The TeleGraham

Bates College through the eyes of a junior returning from abroad

A Comparative Look at Cairo and Bates

On December 10th, I caught a last minute plane ride from Egypt to Jordan. I took a bus to Petra, saw one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and took a ferry back across the Red Sea. There I caught a bus from the Egyptian Sinai through the desert and back to Cairo. In Cairo I took my finals, wrote a paper, and with a group a friends hired a private taxi to the Israeli boarder and headed to Jerusalem. When I finally made it back home to Kentucky it was Christmas day and classes started up at Bates in two weeks.

By December I was tired of the desert, missed my friends at Bates, and was dying to get into my advisor’s office and tell him about my new views on Islam. But coming back has been wilder than expected. I’ve been back at Bates for two weeks now and when I look out across the snowy quad in my big winter jacket, I find myself thinking that Bates doesn’t feel too far from the Middle East after all. The chaos of the Commons dining hall at dinner time is a lot like the bazaars of Cairo, except instead of everyone trying to be your best friend, everyone is my best friend. In Cairo, people throw fireworks into crowded streets for fun. At Bates I have to watch my back and dodge snowballs left and right. In the Middle East, all the old men waste away their days at tea and sheesha shops. At Bates, my friends waste away their weeknights at the Ronj (a student run coffee shop on campus) where they drink hot chocolate, chai, and weird flavors of tea. Conversations are the same too; everyone wants to know if we are going to bomb Iran or if Britney will ever get her kids back.

I’m excited to be back, but I miss the Arab world. Luckily, I have a friend here who is from Palestine and we have a date to make some falafel.





Here’s a pic of me (far right), a buddy from Bates who came to visit (center), and the other Batesie who was studying abroad with me in Egypt (left). We spent one weekend camping in the desert, here’s us at sunset:

x3 Batesies in Egypt


January 24, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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