back in Cairoback in Cairo Everyone has been asking me if things feel or look any different here in Cairo after the revolution.  When I left, there were tanks in my neighborhood, a curfew, lots of gunfire, there was no internet, and Mubarak was still president.  Now, Mubarak is gone, the police are back on the streets, the tanks have rolled out,...

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from ancient to medieval in Cairofrom ancient to medieval in Cairo On Tuesday we started our day with a cab ride to Tahrir to see the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities. We spent a few hours enjoying the Tutahnkamun exhibit, Akhenaten collection, and other ancient art and artifacts of Egypt. We then took a taxi to the Citadel. The views of the city were stunning. We...

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weddles in luxorweddles in luxor This past week has been a whirlwind!  After seeing some sights around Cairo with Ryan, my parents arrived and we left for Luxor.  We arrived in Luxor around midday and decided to check out Luxor Temple in the afternoon sunlight.  It was incredible.  The city of Luxor creeps right up to the edges of these ancient sites,...

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Mount SinaiMount Sinai Last weekend we went on a faculty trip to Mount Sinai.  After a 9 hour bus ride through barren, empty, desert, along the eastern coast of Egypt and across the Sinai Peninsula, we made it to Dahab where the best thing about our hotel was the coral reef meters from our room.  Another 2 hour bus ride through a forbidding...

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Unfinished ObeliskUnfinished Obelisk Once we got to Aswan and after a crazy taxi experience that entailed some serious driver rivalry, keys stolen from the ignition, a chase involving a tire iron, and a group of tourists, ahem, us, quietly unloading our luggage and finding another cab... (yeah, I know, OH EGYPT!) Anyhow once we got to Aswan, we decided...

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back in Cairo


Category : Art, Current Favorites, My Life in Cairo, Revolution, Sightseeing in Cairo, Tahrir

Everyone has been asking me if things feel or look any different here in Cairo after the revolution.  When I left, there were tanks in my neighborhood, a curfew, lots of gunfire, there was no internet, and Mubarak was still president.  Now, Mubarak is gone, the police are back on the streets, the tanks have rolled out, and everywhere you look you will find evidence of national pride.  Egyptian flags hang from windows of villas and taxicab rearview mirrors. Tree trunks and lightposts along many streets are painted with the red, black, and white stripes of the Egyptian flag, and the graffiti has changed too.  A wall once scrawled with band names, soccer rivalries, and so-and-so + so-and-so, has been painted over with Egyptian flags, hearts, and statements like “We are Egyptian.”

But more importantly, everyone has a story to tell.  I have really enjoyed hearing the varied experiences from different people I have met.  Whether they were in Tahrir daily during the revolution, or at home in Maadi protecting their neighborhoods, or whether they returned to Cairo in time to celebrate Mubarak’s resignation in Tahrir, the stories I have heard have been amazing.

Earlier this week we went to dinner at Tabouleh, a really great restaurant located near the US embassy in Garden City.  After dinner we decided to walk around, and passed through Tahrir.  I’ve been to Tahrir many times in the past, but it seemed much busier than I recalled.  It seemed like there were a lot more families and groups of people sitting in the center of the midan, enjoying the beautiful Cairo evening while traffic noisily passed around the circle.  I also noticed several Egyptians stopping and taking photos posing in front of the square.  It was amazing to think that this was the iconic location of the revolution.  To think of the events that actually took place where we stood, the struggle for freedom, the violence, the sacrifice and loss of life, and the organization and hope that lead to the resignation of Mubarak — I couldn’t help but stop to appreciate for a moment what a significant place this has become.

To pass under the busy streets, we took the underground Metro tunnels.  When we first entered, the walls were lined with photos of Tahrir during the revolution. On other walls there were posters recognizing the revolution’s martyrs and artwork that captured the energy and hope of the crowds that filled the square.

