Posts Tagged With: Cairo

Apologies Again, Promises And Some Personal News…

By Kiki Keane

I want to apologize for not writing for almost two months! Egypt has made me more lazy and sleepy than I was back home. Who knew that could be possible? Actually, Rachel and I are going to start blogging on a more steady basis again. We both have had some major changes in our lives and it looks like our futures are going to hold even more exciting changes! We probably won’t have any more joint blogs since she’s back in the US and I am in Cairo. Maybe we will still have our weekly goals post, though.

This will not be a long blog, because I have some professional obligations I need to take care of. I just want to let you all know that I am alive and that this blog will keep going.

Just an FYI before I leave you for now:

You may have noticed that I wrote that I am still in Cairo at the end of the first paragraph. I will be here for awhile for a number of reasons. First, I decided that it is more cost-effective to have a base and Cairo is pretty cheap and less distracting than Hurghada (beaches!). Second, it turns out that flight and hotel/hostel prices are more expensive this time of year, so staying put for a bit seems the cheapest thing to do. Third, I need to learn the language and so I will be taking one of the many intensive month-long Arabic courses offered here. Fourth, I need some extra cash, so I will be trying to make some by tutoring in English. An added benefit to all this is that my boyfriend lives here.

 

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Categories: Adventure, Life, Uncategorized, Work | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Finally Done With The Packing! Now On To The Panic Attack!

By Kiki Keane

Holy Moly! Rachel and I leave for Cairo in about 30 hours! I am finally packed. Everything. My whole life now fits in a large duffle bag, a much smaller bag, a backpack and a purse. Actually, it is probably entirely to much, but I figure I can dump as I go. Or, if I am really, really, really, really, really lucky, I will soon have an actual paying job and will be able to afford a small apartment or room in which I will be able to store all this stuff. (And accumulate more, of course!)

Anyway, with all the packing and unpacking I’ve been doing, as well as worrying myself to distraction, I haven’t really done much else. I’ve only paid a little attention to the news (how about that 48 minute speech by Bill Clinton?!) and bought a few Kindle books. Here are the few news stories/analysis I’ve noticed in the last week:**

Syria/Arab Spring: Analysis by Richard Engel

Afghanistan: A Suicide bomber kills six at NATO HQ in Kabul. This story includes a video about Prince Harry’s new deployment to the country.

Russia: This is just giggle worthy! Putin is all dressed up to lead some rare birds in flight.

Lebanon: The new smoking ban in enclosed public places has many Lebanese upset.

Mali: Islamists Rebels Seize Control of Douentza

China: Here are a few photos of a an HIV-postive boy in China and his teacher. He was denied admittance into the local school because of the disease.

And some “fun” stuff:

What does your bookshelf say about you? — From the Guardian

Mexico City’s Aztec Past Reaches Out to Present — From the New York Times

What is the point of exclamation? (Yes, I am well aware that I abuse the exclamation point!!!!!! I like it, okay?) — From the New York Times

Oh! This made me cringe. Huffington Post published this bit about the books that make you look hot. I would rank most of these titles at the very bottom of the “Makes You Look Hot List.” Actually, I would put them on “Not Even If I Were Desperate” list or the “Not Even If You Were George Clooney And Naked In My Bed” list. I might make an exception if it’s the Chandler, Hemingway or Murakami…maybe.

**Most of the news stories come from NBC.

Categories: Adventure, Books, Journalism, Life, Media, Procrastination, Punctuation, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Perils Of Packing, Or Having To Admit To Myself That I Once Listened To The Backstreet Boys And I Want That Way…

By Kiki Keane

Wow! Nearly two weeks since we lasted posted anything. I will admit that, per usual, part of the reason is laziness and/or avoidance. However, I can also say, with much relief, that mostly the absence is due to trip related business. I wish that I could spend the time to write at length and post some links, but I am stretched thin.

