Bit of an ad-hoc post, but I've been in Cairo for about 24 hours and have learned a few things along the way:
I love Turkey more than maybe I thought. I literally got giddy on our descent over the Marmara, even though I had I was only stopping for a brief layover on this leg of the trip. A professor from one of the Istanbul universities I made friends with on the flight said perhaps I'll get to "come home for good" someday. My Turkish came back faster than I thought. And, as usual, everybody thinks I'm Turkish, even the Egyptians.
As for Cairo...
Egyptians may be to Arabic as Cubans are to Spanish.
If you had to describe the city in a single word: brown.
I am beginning to think Egyptians invented the energy drink because they never seem to quit. Even on our little back alley, the action kept going until 2am. And I know this because that's when I was having "dinner".
Cairo has the best pedestrian crossing signs ever - a little green LED man running for his life.
Attending an all-day workshop in a language other than your own is not a great choice when jet lagged, but being the only ajnabia at the table is always fun.
Spending half a day with a local patient trying to navigate services in a public hospital in the developing world is fascinating (as long as the patient is not you). Excellent lesson in the need for self-advocacy.
Walk with purpose when crossing the street and do not flinch. Drivers can smell fear. Make eye contact and they almost always let you pass.
I cannot tell you where I am staying in Cairo other than that it's in or near Mohandessine. Maybe. We rode long enough in the taxi from the airport that I was beginning to think she lived in Alex. I know I'm west of the Nile because I remember crossing that...
Anyway, if I don't sleep I may drop.
More when I have it. Conference starts day after tomorrow.