Saturday, January 09, 2010

AUC Campus (Jan. 3)

The truth is out.

Now when I suggest/plead/beg Andrew to stay at home to work/study/research and he says,

“I think I’ll just go onto campus even though the commute is a bear. It’s less distracting there. No offense.”

I know that what he really means is,

“You want me to keep holed up in this cave of an apartment when I could go to campus? Who are you kidding?!”

I always knew about the free air conditioning but I didn’t know that campus was akin to a palace. Sheesh. I’d choose campus over me, too, given the choice…which I’m not.

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Getting onto campus can be difficult for a non-AUCian. There are bus passes to obtain and visitor permits, but that requires going to various offices on the old and new campuses and filling out a bunch of paperwork and talking smoothly to those in charge. We chose to do it the easy way and ask for forgiveness instead of permission and schmoozed our way onto campus.

It’s gorgeous!

Andrew gave us a little tour.

This is his building, the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Aboulaziz Alsaud Hall, but no one calls it that. It’s the HUSS building (Humanities and Social Sciences). Many of the hallways are open air, even on the upper floors, which I think is cool, though in order to do that the layout of the building is a quite a maze. I was completely switched around and Andrew said that sometimes he still feels lost. Doors open into offices or stairwells, onto balconies or more hallways, and they all look the same. It’s quite confusing.

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The campus was built to look traditionally Middle Eastern using ablaq striping, mashrabiya-style windows, geometric patterns in floor tiles, both Moorish and Islamic-pointed arches, and many domes. Fountains, trees, and wind-tunnels help to keep the campus cool in the summer. The overall effect is stunning.

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There is no mosque on campus, as far as Andrew knows, but there are open areas on the roofs of the buildings for people to pray and there are some bridges on campus that student-muezzins use to call the adhan—without megaphones or crackling speakers.

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The campus is so nice that it is being used for on-location filming for a movie right now. Andrew says that sometimes the numbers on the classrooms are replaced with signs that say, “The Arab University.”

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We stopped by the library so that Andrew could get the fines for his overdue books reversed. He misread the date on the email reminders and thought his books were due on January 12th instead of on December 1st, so by the time January 3rd rolled around he had a month’s worth of overdue fines tacked onto his books.

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He had come over to me quite sullenly to break the news.

“So,” he said, “I, uh, have some overdue fines on some books.”

“Oh?” I said, waiting for him to volunteer more information.

“Yeah. Ummm…it’s like $27 per book.”

“Seriously?! How many books?”


“What?! That’s like a hundred dollars!” I gasped.

“Yeah. Sorry.”

Then he skulked away, avoiding the daggers I was sending with my glare, while I fumed.

A few minutes later he came back to me and said,

“So, good news! That’s in pounds, not dollars! I don’t know why they used a dollar sign on the notice…”

“So, like twenty dollars instead of one hundred? *sigh of relief* That’s much better, but still kinda stinks.”

I was much less angry at this news and he was bound and determined to get them to waive the fee, which made me even happier.

He went into the library while Grandpa, Miriam, and I hung out in the lobby (since visitors are strictly prohibited from entering the library. I don’t know why. Egypt just has this thing about restricting people from obtaining information or something…) returned his books, and got his fines reversed. My hero!

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We also went to pick up his stipend and tried to run an errand at the bank on campus but ran out of time since we wanted to catch the noon bus home.

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I’m still amazed at the campus. It’s absolutely gorgeous.

And yet Andrew always comes home to me and our smelly, run-down, falling-apart, covered-in-toys, full-of-whiny-children apartment.

That’s dedication.


  1. That was a beautiful campus. Is it a pretty culturally diverse school?

  2. How did you last that long without ever going to campus? I would've been suspicious a long long time ago.