I am amazed at how much time it takes to pack 28 years of a person’s life into a large duffle bag, a small briefcase-sized bag and a backpack. I am still not done. I have packed and repacked a dozen times at least. Adjusting, refolding, taking out and putting in. Should I assume that certain necessities are available wherever it is I end up? Are they really even necessities? How can I live without cocoanut Jelly Bellies and Reese’s peanut butter cups? Then there is the question of books. How many do I take? Which one’s should I take? Should I bring my favorites or take a chance on new ones? Uplifting or depressing? Fiction, nonfiction or poetry? Classics or contemporary? Tennyson, Keats or Naruda? Homer, Dickens or Gaiman? And why doesn’t Las Cruces have a copy of Zorba the Greek?

I have to admit that I am excited to embark on this new and adventurous life, but I am also scared shitless. I am not afraid of the physical risks I will be taking once the Egypt leg of the trip is over. I am not worried about where I’ll sleep or if I will have enough to eat. I am a bit freaked about the great potential for complete and total failure. However, today I learned that you will receive what you need when you need it. I received two things today: 1) A gift of great value both literally and symbolically and 2) a bit of wisdom or, if it is not exactly wise than at least something I can cling to when I feel like jumping of cliff when this adventure turns out to be a disaster. It is from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and it goes like this: “But the person who risks nothing does nothing, has nothing. All we know about the future is that it will be different. But perhaps what we fear is that it will be the same, so we must celebrate the changes because as someone once said, “Everything will be alright in the end and if it’s not alright, than trust me, it’s not yet the end.”

We have about a week until we leave for Cairo. Hopefully one or both of us will be able to at least do some short posts before we go.

Categories: Adventure, Books, Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

All Day Road Trip, Eternal Soapbox

By: Rachel Womek

Good News! Kiki and I have started our vaccination process! We will both need to get a few more shots in a month or two but it is nice to know that things are underway. My right arm is very sore and I’m feeling a little lethergic but otherwise O.K. While I’m not really a fan of vaccinations (and by that I mean the vaccine itself, Kiki is the one who doesn’t like needles)  Typhoid Fever doesn’t sound very fun. It was also worth the eight hours of travel to the ABQ and back if it means us getting one step closer to Cairo.

My head’s a bit groggy but I’ll attempt to write something comprehensive.

Today I am going to talk about briefly human sexuality, gender identity, and cultural perspectives on these topics. Today, in industrial western society, people are struggling to comprehend and categorize human sexuality, gender identities and gender roles. The answer is: There is no easy answer. These things are as diverse as individuals are, I would venture to say that each person has their own personal brand of sexuality and that no two are identical. In the words of Spock: “Infinite diversity, in infinite combinations”. There tend to be different categories that sexuality can fall into which can be helpful, to an extent, but of course these categories are very generalized . In Red blood, Red state, Red meat America only two forms of sexuality are recognized as acceptable: hetrosexual females who identify as females and hetrosexual males who identify as males. The rest of us recognize more although the number of varieties we recognize vary widely.

The practice of only recognizing heterosexual males and females only is actually rather new.  Many cultures today and historically have recognized different sexuality and different behaviors. Many cultures historically, and some today, recognize multiple genders, 3-5 rather than the two recognized in our western industrial society. Now gender identity and sexuality are not the same thing, although they can be interconnected, so it is important to also note that in different cultures a wide variety of sexual behaviors are accepted and practiced…what’s socially acceptable may vary.

Some places  that recognize 3 or more genders are: India, Pakistan, Thailand and Nepal. Many indigenous groups the world over also recognize  multiple genders. Historically Mayans, Egyptians, and Isrealis have also recognized gender diversity. In ancient Israel 6 genders were recognized!

Varied sexuality has also been recognized. In ancient Greece it was believed that originally there had been three sexes, each person was comprised of two individuals: either two males, two females, or one of each. Zeus grew angry because they were too prideful and punished them by splitting them in two. The two halves of one whole were forced to spend their lives searching for each other. This myth was the basic foundation of  belief regarding human sexuality.

