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My Trip to Alexandria

 

Trip Alone to Alexandria

 

December 1-2. We were given the rest of this week off because the Egyptian government again decided that swine flu was a threat, so all universities and primary/secondary schools in the country were closed. I decided on a whim to travel to Alexandria. I packed up a day of clothes, booked a room in the Paradise Inn Metrople on Saad Zagloul Square (next to the Sofitel where we stayed on the Fulbright trip), and left the apartment at 7am Tues, Dec. 1. I got to the Ramses Train station, and found my way around to buy a ticket just minutes before the train left. It was a very comfortable ride, and took about 2.5 hours to get to Alex. I got there and ended up walking in the exact opposite direction of where I should have gone—in the direction of the Cornish. But, I eventually asked enough people how to get there, that I finally found it. I was way east of where I thought I might be: Saad Zagloul square and the Biblioteca. But, I walked for a ways and crossed a beautiful bridge on the Cornish and found the coffee shop Zanilli’s. I camped out there for several hours, having lunch (Fettuccini Alfredo) and coffee and tea. I wrote in my Journal and Timeline, making up for most of the last 3 years that I hadn’t written much of anything. I felt good to catch up. As I left the coffee shop, I noticed that it was right under a hotel, the Dovil Hotel. I went in and asked if they had a room, and it was 1/5 the price of the Metrople. So, I got a room, and canceled my other reservation. This turned out to be the worst hotel I’ve ever stayed at. Only one of the four light fixtures worked; the hot water heater leaked all over the bathroom floor; the shower had no curtain, so the water just ran into the floor drain; the TV worked, but you had to press 2 buttons to change the channel. Luckily there were no bed bugs, so I did sleep ok that night.

 

I took a walk along the Cornish at sunset, took some great pictures (see below) and then took a cab to Saad Zagloul square and ate at the French café. It wasn’t that great—they had no French fries, no salad, and the service was terrible. However, it did look out onto the Cornish, and I got some reading done. I walked back to the hotel, past the Library (the guard didn’t let me go up onto the Library square), and stopped at a huge coffee house near the hotel and had some tea. I ended the night watching an episode of Law and Order: SVU and Grey’s Anatomy on the TV.

 

The next morning, I had breakfast on the 7th floor of the hotel. I was the only one there, and breakfast consisted of a hard boiled egg, some bread and jam, and bad coffee. I went back to my room to read and finish in my journal. Because the room door would not shut properly, you had to lock it to keep the door closed. When I finished up and was going to leave to go back to the train station, the lock in the door wouldn’t work! I was locked in my room. Of course, there was no room phone to use, so luckily I had picked up a card from the front desk and called them on my mobile. I said I was locked in my room. They came up quickly and messed with the lock for a while, but couldn’t open it. I luckily moved away from the door, because eventually they just rammed the door open and the wood framing went flying everywhere. Like I said, this certainly qualifies for the WORST hotel I ever stayed at. I took a cab to the train station, and jumped on the train to Cairo, paying (again) for the ticket home to the conductor.

 

When I got back to Cairo, I went to the AUC Tahrir campus to have my Arabic lesson with Amani.

On a whim, I decided to take a trip to Alexandria by train since the Egyptian government again decided to suspend all university classes an extra week after the Eid al-Adha.

 

Ramses Train Station in heart of Cairo (at Mubarak Metro line)

Ramses Train Station in heart of Cairo (at Mubarak Metro line)

 

 

Inside a first-class cabin on the Train to Alex

Inside a first-class cabin on the Train to Alex

 

 

Bridge on Mediterranean Sea, Alexandrian Cornishe

Bridge on Mediterranean Sea, Alexandrian Cornishe

 

Mediterranean near sunset

Mediterranean near sunset

 

 

My coffeeshop and nasty hotel in Alex

My coffeeshop and nasty hotel in Alex

 

 

Sunset on the Mediterranean

Sunset on the Mediterranean

 

 

Sunset in Alex

Sunset in Alex

 

My crappy hotel room

My crappy hotel room

 

 

My crappy hotel room in Alex

My crappy hotel room in Alex

 

 

View of Cornish from my hotel window

View of Cornish from my hotel window

 

 

Public Art along the Cornish in Alex

Public Art along the Cornish in Alex

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