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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in sharendous' LiveJournal:

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Saturday, July 26th, 2008
3:09 am
I have to post quickly, as I have a lot of work to do, a headache from a bit too much ouzo last night, and an internet full of screaming children driving me to contemplate the various possible ways to stuff them (or myself) into the air conditioning vent.

However, despite all of the above, I'm finding myself extremely content here. Yesterday was the last day of a very successful work week (my team may have found the entrance courtyard of the Middle Bronze Age palace. maybe. well, okay, we certainly found an exterior room with pebble packed floors. tune in next time for the thrilling continuation), and so a group of us (all those who didn't immediately head to Beirut to party) took to the beach. We tried to go see the Eshmoun temple just outside of Sidon, but it apparently has very irregular hours, governed at the whim of its ancient caretaker, and the gates were locked. So we went back to site, and sprawled on the beach below the tell, the beach I look at longingly every day from the top, sweating and sweltering in the dirt. It was quite satisfying to finally jump in. We couldn't swim very far out though, because we were told very firmly by the landowners that three people had just drowned there the day before yesterday due to riptides and rocks. And there definitely were some scary currents and rock action going on. So we kind of splashed about in the shallow areas, not going in past chest height, and lazed on the sand. I took a walk down the length of the beach, and picked up murex shells, and got the shivers. Murex shells, and the purple dye they were used to produce, were what gave the Phoenicians their name, what they and their predecessors were famous for, and standing there below the tell, in the exact spot where some Middle Bronze Age and then Iron Age Levantine stood four thousand years ago, picking up those shells and staring at the same sea, I was transfixed, transported, transcendant, and any other out-of-body adjectives you can think of.

In other news, Uno and ouzo seem to have become the standard evening fare in Sidon. Which is not such a bad deal, generally, except that the competition got so intense last night that we forgot entirely to go out to the Oud concert we'd planned on. Which might have been worth it had I won a single game. ;)

I've also been filling my time with intense political conversation, which I will try to fill in later, as my thoughts become more coherent. Everybody is so deeply enmeshed in politics, interwoven with daily existence to an extent that would be unimaginable in the U.S. It seems like such a luxury now, thinking of home where people are able to shrug off politics, policy and policy makers, and elections without any real risk of their lives being affected dramatically by their apathy. It's unsustainable though, this apathy, and I think that's starting to show. On the other hand, as is seen here, fanatical devotion to a cause, no matter how worthy the cause itself, is equally destructive. Anyway, these are fairly obvious musings, so I will let them go. Everyone else is off at Byblos today, but I stayed back since I've been there and it's not a disaster to miss it again to do all of this work for the Jordan project. So, off to it I go!

Oh, and pictures are coming as soon as I can remember to put them on a pen drive and bring them with me. Tomorrow, insha'allah!

Current Mood: content
Sunday, July 20th, 2008
9:16 am
the shirt before the man...
Which is apparently, when said correctly in German, and German saying about mixing your priorities up. Priorities are an interesting, often amorphous thing, one I've been contemplating a lot as I've wound my way from Jordan to Lebanon, from the desert to the sea, from the Epipaleolithic to the Middle Bronze Age, from extreme recording to an extreme lack thereof, from an atmosphere of relative political neutrality to one of pretty much inescapable political tensions and realities. Given that I romanticize Lebanon so much, the reality is bound to be somewhat disconcerting, and I came in prepared for that. But it's not disappointing in any sense; on the contrary, more and more I feel like this country is one that I would seriously love to spend a long period living in, if only it weren't for the frequent risks to life and limb falling from the sky...Nonetheless, it is both different and the same from the imaginary Lebanon I've built up from a short visit two years ago. So much has changed since then (given that I last visited just after the 2006 war) - I was in Tyre yesterday on our day off, and not only are the roads all rebuilt (they were still bombed out last time), and buildings that I remember as half-collapsed shells are sparkling and new. Streets are alive, vibrant, full of people and laughter and colors. Yes, particularly yellow as far as colors go, and more than a fair share of propanda to go with it, but at the same time, the streets are relaxed, women are walking around in tank tops with other women in hijaab, and they were selling beer on the beach. Even Sidon has made a turn around, and is cleaner (though not really clean, yet), and more relaxed, if slightly less so than Tyre. However, people still speak frankly of their habituation to gun shots and bombs, how they only worry now if the shots are on their street, how they live attached to the news because, despite the carefree and open nature of their lives on normal days, they need to know up to the minute events information, because they often won't leave the house on days that Nasrallah is speaking, for instance, or soemthing of the sort because of the possibility of not making it back. I'm still struck by the paradox of such a tiny, physically beautiful country being the chosen battleground on which all of these surrounding enormous powers fight out their conflicts. Our site is on a hill above the crystal clear blue Mediterranean, and sometimes I'm just awestruck by it, and stand looking from the north, towards Sidon, to the south, towards ancient Sarepta and eventually Tyre, and then to the sea, becoming lost in my romantic daydreaming about the fact that I am standing among the ruins of Phoenicia, and Canaan before it, my eyes looking over the same hills and being drawn to the same sea that eventually launched some of the most famous vessels and voyages of all time. And then something will draw my attention to one of my workmen, Syrian like so many workers around here are, as he tries to explain something to me and we laugh together as I struggle to understand, and can't help noticing the yellow Hizbollah emblem on his hat.

Anyway, this all has very little to do with the post I intended to write, about learning to prioritize the interests of the dig over my own, or vice versa, in the appropriate order, even when I feel that some priorities (ie, interaction with the workers) are in desperate need of reconsideration. But, that will have to wait for another post, and now that I've found a relatively fast internet connection just up the road, that should be sooner than later!