One myth surrounding American culture is that America is built on the premise that “all ‘men’ are endowed…with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…”.  Unfortunately this myth apparently doesn’t apply to those who don’t fit into the boxes conveniently provided by conservative society.

Off the soapbox (for now).

By the way the views expressed in this blog are not journalistic in nature and should not be interpreted as such. They represent my personal opinion.

Categories: Adventure, Free Speech, GLBT, Life, Social Equity | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Facing Up To Our Inadequacies, Nerding Out and Looking To The Future, Or Why We Will Be Looking Out On The Nile Come September…

By Kiki Keane and Rachel Womek

Exciting news!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We just booked our rooms at a hostel in Cairo! So at least we have a place to stay for our first 10 days. Still have to see about an apartment. Wow! This is getting really real. A bit anxiety inducing, actually. And yet so so so exciting, fantastic and (dare I use the most annoying word ever?) awesome!

We are going to do our goals today because we may not be able to tomorrow. So here we go…

Kiki:

Sadly, I have gone back to my old ways. The only goal I accomplished this week was number 2: watch a movie. Actually, true to form, I watched several movies. I sat through Mrs. Winterbourne (saw it when it first came out in 1996 during my Brendan Fraser phase). I also rectified one of my great failures as an 80s child, which is to say I finally saw St. Elmo’s Fire. And here’s a fun SEF fact: Andrew McCarthy isn’t just love obsessed Kevin he is also a very decent travel writer. Other movies watched this week because apparently I have no life: SerenityStealth, South Pacific and The Birds.

Oh. I studied a little Arabic. I can recite the alphabet and the words “pretty” “coffee” and “hotel.”

New Goals:

1) Read a novel and a book relevant to my trip 2) Call the visa people 3) Watch a movie 4) Not Panic 5) Finish 1984 

Rachel:

I didn’t do too hot on my goals this week. Shockingly I have not read a single book this past week! Very uncharacteristic for me! Instead I watched season 4 of Enterprise (Worst season finale ever! Very unsatisfactory and I am unhappy with the outcome for one of my favorite characters) and played Skyrim. I also watched two really crappy SciFi (I refuse to spell it with Y’s) original movies: Dinocroc VS Supergator and Malibu Shark Attack. They were supposed to be B Horror but it was more like D Horror! I applied for two positions so 50% accomplishment there. Finally I have not posted new photos but I have some I need to upload so expect that for the future.

New Goals:

1) Read a book 2) Watch a movie 3) Upload photos for the blog 4) Blog about GLBTQ issues as per the request of a follower

Joint Goals:

1) Study Arabic 2) Get Vaccinated

Categories: Adventure, Books, Goals, Job Hunting, Life, Nerd, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Egypt’s Presidential Election Matters And Other Important News, Or Why I’ve Become An Obsessive…

By Kiki Keane 

History is being made as I write. Egyptians have spent the last two days voting in their first free presidential elections. Ever. Why is this important? Well…the elections have the potential to change Egypt and the Middle East and have huge implications for the U.S. and Israel. Here is an analysis by Richard Engel of who is running and why the elections matter to us. I wish I were there to witness this historical event, but I will have to content myself with obsessive news gathering…

Here are some reports about the elections from CNN, MSNBC and Al Jazeera.

Al Jazeera — latest news and has lots of links to other stories about the elections

CNN –has some interesting videos toward the bottom

MSNBC — Most of these are by Richard Engel: Egypt at a crossroads , Voters head to the pulls, Election makes history, Richard Engel’s interview with Carter, Politics is a new family affair

In other news: 

Iran nuclear talks

Vegas grocer accused of war crimes sent to Bosnia

Syria violence spreads to Lebanon

Inside Syria

Drone strike hits Mosque, kills 10 in Pakistan 

Categories: Adventure, Elections, Journalism, Life, Media, Nerd, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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