Today’s been a lazy day. We all stayed up too late last night and my stomach’s upset today so we’re just killing time in the hostel until we catch our 10pm train tonight. I did venture out once to buy potato chips (the only thing I could think about eating without wanting to throw up), and then again later to buy an International Youth Travel Card, which will hopefully pay for itself through entry-fee discounts at some of the sites we visit.
The subway is incredibly cheap here (1EGP to go as far as you want, which is a whopping $0.17 per trip), but the ISIC center wasn’t on a metro line so I took a cab (23EGP for a 20 minute ride) to get there.
Amongst other things, the driver told me in broken English about how I should meet Egyptian women (very beautiful) because I don’t have a wife or kids, and that my lack of Arabic and their lack of English wouldn’t matter because all you really need to hit it off with someone is your eyes. (At this point he demonstrates making sexy eyes.)
I in turn told him that I was a Christian named Steven from Poland.
I should say that I’ve been telling every random person I’ve met that my name is Steven. I told the cabbie that I’m from Poland because he asked where I live and I’ve been told that it’s better, if possible, to avoid saying you’re from America if only to help limit attempts to rip you off. I chose Poland because Karol says he’s from Poland without issue but the time I tried to tell a guy I was from Japan he looked at me like I was crazy (he looked at me like I was even crazier when I started speaking Japanese).
I said I was Christian because he asked if I was “Christian or Islam” and I didn’t really think saying Jewish would be the best route to take while traveling in the Middle East. I figured I’d be safer with Christian than Islam.
And I was. At least until he asked me what kind of Christian I am and started listing denominations. I have no idea what the heck any of them actually meat, so I said “just Christian.” That somehow was enough to satisfy his curiosity about my beliefs. He then shared that he’s Orthodox and proceeded to show me a faded, hand-done cross tattoo on his wrist and start taking about churches in the city. This was also the point at which he gave me the “Christmas” (present) of a little card with Saint George stabbing a dragon on the front and a scrap of fabric and some scented herbs taped to the inside. He said that if I rub the card in the shape of a cross on my leg I’ll have a good tomorrow. So I did.
I’ll have to let you know how it goes.