To sum up: I am living in Sidon, on the coast of Lebanon between Beirut and Tyre. It was an ancient Bronze and Iron Age city itself, and there are excavations (ironically, the ones I was supposed to participate in before the director decided not to take Americans) taking place just up the road. We live in the old souk, in a hostel which used to be part of the local Bishopric before it was presented to the current managers family as an exchage; she takes care of the church and the old parochial school, and she can rent the old student's rooms out as hostel space. It's a beautiful old building, even though we have an ant problem and lose electricity on a fairly regular basis (as does most of the city still). The team is made up of lots of cool and interesting people, with incredibly diverse backgrounds and outlooks on archaeology and on life. I think it will be a good season, but it couldn't be more different from where I just came from (desert in Jordan) if they'd specifically tried to make it so. And that goes for the way they run the site as well as living situation. This has its good and less good points, which I'll try to get into as I figure out my thoughts further down the line. But now, back to dinner and perhaps an early night. All other differences aside, it's still freaking hot, dirty, and tiring in this business. But that's partly why I love it. :)

Current Mood: contemplative
Friday, June 20th, 2008
7:29 am
the difference a goat makes
So, I have a lot to update, but am going to space it out. And it will be a bit inverted, since I'm going to talk about today in this post, as it's still fresh in my mind, and I will talke about last weekend/week tomorrow insha'allah. Stories such as roadtripping to Umm al Jimal near the Syrian border, sunset and beers at an entirely basalt Roman fort overlooking the desert, and the trials and tribulations of applying four times for a visa extension await (fingerprints, HIV test, and photocopy machine hunt included).

So right now it is mid dig break, three days of freedom to wander about and explore the other recesses of Jordan. Two other girls and I decided to road trip down to Petra. The drive was incredible - we went partway down the old King's Highway, the original trek through two of the most dramatic wadis in the country, and then cut over to the Dead Sea Highway, which is just what it sounds like. Amazing views, funny people along the way, I almost killed a chicken, and pics will hopefully come soon. We arrived last night and settled into our hotel, which is apparently still under construction. Half the building is just a skeleton. But the room is fine, if a bit mosquito-y. Oh, and I don't wanna talk about the shower at first, it wasn't nice. But we got it cleaned. So then we cleaned up and headed out on the town, thinking we'd hit up the Cave Bar, a bar inside a Nabatean cave tomb. But, no such luck, we arrived to closed doors, as the place is closed for six months for renovations. Sad! We ended up at the Moevenpick instead, where we embraced our posh sides for the evening (they don't have nargileh. how pretentious can you be? and the table next to us was full of swank Brits talking about having had tea with the Queen, in serious tones. I'm still not convinced it wasn't all a big piss-taking, as they say). We indulged in our stereotypes as well, with the two Americans ordering huge burgers and the Brit ordering fish and chips, and a really bad bottle of red wine. It's very bizarre that this is the way so many people really experience Jordan.

This morning, I decided to go visit Beidha, a Neolithic site about fifteen minute drive away from Petra, and a 1 km hike from Little Petra. So the girls went off to Petra, I drove over and found the trail to Beidha. And proceeded to hike. I think I must have hiked about four km when it occurred to me that there was no way on earth it was any farther, and the landscape was getting increasingly barren and desolate, and it was just me, the chirping insects, and the sheer craggy cliff walls. And lots of sand, of course. Occasionally a small herd of goats ran by, or a donkey wandered past, looking as confused to be there as I was. Finally, a Bedouin tent came into sight, so I climbed up to it, dusted myself off a bit, and found the most beautiful, tiny little old Bedouin woman there. Tiny, wizened face, wrapped up in bright colors, perfect. She took my hand and knew exactly what Beidha was and where it was, and gave me directions in beautiful Arabic (I expected a heavy incomprehensible dialect). Then before I left, she showed me her goat herds. Which I suppose was only polite. (??). So I made my way the extra three km or so back, found the site, and it was pretty cool. They reconstructed the Neolithic houses there, two different architectural styles, and supposedly made conservation-minded walkways for tourism purposes, but it was all a bit weathered, to be honest. And obvioously, not well marked. There was a camel across from the entrance, but that isn't the most obvious indicator.

So I snapped pics, hung out for a bit, wandered around, and then made my way back to the entrance, where I had tea with some of the local Bedouin guys selling it there. Which is when one of them recognized the pickup truck, and started talking to me about other CBRL digs he'd been on, people he knew, and asked me if I knew of this other Neolithic site on top of a nearby mountain. To which I replied that yes, i'd heard of it, but also heard that you can't get there unless you're with the team or someone who knows the way. Silly me. Of course he knew the way. So off we went, and hiked down this little siq (like at petra, but smaller) for about 45 minutes, then climbed straight up for about fifteen minutes (the guy was like a freaking mountain goat, he just scampered straight up sheer boulder faces. I took a little more time, but I made it). And then we arrived at this beautiful Neolithic village, with all of these 6,000 year old stone structures strewn across the flat plateau face and surrounded by craggy mountain walls all around, and the siq below, slicing across three of the sides. It was seriously spectacular. We sat for awhile and I just absorbed the spiritually invigorating-ness of it all, the sheer soulfulness, I took some pictures and looked at the trenches, walls, and stratigraphy (loving these Neolithic walls more and more...)and then we climbed back down. At the base we met up with some of his friends, including an American girl who had met one of these guys last year as a tourist and randomly decided to come back and get married to him this year. They had just slaughtered, butchered, and barbequed a goat, so we all crouched around the dish with bread, communal Bedouin-style, and ate together. And then drank tea together and talked about archaeology, history, life. As one should at the end of such a day. And then I took my Bedouin friend home, and drove back myself. And here I am.

Tomorrow will be lots more driving back to Azraq, with some castle stops along the way. I'll try to make an internet stop feature in there as well.

Until then, masalaama.

Current Mood: happy
Tuesday, June 10th, 2008
4:09 pm
...but i can't seem to escape the tornadoes. Here, they are called "zobaa," and they are basically fast swirly pillars of dust and heat. They spin their way across the desert around site all the time, sometimes in packs, sometimes solo, and usually look pretty cool. However, I have recently learned that it is far less cool to be inside of a zobaa than to watch it from a safe distance. The past few days have been so windy that I have actually been able to wipe layers of dust off of the insides of my eyelids (which is far less amusing than it sounds, if possible) and have kicked up a fair few zobaa. The first one that hit us directly actually came up the drive to the house. Our dig house (white house pictured below somewhere I believe - still having photo uploading difficulties over here) is at the top of a hill, directly at the T-junction of a little road off the main "highway." This particularly ambitious little (relatively) zobaa made its way down the highway, turned up the road, and proceeded to smack into the dig house dead on, while I and four other team members stood outside too flabbergasted (or flummoxed, as I've recently heard from a resident Brit) and a little excited to be "zobaa-ed" (as it's since been dubbed). It basically did no damage other than picking up all of our cardboard boxes filled with cans and bottles, spinning them around about twenty feet in the air, and then dropping them and a nice thick layer of dust back down on us. The second zobaa got me in the car, while offroading from the Qasr Kharaneh (medieval caravanserai where we store our dig gear) and the site, to which I was headed to pick people up. It just whipped through, blinding me for about half a second and throwing another good layer of dust against the (thankfully closed) windows, but I was all excited to report how i'd been drive-by zobaa-ed, when I arrive at site and find everyone huddled together on the ground, having just been much more aggressively visited themselves by the same zobaa, and without the luxury of sheet metal to protect them. Stole my thunder. ;)

