Sunday, September 13, 2009

I don't care for swimming or beaches in particular, but I wanted to go to Alexandria in order to see the Mediterranean sea again. I can't even remember how long ago it was when I saw it in Greece, but it obviously stuck with me. I'm on the claustrophobic balcony of our 5th floor room in a 3-star hotel. I'm terrified of using the bathroom. But up here I can see a tiny sliver of the beach and the sea. There is a lone fishing boat that wandered away from the port nearby, and from the limited viewpoint from here it looks like we're on the edge of the world and everything else lying between me and the infinity beyond is just cerulean water. What was here, what was under those waters, what may still be under those waters, I don't know about. But I really wish that I did. 

I had absolutely no luck getting into the linguistic anthropology class, but I did manage to enroll in the Egyptology class on Egyptian history during the Graeco-Roman era. So all my classes, school field trips, and weekend getaways all seem to be revolving around each other. 

The sight of old Arab men fishing on the docks is slightly comforting in a way. Surrounding them are veiled mothers watching their frolicking children, some of them sheepishly wading in after them - veil and all - to cool off from the day. The sea looks so inviting - I keep catching myself thinking how appealing it would be to rent a boat and just sail out to nowhere. There are tentative plans to open an underwater museum (which in arabic is, mathaf taht al-bahr, and I think is really fun to say) in Alexandria and I really hope it happens in my lifetime at some point. We were introduced to the city first by visiting the site of the library of Alexandria - the largest and most famous library of the ancient world. Unfortunately, it was just the modern commemoration to it, since the original - which is said to have at one time held over 500,000 scrolls about all kinds of things and served as an academic place of learning for people like Euclid and other famous dudes of that nature - was burnt down and destroyed after several sieges. We then went to the Citadel of Qaitbay, a 15th-century fortress. I feel like all the citadels I've seen are just dry repeats built along the years, but Qaitbay seemed different. I could appreciate its architecture, simple though it is, and at the very top there are two giant windows overlooking the sea port, the rest of the city, and the far horizon. Looking miniscule while I sat several feet above the ground against the base of the stone window, I could hear murmurs from the docks and see the sun sparkling off the turquoise waves. 

There's a huge fish market here, so after our sight-seeing we were served a delicious whole fish (head and all) and Turkish coffee. I'm pretty sure I've gained fifty pounds in the past few weeks just from stuffing my face with manoushi, kofta, and rice pudding. And I have yet to get sick, even after eating the most delicious lamb I have ever tasted from a shady back-alley restaurant downtown.  

1 comment:

  1. Did I mention I was jealous yet? I hadn't heard anything about an underwater museum! That would be amazing! Back when I was going to be an underwater archaeologist, I wanted to work off of Alexandria. That was my dream. Still is, even if I am going down a different path. And an Egyptology class! You are living the life I wish I could Mish. It all sounds so amazing. I'm glad you are enjoying it (and that you haven't gotten sick)! I miss you so much.