It's the second full day in Cairo. So far I've: Made friends with the apartment brokers, one of whom calls me his "sweet little sister," Smoked sheesha, smoked way too many cigarettes, Met a handful of Egyptians (all men though, too bad for now) and one Russian, Been to the tourist market and the Egyptians market at night (it's Ramadan!), seen the Nile, been to two five star hotels, signed away all the money I needed to for security deposit/finders fee, eaten a traditional break fast, and witnessed successful haggling (though haven't participated yet).

I'm listing all of that mostly to impress readers. Well, actually, while that would be cool and all, it's also because it feels like I haven't gotten much done. I've been sitting around the brokers office most of the time, as we don't have internet at the apartment yet, and wandering around the city with either of the brokers.

I have witnessed a business disagreement, or shouting match, and have got some views into the human rights situation here. As I knew already, the government is open but also oppressive, strange huh? Open in the sense that people have basic freedoms, freedom of movement, right to work, etc. But then there are those sticky ones, freedom of the press (one of my contacts worked briefly at a newspaper but quit because he couldn't speak his mind), freedom of speech, rights of women.

Rights of women. Well there's the whole Hijab thing. Not that I think that that necessarily oppresses women. It serves two roles I've discovered in my walks, keeps your hair from looking like a sweaty mess and keeps all the bits and pieces of the city from finding a home on your head. And there's the cultural value as well. The Hijab though, doesn't oppress women. It's the attitudes that are oppressive. Men leer, grab, etc. Women don't make eye contact with men. I'm bad at that but have become more comfortable searching out the scarf covered faces and making eye contact with them. At least then I know that I'm not invisible, right? It reminds me of the Liberian concept of separate cultures for men and women. They live in almost completely different worlds. The brokers have welcomed me into theirs probably because I smile a lot and because I didn't really have a choice since the apartment has been under construction. I look forward to making some female Egyptian friends, most likely at AUC.

I haven't taken any pictures yet. I know, I'll get on it! But because I know blog posts without pictures are really boring, I found one online.