We also found a scorpion in our lithics tray the other day. We leave the lithics out to dry in the sun so they can be sorted during lab, and a couple of days ago, one of the other girls was picking them up to take them inside when she noticed an itty-bitty black thing huddling in the corner of the tray. Luckily, our Jordanian colleague was right there, and he promptly stomped the tiny little bugger to scorpion mush. But it was a bit disconcerting, especially since apparently the tiny ones are the ones that kill you the most dead.

We also recently hired local workmen, who all claim to be university students but who all look about fifteen. They're all nice guys, but there's a bit of a weird dynamic since apparently last year at a nearby site (on which some of the girls here worked) one of the older women had an affair and nearly ran off with one of these young Jordanian men, and so they're all pretty much on the lookout for that to happen again. Luckily (?) for me, I kind of bridge the gap between junior and senior team members in their minds (read, potentially available vs very much not), so I usually just get to make fun of the undergrads (simultaneously trying to in them how very, very inappropriate responding to such advances would be). It makes me feel so old to realize that they are the age that I was when I first landed in Tunisia, looking at things with those eyes. And as great a time as I'm having here in Jordan, this is not an immersion experience, it is not challenging in the cultural-boundary sense (intellectually yes, cultural-boundary overcoming, no, but maybe that's all relative? i could be judging too severely), it's a romp in the desert with some rough edges. Anyway, I've also been trying to probe the workmen's minds about the community and archaeology, and basically have received an overwhelming "yes, we love working here in the summer, but really, nobody will care about archaeology if it doesn't bring money." Which i pretty much knew I suppose. So we'll see what other insights/ideas I can get out of them.

In other news, peanut butter is the greatest invention of all time, especially when applied generously to apple slices, and especially when consumed mid-morning after four hours of work.

And a guy just walked in and set up his prayer mat in front of my only exit point. Which means I now must wait till he finished praying to go anywhere, and thus may be late for lab. Ma mafee' mish kela, whatcha gonna do. :)

will try for more photos later, but this weekend we're trying to track down a Bronze Age site called Jawa somewhere out towards Iraq, so I prob wont have fantastic internet again. Until next week then, insha'allah!

Current Mood: silly
Friday, June 6th, 2008
2:18 pm
ups and downs: unexpected visitors, and the simple joy of water...
This is retrospective, as the internet shut down on me the other day:


This morning we were looted. It's an odd feeling, because one develops such strong moral stances and philosophical opinions about looting in the abstract, or even in the practical, but when it's practical AND personal, all those sophisticated ethics don't change the gut human reaction. Anger, mainly. Not even for the intangible historical value potentially lost forever (and to be honest, in this case it probably wasn't that much as it's so early in the season and the holes weren't that big), but for the damage to something you personally have worked so hard on. Sure, I know in the intellectual sense that a site is not "ours" even if it could really "belong" to anybody in particular (can history be possessed? Different discussion...), but when we got to site and saw those holes in our nice, newly cleaned areas, it felt like somebody had snuck in after school hours and tore up my poster presentation or something. "Those assholes!" was the most commonly heard remark for the first ten minutes or so. Now, in this case, we think we know who did it, and that they are in no way subsistence looters, so that's not the issue. But the point is, it COULD be, and still the emotional RAWR is the same. After we calmed down, took pictures (sorry, I wasn't allowed to), and cleaned up the site, we talked about how it was the guys from the power station most likely, who had come the other day. We talked about how they didn't believe us, how even tho they were there and we told them that this site had nothing to do with material valuables (in a marketable sense in Azraq - there's surely a market for lithics and bone somewhere)they thought we were just those foreigners taking advantage of them, knew when we'd be off, and came back. The holes were half-hearted, too, casual damage, which was almost worse. Sort of a "just checking up on you" kind of thing, no genuine attempt to recover anything. But, it is a learning experience, a challenge in terms of community interaction, and it did no real damage to anything other than our momentary psychological comfort. So, we move on and hope for better things next week.
On the other hand, it is shower day, and shower day is awesome. Although technically, I am staying in the "Azraq Oasis," that name is, you might say, retrospective, and thus misleading in terms of actual water availability. The oasis has been drying up gradually over time, but in the past decade or so it's been much worse ,as a general draught in Jordan has let authorities to divert water from Azraq to the capital. Whereas there was apparently visible groundwater here ten years ago, there are now wide, dry exanses of sand, and we are rationed in our water use. Actually, we have access to a water tank daily, unlike most of the population of Azraq, but, as we are trying to run a socially responsible dig, we choose to ration instead so we don't need to draw on the general water bank. We buy enough bottled water of course for the dig, since dehydration is not pleasant, but we only get showers once every three days. And the water only comes in one temperature pattern: scalding hot for about thirty seconds, and then freezing cold for the rest, and all in a tentative trickle. And let me tell you something, you've never seen stratigraphy like what can accumulate on your arms after one morning in a desert trench , let alone three days. We wash faces and hands regularly, but today was full shower day, and thus, i am happy.

Now, real time:

Today was break day and we drove up to Amman last night, saw the new Indiana Jones as an archaeological group. It was a lot of fun - I must say, I was not happy about the aliens though. That is all I will say about that. But Indy was his fantastic self, and still my role model for most things in life. And the old school cinematography was fun. :) Then we headed out to Madaba, where we stayed in a hotel and spent the next day lounging by the pool with shisha, wandering around looking at sites and mosaics, and chuckling at the earnestness of a new group of Peace Corps volunteers being initiated in the conference room (sorry, Mel ;) ). I will try to write more about this later, but for now, here's another attempt at some photos:







Current Mood: contemplative
Friday, May 30th, 2008
1:16 pm
ancient counting, the smell of burning sand, and the advent of the fruit people
Briefly, a retraction/correction: previously, it was stated that I am staying 56 km from the Iraqi border. That was meant to read 156 km. The editors extend their apologies.

