Saturday, September 19, 2009

Ramadan Kareem

It's been an interesting few weeks in Egypt for many reasons and a big one is that it's Ramadan. Since the country is 80 to 90% Muslim, depending on your politics, Islam is a huge part of everyone's daily life in Egypt regardless of your own religious beliefs. During Ramadan, that's even more true. First off, Muslims are supposed to fast from sunrise til sunset, abstaining from all food and drink. So no one is seen even chewing gum on the streets (except for the few times where I forgot and felt very self-conscious). On the TV, many shows are specially produced for the month of Ramadan and every other commercial is a season's greetings message from the channel wishing you a Ramadan Kareem. Around 4 or 5 PM, you'll start to see lots of tables being set up on the streets. Once the fast can be broken, the poor and homeless are fed for free. And at 2 AM on the dot, the musaharati (or...the waker-upper) comes out. In my neighborhood, it's a father and daughter pair. The father is banging on a drum while the daughter is screaming wake up and different people's name. They're coming around to remind people to get a last meal in before the fast starts up again in the morning. I am reminded that it's two in the morning.

But at the end of the month, there is feasting! Starting today until Tuesday is the Eid. No work, all play. Lots of people take vacation at this time and go to the beach or other relaxing spots. I am gladly participating in this. I'm pleased to announce that Mark and Egypt is now coming to you live from Japan!

Getting to Kagoshima, Japan from Cairo is not the simplest task. I left Friday morning on KoreanAir with two stops--one in Tashkent, Uzbekistan and the other in Seoul, South Korea. Both flights together were about 11 hours. I spent in an hour and a half in Uzbekistan. Here's proof:

This is all I saw of Uzbekistan besides the duty-free shops and the bartender rocking out to Uzbeki music.

The plane ride itself was fine. The flight attendant gave me my meal as well as instructions on how to make my meal. For plane food, it was pretty good but that might be because I'm proud I mixed the ingredients together.

After eating, I watched Terminator Salvation and then promptly fell asleep. When I woke up, (dare I do it twice?) I woke up with... KoreanHair.

From Seoul, I flew on Asiana Airlines to Fukuoka, Japan. That flight was only an hour long. And in Fukuoka, I met my hostess--super-human Anne Recinos of the illustrious Brown Class of 2009. There, we took a 2 and a half hour train to Kagoshima, and I promptly passed out after a fully day of traveling.

That night, we took a walk to a local outdoor mall-ish area where I went to an arcade. And got to play Taiko-version of Dance Dance Revolution. And a DJ-version of Dance Dance Revolution. I looked for Dance Dance Revolution itself but it was no where to be found.

I am definitely going back to the Arcade later in the week. It was a lot of fun and I also need to win that giant stuffed animal pig.


  1. You're in Japan??? No.. No... you're kidding.

  2. ohhhhhh nine!

    Dont forget to give Anne that hug from me. And remind her to give you a hug from me as well!

  3. japan bro? i want to be mark doss when i grow up...