As we walked around downtown, I also noticed a lot of graffiti.  I don’t recall there being very much graffiti in Cairo prior to the revolution, and certainly hadn’t seen anything so bold.  This reminded me how grateful I am for free speech.  It’s hard to imagine living somewhere where you cannot openly speak your mind, and it is pretty incredible to imagine the freedom whoever wrote this must have felt as they scrawled their hopes on the wall of Al Horreya, a local bar in downtown Cairo whose name, Al Horreya, means Freedom in Arabic.

There were also lots of stenciled machine guns on walls and kiosks on the streets surrounding Tahrir.  Most of them had Xs spraypainted over them.  This one however was a little odd…

It was all pretty fascinating.  I was glad to have a chance to see it, to take a minute and think about what actually took place here, and to hope for horreya for all.

A hundred miles is a long drive inside a car.

Category : Art, My Life in Cairo

One day last fall, after riding in a particularly eccentric taxi in Cairo, I decided to start snapping cell phone pictures of every taxi I take, whether it’s decor is interesting (i.e. plastic-wrapped seats, plush furry seat covers, minnie-mouse head-rests) or not (just the standard Christmas tree shaped air-freshener and box of Flora brand tissues on the dash).  Anyhow, I have finally reached my 50th picture, and thus, surprisingly, my 50th taxi ride since the unknown beginning of this project.

One day I’ll make a complete montage, and who knows, maybe I’ll compile all the stats to see if there is a significant positive correlation between the amount of flotsam dangling from the rear-view mirror and jauntiness of the photo (generally a pretty safe indicator of a crazy ride).  Who knows.  But for now, here’s a quick sample…

Happy Birthday, Mimi!


Category : Art, Family

Today is Mimi’s Birthday!  As one of my few regular blog-readers, I hope she is happy to know we are wishing her a very happy birthday from 6,732 miles away!  (Hooray for the internet!)

Mimi is really the best Mimi anyone could ask for!  I have a million memories of wonderful summers spent at Mimi’s house, eating popsicles outside and watching birds splashing in the birdbath, swinging on the swingset, or sitting with Mimi while she read to us about “Thunder-cake” when we would get scared of a thunderstorm looming on the horizon.  I also have countless memories of sleepovers at Mimi’s, fighting over the fuzzy bear slippers, playing games, and best of all, that wonderful time right before bed where we would all say, “Mimi, tell us a story…” And what made Mimi’s stories so exciting and special was that they were her stories, real stories from the past.  We loved hearing about life on the farm, about riding into town to sell eggs, and making biscuits early in the mornings before the sun came up.  And we also loved hearing stories about our mom when she was a little girl, and even funny stories about things we had said or done when we were little kids.  Oh how we loved to hear Mimi’s stories!

I’m already looking forward to seeing Mimi this summer!  We always have a ball together!  Thanks for being such a wonderful grandmother!  Happy Birthday!

I love you!


Wissa Wassef Art Center


Category : Art, My Life in Cairo, Sightseeing in Cairo, Travel & Sightseeing

I have long admired a beautiful woven tapestry hanging in the faculty lounge at AUC, so when the opportunity arose to visit the art center where it was made, I was thrilled!  The Ramses Wissa Wassef Art Center is a remarkable establishment.  It was founded in 1952 by Ramses Wissa Wassef and is renown for wool and cotton weavings, batik, and stoneware pottery.  There are two generations of weavers at the center, most of whom are women.  The first generation of weavers began working at the art center as children in the 1950s, and the second group began in the 1970s.  These remarkably talented weavers continue to weave elaborate, original scenes and designs.  The center seems very committed to fostering creativity and therefore the works produced by the many artists are unique and never repeated.   Check out the Wissa Wassef website for more information.

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Just Fine


Category : Art, Oh, Egypt

just fine

This is a letterpress print Meredith did.  I like to think my home is a little MERrier with all of the prints I have been lucky enough to receive over the last couple of years.  She’s a great artist and I love her aesthetic.

This one is hanging above the desk in the living room and always offers a welcome reminder to look on the sunny side of things.