It is 9:30 am now, and I am sitting on my hostel floor, sipping some coffee, after enjoying the simple free breakfast of bread and cheese and jam, listening to Egyptian pop music on the radio, with my hostel mates. I think there are about 4 people total at the hostel, which is really nice as we have all instantly befriended one another. There is a lovely Aussie girl named Maria, an Irish lad who just checked out today to head to Jerusalem, and a really cool older lady who has lived virtually everywhere, and is now in exile here for some political involvment in Gaza that I dont know much about and didn't want to press her for information on! Suffice to say, I wont share her name. ;)
Cairo is intense and chaotic and amazing. It's simultaneously exactly like how you imagine it, and then nothing like it whatsoever. It exceeds expectations I guess you could say. Last night I had the amazing time of hanging out with a bunch of people from Cairo- really cool young people, who all spoke perfect English, (how easy for me!), and we smoked sheesha and drank Nescafe (as a cappucino is called here), and chatted and laughed our asses off until curfew time at 2:00 am. It was the perfect night, at this little hidden place in some dark alley, dozens of tables and chairs cluttered in the corner, a sort of 'open air' cafe, where tons and tons of Cairenes were lazily chatting, enjoying their Friday night. I would say it was about 95% men, but no one seemed to care I was there. It was great to talk Music and Religion and Art and everything else important with my new hip friends and it was really interesting...who would have thought I would have almost the exact same taste in music as a young dude from Cairo? (Crystal Castles, Depeche Mode, etc)? Too much fun.
Today I'm meeting another couchsurfer friend for lunch, then heading back down to Islamic Cairo with Maria (where I already visited yesterday as part of a rushed "tour" that the hostel provided - im not a fan of such tours but ill save that rant for another time maybe), to shop till I drop for scarves and jewelery and spices at the Khan Khalilli Bazaar.
I love this city despite the pollution and traffic and smog; I love the chaos and busy dirty streets, I love the cheap Cleopatra brand cigarettes and sidewalk shwarma, I love the energy and...madness of it all.