Saturday, June 13, 2009

Some updates...

I am leaving for Kinshasa tonight and will arrive tomorrow morning. Can't wait. I don't know what the technology situation will be but I will blog from time to time. Insha'allah. I will spend June 20 to 26 in Kananga, which I was told is the largest city in the world (1 million people) without electricity and running water. Internet access will be more difficult there, but not impossible due to the incredible ingenuity of people with few material resources. Hook a cell phone signal up through a gas-powered generator or something along those lines...

I was hoping to blog about the past couple weeks in Cairo, but been have too consumed with trip preparations. My friend Stacy was visiting and we went to Alexandria for a weekend (where I saw Lumumba Street). The new library is impressive. The Mediterranean beach culture is a lot of fun in June, even though the circus does not open until July. In the museums and elsewhere, there are celebrations Alexandria's cosmopolitan past, which, on its face, is very attractive. There is a disturbing side to it, in my opinion, which is the romanticization Egypt's colonial past. (Just a though for now: there is a lot more to say on this subject.)

I also went to a Sufi dance concert here in Islamic Cairo, which was fantastic. It was held at the gorgeous Wikala al-Ghouri. Here are some pictures.

I have been asking Stacy to guest-blog about his trip. I don't want to give too much away but it could be a screenplay for a film starring Ben Stiller.

As for the swine flu outbreak, the campus is scheduled to reopen tomorrow, which is too late for me. I am still upset that I won't be able to bring books to my colleagues as planned--this is very disappointing. But the flu outbreak seems to be controlled. The dorm quarantine will be lifted on Monday. The initial patients diagnosed with the illness have been released. Il'hamdu'lillah.

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