowd h8r.  However, first we had lunch!  I tried foul (teehee), another Egyptian treat; basically it is bean stew that you scoop up with pita.  I tried it at Gad, the go to Egyptian fast food place - except fast food here contains things other than chemicals.  Ahem, McChariots of delight...
Foul, stuffed grape leaves (called moshi), pita, and shawarma!
Al-Azhar mosque looks good  in its close up.  Ps.  I can't get this picture to go in order. Deal.
 Then we went to the market!  It totally freaked me out at first; I totally hate crowds.  I got a little more into it as we moved along and I got used to the calls you hear:
- Welcome to Cairo!
- Looking is free!
- You like? I give discount?
- Come to my store, I give you my card?
And then there is my all time favorite: Do you want Egyptian husband?
I got into my grove after learning that the HISSSSSSSSSS noises coming from behind generally meant you were about to be run over by men bearing elephantine carts, and even bartered for some items, with the help of my lovely translator, Becky!  Shockingly, I would totally go back.  It was overwhelming but totally fun!
Khan al-Khalili market, side street with a new Egyptian friend.
 Finally, we ended the night with some Sufi dancing! This involves an astonishing amount of whirling, with almost (I couldn't see much of it) spotting.  I'm not sure how they do it, but it is totally hypnotic and incredible! Plus, they wear skirts.  And it is a religious thing, though I'm not clear on the details.  It was a win win for my day of G to the O to the D.
Sufi dancing
Thusly, we headed home to end the night, but not before trying some delicious banana milk from a crowded juice shop down the street from Becky's apartment.  It was yummy!  

Today I am off into yet another beautiful day, schedule TBD.  It is sooo nice not to have to pack a raincoat EVER!

1 comment:

Desiree said...

Did you pick the green burka-like thing? Was this a St. Patrick's Day homage, or enforced froggy-ness?

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