In other news, Joe, the son of one of our specialists, has taken to calling us all by fruit and veggie (and in one case, grain) - inspired nicknames. I, for instance, am now "Pineapple Lady." I think this has something to do with the yellow bandana I had on at the time of naming. It could be worse. Andrew, a redheaded guy, is now "Carrot Man" and Tove, a redheaded girl, was going to be "Carrot Woman" until he remembered it was redundant, and changed her inexplicably to "Rice Lady."

I am at the moment in Amman, at the CBRL, enjoying a brief moment with air conditioning and high speed internet. We're here for several reasons. First, it's our day off, and we ran out of beer at the house. Second, we had to take some of the specialists to the airport as they're leaving today. Third, yesterday, the pickup truck broke. No, I didn't do it. Well, I mostly didn't do it. The little disk in the clutch was worn way down, and I got stuck in some deepish sand out near site and spun the wheels a bit too hard, throwing sand up into the gear box, which then wore the disk the rest of the way down. And man, sand burning under the hood while you try shifting gears all the way back home is not high on my list of pleasant fragrances. Not particularly wanting to push our luck and possibly end up broken down completely in the desert somewhere, we had it brought to Amman for fixing and are going to drive it back tonight. And I am going to just back up out of sandy areas and not force my way through them in the future.

On site, we've only just gotten through the backfill levels from the previous excavations in the 1980s, and are hitting in situ stratigraphic levels now. That means we took off all the old dirt that they'd used to cover up their work, and now we've come down to levels that people were actually living on and using 16,000-20,000 years ago. We'll start digging those tomorrow, and my area looks extremely promising. We've already, just in the unstratified levels, found three notched counting bones -- basically long bones from gazelle, cow, etc, which are notched in increments along the length, probably for counting purposes (although really, who knows? it's the most logical, but who says logic has anything to do with it). Also we found two tapered bone tools, made from gazelle ulna, which Louise (our bone specialist) tells us is a bone she's never seen used for that purpose before. Also a denticulated (decoratively notched) mother of pearl shell, a bunch of shell beads, and of course bags and bags of worked lithics. We also have several hard, compacted surfaces coming up, in our area where the previous excavator recorded hearth features and post holes. It would be pretty awesome to find the remains of a 16,000 year old house.

I also have a new project! I will soon be re-working and expanding the project's community involvement plan - working with both the legal and social aspects of heritage management and community involvement to integrate the archaeological site into public awareness and making it economically sustainable as a resource. This will be fantastic, of course, but really quite complicated. It's much harder to garner interest for sites from this period, which lack much that's visually stimulating unless you know a lot about it. Also, the site shows signs of being constantly driven over by the quarrying trucks, and convincing them that it's worth their while to go around will be interesting. We had a truck from the electric company come roaring up right on site the other day, almost into a trench, and the men in it started yelling and cursing at us because they thought we were hunting for gold. When they realized it was just flint, and that we were permitted, they immediately lost interest and drove off. Collaboration is tough with attitudes and deeply rooted impressions like that. But, fortunately in many ways, the site is not far from one of the Desert Castles, which is on a not infrequent tourist route, so it may be possible to tie it into that. Anyway, I'm psyched, and will let you know more as I meet with people this week.

Okay, let's see if I can upload a few pics:









Current Mood: cheerful
Tuesday, May 27th, 2008
8:15 pm
Alive! I sunburn, therefore I am...
I have to admit, in an unabashedly undeserved and gloating way, that I'm feeling pretty badass these days. I got to Jordan last Thursday with no problems, and since then have been driving half the dig team around in this ancient old red pickup truck (manual, what what. AND it's been three years since I drove one), off-roading through the desert with the occasional pitstop to run up and down a dune, change a flat tire or two in the middle of nowhere with limited available tools, and pick up some 20,000 + year old stone tools. The sun is not merciful to my England-bleached skin, and I think I may have a layer of dirt permanently caked to my body, more thoroughly than seems right, but it feels great to hurt and sweat a little bit again. It was a long, slow, rainy winter. I'm missing all my friends everywhere, as usual, but I'm pretty sure there's almost nowhere else I'd rather be at the moment, unless it were a slightly later site where people had figured out how to make pottery already and left us a little more architecture to work with. I did get in a very heated conversation with one other girl here which at the time pissed me off a bit, but actually then it triggered this whole really amazing brainstorming stream (sitting on the roof of the dig house while everybody napped this afternoon, furiously free-writing and guzzling mint tea)and I think I'm on to a couple of things...I will have to write more, and more coherently, in the next few days, since this internet is insanely slow and the network is clogged by the entire teenage male population of Azraq downloading porn and playing online games. I have tons of photos, too, which I will try to get uploaded this weekend when we drive back to 'Amman. Living in such close quarters with ten other people constantly is going to take some getting used to again, but so far it's been more a good roller coaster than a bad. So briefly: Azraq is two streets in the middle of a truck stop on the trucking route between Iraq and Saudi (we're 56 km from the former, 82 km from the latter), they don't always understand my Egyptian Arabic but I'm picking up more local language everyday (and think I want to go to Damascus for a bit to learn Arabic properly), the dig house is fantastic, only two people to a room, a cook, a roof to sit on facing the basalt Black Desert, people are generally awesome, and I'm slowly but surely developing an appreciation for lithics. I actually got to do bone today, which was a blast, hope to keep that up, and have been working more with the Total Station/GIS, which is also good as I want to do more with landscapes. Waking up at 3:30 am to be onsite by 5 am (half an hour drive) sucks, but desert sunrises are beautiful. Oh, and of course the camels make me endlessly happy. It's a totally different Jordan from the one I experienced the last time through, and I have some disjointed thoughts on that note, but they'll wait for this weekend. Till then, keep in touch, and masalaama!

