Monday, July 16: Another day of classes at Al Azhar. It’s the usual: a sweltering day in the shabby classrooms suffering through Arabic and Tajweed classes. During the day, I hear from Mohsen for the first time in 10 days, and he asks if I’d like to get together this evening. I agree to meet him and we set a time for early evening.
When I get back to Muquttum this afternoon, I find an email from R.
C, Great to hear from you, and your adventures. Not so exciting as compared to my mowing, hedging, cleaning, but what can you do? But I did get the workout and bike ride in (no one answered). Now I’m paying the price as I’ve been pleasantly sore since Sunday. [Pleasant because of my ‘no pain, no gain’ sort of mentality]
Rested in part by watching the new Harry Potter movie. If you’re a fan, you’ll really like this. Quite good and fabulous special effects. Drifted off last night watching a discovery channel piece on the step pyramid, Saqqara and Imotep. Made me melancholy. As usual, I got a fitful few hours and then back to the grind.
But a good day today. Much doings and a neat guest speaker. Drinking afterwards and probably a night at the office (easier than driving home).
Regrettably, there is no more to report. Such is the life of we vicarious-livers. So, please, keep me up on doings. And stay safe and well.
By the way, I don’t mean to be too forward, but I was wondering if you would mind greatly if I might try to help make arrangements for your return to Washington? If you could give me your ETA into the states, perhaps I could assist in logistics to facilitate the re-entry. I surely don’t want to impose and could keep any arrangements flexible based on your own pre-existing plans and, of course, on your state of mind at that point in your adventure. But I did want to offer up any assistance I might be able to provide.
Yours most sincerely,
I write back to R:
Uh-oh. Methinks you may be sounding a little formal and stand-offish. Maybe I’m giving a few too many details. I should stop.
Finally heard from Mohsen and will get together with him tonight. Maybe I’ll be able to tell you an expanded story when it’s all said and done.
Sounds like you had a good weekend. and no, I’m not a big Harry Potter fan. I’m generally not fond of fantasy, preferring real life stories instead.
I’m sending this now…
I take a taxi to Ma’adi, where I meet Mohsen in his office. Since I haven’t seen or heard from him in 10 days, I look forward to seeing him again. However, when I arrive at his office, he tells me he only has a little time tonight as he needs to be somewhere for another meeting. Of course, I am irritated by this as I wonder why on earth he has made arrangements with me if he has other plans.
He asks if I’d like to go back to his holiday home for a couple of drinks and a light meal poolside. I agree and we go to his home and sit and talk and drink a glass of wine or two. It’s a lovely time as Mohsen is great company and we laugh a lot together. He’s got a great sense of humor.
While I’m at Mohsen’s, I get a text from Basim asking if I’d like to meet him at the Grand Cafe on the Nile in Ma’adi. I know that Mohsen has other plans for later, so I agree to meet him at 9:00. I tell Mohsen that I need to be back in Ma’adi by 9:00. After we talk a while longer, have lots of laughs and swim for a bit in the pool, I tell him I need to go. We have about a half an hour and I think that is plenty of time to get to Ma’adi.
As Mohsen is driving me to Ma’adi, I keep looking at my watch and wondering why he is driving so slowly. I say, “Can you please go faster; you’re so slow! You’re driving like an old man!” I’m irritated at him for barely squeezing me into his busy schedule and by this time I don’t care what I say to him. The traffic is horrible and at one point, when he gets off on a ramp, there is a donkey pulling a cart in front of us. I yell, “Go around him! You’re going so slow!!” As he pulls out to go around him, we almost run into a big truck. I’m shaking from the near accident and the stress of driving in Cairo, especially with Mohsen at the wheel and myself as the back-seat driver!
By the time we finally arrive in Ma’adi, I’m nearly an hour late. Surprisingly, Basim is still waiting for me, but I can tell he’s quite irritated. After a few awkward minutes, we actually leave the Grand Cafe and drive directly to the Muquttum Corniche where we sit at an outdoor restaurant called The Virginian. I find it serendipitous that the place is called The Virginian, since I’m a Virginian. Here, we drink some fruit juice and watch Arabic singers performing on a huge screen. There’s a slightly cool breeze atop Muquttum Mountain and it ends up being truly a lovely evening. However, there are still no opportunities for kissing. This is becoming increasingly frustrating. 🙂
When I arrive back in Muquttum, I find this email from R in response to my email above, sent earlier this evening:
Methinks you doth think too much. Stand-offish? Me? Hardly. I
still love the details and love hearing about your exploits. Just not
much here to report. I’ll call tomorrow. Be well,