Saturday, August 22, 2009

Welcome to Patrick

Patrick’s here; he arrived without any mishap and waltzed through our door around 5:00 PM. We let him sit down for a minute, visited, and ordered Arzak for dinner (thank you, Otlob), which we wolfed down so that we could get ready to go see the Sufi dancers downtown.

Andrew stayed home to babysit and I took Patrick out by myself.

I hate going downtown by myself, but as Patrick pointed out I wasn’t really by myself. I was with somebody who didn’t know anything. That’s helpful…somehow…

Andrew and Rachel walked us out to help us find a taxi but there were no taxis in sight so instead we rode the metro to Sadat hoping to find a taxi there, which meant that I would have to talk to the driver and negotiate the fare.

The metro was eerily empty. Besides one other man, we were the only ones waiting for the metro to come at our station. A few people filed on and off as we cruised through the city, but no one ever had to sit by anyone else.

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We got off at Sadat and exited near the Mugamma, which was also eerily empty. The roads are usually blurry with cars whizzing by, but today we were able to leisurely amble across the street without worrying about getting hit, let alone seeing a car.

Eventually a taxi drove by and I asked to be dropped off at Midan al-Hussein. I overpaid (by a whole dollar) so that I wouldn’t have to fight with the driver. I hate bargaining.

Even the Khan was quiet. Lights were strung up everywhere, but a ton of the stores were closed and instead of being jostled by thronging, bustling crowds of people we were able to just walk where we needed to go. It was easy. I love Ramadan (sometimes).

We got to Wikalat al-Ghury shortly before 7:30 PM. There was a big group of people gathered to wait, but the doors hadn’t opened yet, which we thought was odd. After waiting for a while we began to wonder if there really was a show tonight. We asked, and there was. But they didn’t open the doors until 8:00.

20090822 - 002Apparently during Ramadan the show starts at 9:00. I hate Ramadan (sometimes). Tonight was going to be a late night.

Poor Patrick was already so tired. Waiting for the show to start was torture for him. He was dozing off before the show even started.

He didn’t sleep very well on the plane and kept dozing off during the show, as well, which is too bad because it was amazing, yet again. He said that he probably caught about half of it and that the spinning guys made him feel a little nauseated. But I think he enjoyed himself.

I didn’t think the first Whirling Dervish did as good of a job as the guy we saw when my mom was here. But I suppose that’s forgivable since he was fasting all day and the show started only an hour or so after iftar. I guess we can’t expect him to be too energetic while twirling for 45 minutes straight after fasting all day in the heat.

The rest of the performers seemed as equally energetic as last time and I liked the group of three Dervishes at the end better this time around. I was not as good at taking pictures as Andrew was. And that was a lot of comparisons I just made. (I’m tired.)

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As good as the concert was, Patrick and I were both relieved when it was over. Patrick was about to fall over on his feet and I was pretty tired myself.

Before we could find a ride home, though, we had to find change. It only took us two stops to find a store with change and the guy offered to just give me change without having me purchase anything--I don’t think that’s ever happened to me before—I bought a bottle of water, anyway, because we were thirsty and hadn’t brought any water with us.

Catching a cab at the Khan is always relatively easy and we found one right away. I told him where we wanted to go in Arabic and he spoke Arabic to me the whole time. He didn’t even try to speak English, which was kind of nice. I even understood everything that he said, although I wasn’t always sure how to respond.

We got a little lost after getting off the autostrade, but once our taxi driver got us unlost by asking for directions at every corner and I recognized where we were again I was able to give him directions to our apartment.

I paid him and wished him a happy Ramadan and that was that.

As much as I hate going downtown by myself I always feel a sense of accomplishment when I survive. And I always do survive, somehow.

Poor Andrew worried the whole time we were gone. I think we sent more than a dozen text messages back and forth, with Andrew asking if we’re doing alright every step of the journey and me texting back as we complete each leg.

“We’re in the taxi.”

“Good! Was it hard to get one?”

“It was fine.”

“Call me if you need help giving directions.”

“Okay.”

That sort of thing. I like that he wants to take care of me even though he’s not with me. I also like knowing that I can get places by myself, but it’s just nice to know that if I got helplessly lost or scared Andrew’s there to help me out (which usually means I call him and have him talk to whoever I can’t communicate with).

Tomorrow we’re planning on taking things a little slower so that everything Patrick’s seen in the past few hours can catch up with him before we whisk him into Cairene traffic again. Traffic seems to be hard on visitors.

4 comments:

  1. Hope you guys have fun! I'm impressed you got a picture of Patrick's face and not just his feet. :)

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  2. First, I read your title, "welcome to Patrick" and for some reason, thought that your baby had come and your named her Patrick. Weird.

    I'll bet you feel a sense of accomplishment everytime you get out and take public transportation. I get scared just thinking of it.

    And I'm so proud that you could understand all the Arabic! Wow woman!

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  3. Wait a second...that's PATRICK???!!! I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that picture of him. I think the last time I saw him was three years ago or so. It's incredible how much kids change. Sheesh. You guys will have a fantastic time and I'm sure Rachel is grateful for another playmate. ;)

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  4. Andrew is so good to go. I'm glad he takes care of you because let's face it: Egypt is scary. :)

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