xo
alison

Current Mood: grateful
Wednesday, April 25th, 2007
4:25 pm
had we but world enough and time...
ok, so finally here's the israel/palestine pics from spring break:

israeli/Egypt border, Taba/Eilat. We spent a long time waiting in line trying to figure these deer out. still not a clue. suggestions are welcome:




assorted scenes of easter craziness in jerusalem, including assembled ethiopians at the Coptic patriarchal seat, a parade of koreans dressed as jesus and co., and mass hysteria at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (where Jesus was supposedly crucified, altho this is debated among theologians and scholars alike. anyway, the stone slab people are laying all their stuff on is supposedly the slab jesus was laid out on after crucifixion), and general crowdedness in the old city:




























now here's me at the Western Wall (last standing wall of the temple complex of King Solomon, pretty much the holiest place in Judaism)...actually at it at it,view from a distance, and then in front of it, and then a Jewish quarter street scene and a shopfront in the Cardo, this long market street that has been excavated down to the byzantine and roman levels and now is being revived for its original use at the original streetlevel:














aaaand then we went to bethlehem. there were more pilgrims. this time from india, mostly, for some reason, altho we were on the bus with a bunch of philipinos who then proceeded to take our picture at the separation barrier with them. as a great fan of irony, i really wish i had that picture, but unfortunately, i don't. so here are some separation barrier pics, then some bethlehem pics, mostly at the Church of the Nativity, where Jesus was supposedly born. The one with the kneeling person under the altar is supposedly the literal birthplace of Jesus, and right behind that was the manger itself, which is the white-shrouded deal in the next pic. oh and then there's the weirdo bunny rabbit setup they had going on, and the city center:





































hmmm and then we went to the dead sea. that mud we've got all over us is all mineral-rich and supposedly miraculously good and healing, etc. we had quite and adventure getting here, and actually ended up at a random semi-private campsite, but nobody cared, and it turned out quite fun, even tho all we had to eat for the day was a bag of easter candy and we ended up having to hitchhike back. so here i am doing the typical floating while reading spiel, and then there's jessie floating/flying, and then some beach shots, and some shots of the bushes we changed in, and the cool mud and my foot (sorry, i refuse to post bikini pics,so u don't get to see me covered in mud. i know ur disappointed.), and waiting at the bus stop for the bus that never came....:
















ok, so then we went back to j-town and went to the temple mount, where we hung out in front of the dome of the rock but weren't allowed in. it was the most peaceful place in the whole city, even in the two hours allotted for us tourists (only muslims are allowed up there otherwise). here's some pics of the dome, and some kids playing round the mount:














and, just for kicks, here's me with one of our, as you can see, fabulously varied and plentiful meals. actually, we just bought the bagel. and the bagel guy felt so bad for us that he gave us a free falafel balll and a free packet of zataar. then the falafel ball tasted like fish so we threw it away and the wind blew all the zataar away. sigh. this was a pretty standard lunch. yaaay impoverished backpacking....:



and here's a few random pics of riding at the pyramids, out with the interns, etc, just cuz :)










oh, and we took a tour of the Desert Development Center (DDC) where jessie works. aren't we cute. and doesnt it not look like egypt.....those are Swiss cows, and Australian pine trees....and grass.....weeeeird. the last two shots are where they grow the tons of forests of little baby pine trees which they water from a canal from the nile, next pic:





















ok that's enough playing around for now. :) enjoy!
Saturday, April 14th, 2007
11:13 am
now or never
spring break photo time!! woohoo!

this trip was crazy, and long, and complicated, so i'm gonna do this sort of photo-album instead of entry + photos, with some short captions with each, so you can just scan the photos if you want and don't have to read a really long rendition of all the absurdities that the trip entailed. and if you do want, leave me a note and i'll expand any stories. :)

ok, so we started out taking a 7-hour bus from Cairo to St. Katherine's monastery, at the foot of Mt. Sinai. We arrived late in the evening, and proceed to climb the mountain right then and there, arriving at the top around 10 pm or so. We slept in this bedouin guy's cafeteria cuz it was effing freezing and we couldn't afford enough blankets to sleep outside. then at 4 am we got up and watched the sunrise from the summit. us and five million other tourists, most of whom rode camels up just in time for the sunrise, but some of whom were savvy-er backpackers than us and actually had sleeping bags. This is the top of the mountain, from night when we got there into sunrise, with me wrapped in a blanket (cooooold!!) and in front of the cliffs, etc:


















here are some shots of all the people/backpackers/bedouins/one really intense japanese religious group singing hallelujah songs who were all at the summit with us:













ok, now lots of pics of rocks and mountainous crags and such that we encountered on the way down. The way up we took the camel path (dirt road up the far side of the mt from the monastery) plus 750 steps to the summit, and it was dark, but on the way down then next day we went down the full Steps of Repentance - 3750 big stone steps that some monk carved out to repent for lord knows what. anyway, they were much more fun down in the daylight than (i imagine) up in the dark:










ok i suppose that's enough rocks for you to look at...it was pretty cool tho. next, we hung out at st. katherine's monastery, where there's supposedly a descendent of the original burning bush. i wasn't too impressed and i was too tired to fake it, so i don't have any photos worth posting of that. but next we climbed on a bus to Dahab, where we spent a couple of days snorkeling, horseback riding, and lazing on the beach gazing across the Red Sea at Saudi Arabia. Here you see me on a windy day, the Blue Hole where we snorkeled and where I only after discovered there are lots of scary sharks and current-related diver deaths, a camel that jessie befriended, us on horseback, tucker and a shisha as we lazed on the beach. there are better pics from here, but i havent stolen them from catherine yet:












so after that loveliness, we proceeded to cross the border from Taba (Egypt) into Eilat (Israel) where we hoped to just sort of scamper across the city to the border with Aqaba (Jordan). This was our route to avoid the Ferry of Death, as Jessie referred so eloquently to the direct Egypt-Jordan ferry that has a tendency to sink mid-transit....however, we got held up at the Israeli border for 8 hours (ok, let's be honest. I got stamped immediately. my friends got held up for 8 hours. you can't say the Israelis pretend not to profile...) So we ended up homeless in Eilat for the night, which we spent sleeping on this beach (if you want a long, elaborate rant on my feelings about this decision,and the long version of the story, feel free to drop me a line):




eilat had a wierd quasi-westernized mock-americanized thing going on too....:



ok, so moving on, we ended up in Wadi Rum the next day - which is this big valley/desert in southern jordan with all kinds of fun rock formations and sandy dune-y-ness, and we rode horses through it for a few hours. It's where TE Lawrence hung out and thus where much of Lawrence of Arabia was filmed, and pretty spectacular. again, pics dont really do justice. must steal better ones from catherine soon, but here's an idea of me on my 4 1/2 yr old recently gelded psycho horse (it was a blast - i have never seen scenery go by that fast, but he totally blistered up both my hands) and some of the valley prettiness:










neeeext, we headed north to Petra - an ancient Nabatean city and series of tombs carved out of the living rock in this natural canyon - not actually a canyon in the sense that we think of them, like carved out of rock by water over millenia, but actually these rocks were wrenched apart by earthquakes and such tectonic shiftings. then people moved in and noticed the pretty rocks (the colors are unbelievable) and started carving things into them, most impressively from about the 6th century BCE on. the Nabateans were cool like the Phoenicians. I wanna get back here professionally as well as personally. :)




















ok, and i only have one of Karak, the crusader castle we stopped at on our way from Petra to Amman, where we met Tom, who is doing a world tour on motorbike and who is now hanging out in Cairo for awhile:




and now i must go teach. so i will have to post israel/palestine later! enjoy for now!

Current Mood: rushed
Sunday, April 1st, 2007
11:45 am
i just wanted to post from NOT cairo....
cuz i always have to put some variation of "Cairo" in the "my location" box below....and i figured I'd shake it up a bit.... ;) anyway, in the last 48 hours or so I have:

- climbed Mt Sinai by moonlight and watched the sunrise from the summit
- gotten into a big argument with the bedouins at the top of Mt Sinai about how they were trying to cheat us and then stayed up most of the night watching my back...
- checked out St Katherine's monastery and what they claim is the descendent of the Burning Bush. That's right folks, THAT Burning Bush. Yeah. The wooden carved doors on the church were cool tho.
- snorkeled myself silly in Dahab, around the "Blue Hole," a coral reef formation that is basically that....a ring of reef around a hole which, being the sea, is blue.
- rode horses on the beach at sunset (im so hopeless)
- fell asleep too early to actually do anything exciting last night. i know, i'm lame. but i will go out tonight. ahem. i hope.


So yeah, the short story is (don't remember what else I've posted on this note and am too lazy to check) Jessie, Catherine, C's friend Marcia and until recently her friend Tucker (he went back to the US today) are traveling thru Sinai (check) and then heading to Jordan, where we will ride (horses of course) thru the desert bordering Jordan/Saudi Arabia, check out Petra (if you don't know what that is, google it now! Awesome ancient Nabatean - c. 6th century BCE - site), and perhaps make it up to either Madaba (byzantine stuff, Mt. Nebo to be climbed - that's the mountain from which Moses viewed the Promised Land before he was told he didn't get to go in nyah nyah nyah) or Jerash (Roman site. supposedly good) before we head into Israel (ok, technically we will be crossing into the West Bank probably. But it's relatively safe. And we will be with a resident of the West Bank, and will head straight to Jerusalem) We will then spend a few days in Jerusalem, possibly hit up Bethlehem and the Dead Sea. It will be good. :)

ok pics to be posted later! And perhaps if you're lucky, some of my philosophical ponderings and wanderings from Mt Sinai. Lack of sleep and spectacular scenery does that to me. :)

Current Mood: content
Monday, March 5th, 2007
12:19 am
because i (and you) have nothing better to do at the moment
i went horseback riding at sunset by the pyramids last night. terribly romantic of me, i know. ;) the horses were damn fast. it was fun. now i am sore, but in a good way. mum and sis come on thurs. yaaaay. then we cruise to upper egypt and all that fun. must plan an itinerary. seem to have developed chronic insomnia, and ADD, and inability to complete thoughts. eh. in other news, i havent heard anything from these other internships yet, so they may still come thru, but if no, i need to find a job that will make me lots of money this summer. which is unfortunate cuz that probly involves the service industry in some way and we all know how i feel about people if they didnt live five thousand years ago. half-kidding. i think. other people need to update their damn blogs more cuz i get bored (yes, aware of blatant hypocrisy). also, thinking sinai jordan israel for spring break, so must get on that asap. or i could just wing it, that sounds wise for the region. filming weds for a women's rights documentary - molly and i are telling our story about being chased down by a mob of adolescents. this is a film being made by an awkward ex-affair, shall we say, so the tension levels should be nice and high. speaking of tension levels, i had a fight today in the office about how people are stupid. yes. really. that was about the gist of it. it went something like "why are people stupid. and why can't we avoid stupidity?" and then a long list of ridiculous bureaucratic reasons why we can't avoid stupidity. and this didn't even involve my law class. which is going surprisingly well, despite the fact that i skipped last week because i hadnt done the readings. lame. :-/ im supposed, apparently, to teach another couple classes (art hist, not law. hamdullah) in april now. i'm ending up teaching like a third of this course. is that even ethical? i suppose im an accepted grad student, if not a real grad student yet, so it's almost ethical. and we're in egypt, where they turn in terrible exams and then complain to me that it was because it was too easy. um....???!!! then why didnt u get it right??? oy. ok that may be just enough useless rambling for one night. perhaps i will take a sudafed. or try to read To The Lighthouse again. For like the fiftieth time. It's really good, but I seriously am incapable of finishing the damn thing. k im out, catch y'all later (i've also reverted to using y'all an alarming amount lately....god knows why...)

Current Mood: recumbent
Wednesday, February 28th, 2007
4:44 pm
i got a beautiful feeling....
so i havent updated in forever. im really gonna start again. cuz its hitting home how much of this year has just rolled right by!! gone! like that! three and a half more months and that's it for egypt? say what???

it's been a wild ride folks, and most of it will prob have to be cojoled out of me over a couple of beers somewhere in the western world this summer since im much better at storytelling that way than on this thing. mmmmm let's meet on some shore somewhere at sunset....yes, all of you. :)

but for now, it seems life is smiling on me, and i thought i'd at least drop a few updates.

i have been accepted to the Field Archaeology MA program at the University College London. :) This is a two year program, first year spent in London doing coursework and learning stuff you need to know to be a good archaeologist. Then the summer plus year two is spent being an archaeologist somewhere in the field. AND the director of field placements pretty much promised me (pretty much twisted my arm actually. it was quite flattering) that i could work in Lebanon with him on his post-war salvage projects AND urban excavations. And wants me to help him publish some work he and Helga Seeden (the AUB prof I met when i was there) have compiled on the sites already. So, needless to say, I'm uber psyched. I'm looking at potentially a year in London and a year and a half in Lebanon. Could only be more happy if I knew what the finaid situation was!! They havent told me yet, and clearly this is all a moot point if I dont get some major scholarship action. So let's hope they love me love say that they love me......and want to pay me lots of money to do what i love. :)

also, sad for lee leaving russia on such....unenthusiastic....terms, but YAY for lee coming to visit egypt probably!! yayayayay!! i hope it all works out well. im planning a sinai-jordan-israel trip in april, and itd rock if she came on that too. i think she'd get along well with the group going. of course, i always think that about people i like and other people i like, so what do i know. either way, whenever she comes it'll be sweeeet. cairo doesnt know what's coming. :)

everything else is going well - ive started doing color-matching-practicing with the italian restoration peeps, and my italian restoration vocab improves weekly. :) final exams for the refugees tonight!! eep! and exam numero uno for the AUC bratlings i'm teaching tomorrow. this is their exam on all the stuff i taught em, so im hoping they do well!! i tried to give them images they could really discuss at length.....anyway, exciting day!! mass emails to come and such with further developments.... ;)

love to all! :)

Current Mood: ecstatic
Tuesday, January 16th, 2007
8:00 pm
surprise surprise....
sooooo. turns out we all may have gotten our...ahem....histories....mixed up a little bit, and cleopatra is actually, shall we say, more of an antony.

that's right. my cat is a boy. and nobody noticed.

transcript of me walking in to pick...him....up from being neutered:

Vet: sit down please
me (sitting): thanks. is she ok?
Vet: well, it seems only one testicle is distended, so you'll have to come back next month to remove the other one.
me: blank stare
*awkward pause*
Vet: So we'll just make an appt next month....
me: wait. back up. wait. testicle????
Vet:blank stare
*awkward pause*

it went something like that. and then i think i burst out laughing. TWO vets told me Cleopatra was a girl. not to mention her previous owners, tho what do they know. i mean i don't mind a boy cat in general, that's actually kind of better, but....so, now the question is, do i continue calling him Cleo? I mean, he's kind of sexless now, or soon will be, so i'm not sure it totally matters, and i doubt i can really mess with his gender identity too badly, and changing the name would kind of suck.

and now i have to go try to make him stop trying to walk down the hall, as he cannot walk straight and will surely crash into a wall shortly. gaaaa! what a day...

but jesus H. christ. really???

Current Mood: shocked
Wednesday, January 10th, 2007
12:49 am
midnight ramblings (more for my benefit than yours)
so, these are the places i want to go still, in no particular order (abbreviated list, only immediately applicable places included of course):

Russia
Kenya
Israel
Turkey
Cyprus
Jordan

and of course, all the places in Egypt I haven't been yet. Like, all of Upper Egypt. I really hope my mother decides to come in March so we can go, because after that it will be so hot and miserable and I'll have to go alone, since everyone else went in December. Also hopefully close ones like the Fayoum and Dashur will get done on the weekends this month or next month.

But these others obviously are not all possible, both financially and time-wise, but I think I could at least fit two in. The question then becomes, which?? Inevitably, it will be wherever has the cheapest airfare. But maybe Israel could be a long weekend (although having to get a whole new passport just for a long weekend? But then if I don't actually care about Syria or Iran that much, as it appears I don't since it didn't even occur to me until now, then maybe I don't even need the new passport). So that could work, then Alex found really cheap flights to Moscow, and I could crash with Lee I'm sure so that'd be no housing and I'm DYING to see Lee and Russia!! A Kenya safari would be absolutely expensive, even from here, but i wanna go sooooo badly, and Katie is interested too....gah, i dunno. I feel like I will get to Turkey, Cyprus and Jordan at some point, but with them so close it seems ridiculous NOT to go. Sigh, I suppose I could have worse things to ponder and keep me up all night.

in other news, there is no real other news...I am having a meeting about my course with the prof tomorrow (she says she has ideas about what she'd like me to lecture on! eep!) and then with the web people to set up the course site...aaaand Cleo just stepped all over the keyboard and erased half of what i wrote, and i'm too lazy to rewrite. so clearly she doesn't get enough attention, spoiled fluff princess that she is, and i must go now. ttfn, sorry for a supremely boring post.
Friday, January 5th, 2007
7:39 pm
king alpha's song in a strange land....
so here i am back in Cairo. i have experienced many more and more interesting psychological reactions to returning, i think, than i did to the trip itself, which went fine. I was sick for the first five days or so, which was no fun, but got better in time for Barcelona and New Year's Eve, both of which were very amusing. Even though it was terrific though, and I had a great time seeing John, I wasn't that impressed with Spain overall, or the Spanish (to be fair, I have to acknowledge that this may have to do with the fact that much of my interaction with the Spanish involved fucked up flights and cancelled reservations and lost baggage, which were a nightmare on this trip, so I may not be entirely unbiased here...). But it was relaxing, and nice to be in Europe and the developed world yada yada for awhile. tho i did miss home on xmas :( ... anyway, coming back. was strange. it was all so familiar, the dirty airport, the pushing smelly crowds, the obnoxious overcharging taxi drivers (and eventually the one i took, which was probably not at all a taxi but just some guy making a buck on his way back. but whatever.) i especially liked driving down the highway, looking out the window, and seeing a huge cow looking back at me, tied to the bed of a pickup and just hanging out as we drove along. that was a true "welcome back to egypt" moment. i saw jessie, and my fatface cat, and this was all nice, and my apt was just as i left it (fake xmas tree and all), and now i have three days to recouperate before work starts again (and with a vengeance, im sure...). right now im over at the apt of a auc prof for whom i'm cat/housesitting, and stealing someone's internet (yay thank goodness) to update this briefly and then hopefully finish my UCL app. yes, i decided at the last minute to throw another grad school app out there...just an MA program, and just the one, along with the other internship/job apps, so we'll see. now i have to actually write it. blah. anyway, it was nice to feel even slightly pleased to see cairo, since i wasn't sure i would. i still feel somewhat odd and displaced in this city, uncomfortable in general, but at the same time i have this wierd feeling of familiarity and growing - what is it? - calm? resignation? acceptance? i mean i sort of have a life developing, which it is nice to have anywhere, but at the same time i'm incredibly restless. which, i know, happens to me every five months or so anyway. i will think about this more and try to gain some more clarity before writing again, because this is turning into blah blah blah boring nonsense.

anyway, jessie and her bro/his gf and alex all went out to the desert for a few days. which i would like to do soon too, but i think Fayoum and Alexandria are first on the list this january, since i did the desert camping thing in Tunisia and thus would be less sorry to miss it. i have this other cat now to worry bout too tho, but the extra money at the end of the month will be loverly.

so yeah, spain, i keep forgetting what i meant to talk about. new years - ball dropping in Puerta del Sol, buying cheap bottles of champagne off the street and downing them there with a sea of other drunken crazies like ourselves, scarfing down 12 grapes at midnight, meeting up with Taylor and Pablo (yay) and dancing in some bar, getting home in time to sleep thru the entire first day of the new year. fun fun fun spanish style :) xmas was cute, even tho i was so sick - we made a big beautiful lunch, and john made us all stockings, and he gave me a lovely necklace even tho i only gave him a hilarious (imo) Shriner's hat from the Khan. he's a sweetie. i was so spoiled (he cooked, cleaned, did laundry, everything) that i don't know what to do with myself now. and we went to toledo, which was cool, and i saw lots of el greco, gaudi, goya, picasso, and dali, which was also great, since i don't spend much time on spanish art usually. turns out it's pretty cool. oh yeah, and the sagrada familia of course rocked my socks, even tho i decided not to wait in line for an hour and a half to go to the top of the towers. i stood there at the bottom staring for probly a good 15 minutes at the way he pulled the vaults down like putty and twisted them into this almost double helix type of shape, though. it was crazy. and awesome. and the Pinturas Negras (goya) were smaller than i expected, while Guernica (picasso) was much bigger.

ok i'm gonna try to write this essay now. gaaaaa procrastinating is sooo much better tho....maybe i need to make more coffee...... ;) hasta luego, chicos

Current Mood: mellow
Wednesday, December 20th, 2006
1:10 pm
hahahaha there are so many hilarious things in this city. like that they play Mission Impossible music on full blast in the metro all day and night every day and night. you feel like an action hero on a special mission as soon as you get below ground level. hahahaha. oh man. it's crazy the things that stick in other countries from american culture.

and the pick-up lines in the Khan. I swear, I am going to start making a list, because they are always so hilarious, and there are new ones every time. some of them are ones you know but never thought you'd actually hear out loud, and some make no sense at all, and i've learned to just laugh at them all. especially since usually a certain compilation of these lines is the only english these guys know. oy. hahaha. so i think a new hobby will be a book of these lines. recent examples include:

"hello, my future wife! i've been waiting."
"hey, i've seen you before. you know where? in my dreams!"
"excuse me, did you come from the moon?" (i got this one three times in one night....still not sure what it means...)
"you broke my heart when you fell from heaven"


hahaha it's a good day when i'm in the mood to laugh at this crap.

Current Mood: amused
12:20 am
i'm going to spain in two days! i'm going to spain in two days! yay for seeing john and drinking wine and christmas lights and wintry-ness and people not giving me the "haram" stare or telling me "welcome to egypt, beautiful. what's your name?" every time i bloody walk past them. and mostly xmas and john! :) so psyched.


and caroline called the other day! which was awesome!! she's my first friend to call too, so that was novel and exciting, and also it was just so great to hear her voice like it was next door....wierd tho....it felt like we should've been setting up what time to go ride, not like, discussing relative experiences teaching english to the variously disadvantaged in remote places which the other will never see (well, she's more likely to see the remote parts of Cairo than i am to see the remote mountain tops of the DR)....coffee plantation living sounds crazy, and she is a stronger woman than i, in many ways....ga! i miss my midd friends!! (and my other friends too, of course. this just reminded me of midd days...)

that is really all.

semester ending = wonderful goodness. next semester i will be TAing Ancient Near Eastern art, as i may have noted, and just found out i will actually be taking over a week of lectures while the prof is out of town. i will also be helping organize a heritage awareness training proposal that i can't really post online about cuz it's still not really public info. and i will be generally doing many more art history related things.

eep! i teach my first TEFL class to the Sudanese refugees tomorrow (alex and i were promoted from homework helpers to actually team-teaching a full term course. this may or may not have been an error in judgement on somebody's part...)! and all alone for the first class, cuz alex is in Upper Egypt with her sister!! eeeeep! i have a tentative lesson plan, but i'm still nervous....wish me luck!

k now i muuuust sleeeeeep......despite the rather large amount of "to-do" material staring at me from across the table....blah.... gnight!

Current Mood: sleepy
Wednesday, December 13th, 2006
4:17 pm
soooo close....
...and yet so friggin far. george clooney came by AUC to talk about Sudanese humanitarian efforts today. And we weren't invited to the special invite-only lecture. ga! what good is being tied to the president's office if it lets you down in key moments like this??? alex got in, but that's because she is the actually-in-the-prez's-office one...sigh....so, in defeat, we all huddled around the door and watched him walk from the car to Oriental Hall....i stood on a fence....larissa and jessie hung from a lamppost...catherine was close enough to at least shake his hand. hahaha it was all mildly ridiculous, but fun and exciting nonetheless. siiiiiigh, and if someone swoon-worthy were to pass by my little corner of the world, george clooney is probly in the top ten that i'd pick. so this is one pic, more better ones to follow as catherine sends them to us....




Current Mood: content
Sunday, December 3rd, 2006
3:29 pm
i am bad at blogging
There are lots of things I haven't updated yet, and am not sure if I will ever get around to now....perhaps since I now have this shmancy new computer at work that can actually manage to open this webpage (and I'm sure that's exactly the purpose for which it was given to me...) then I will update more often out of pure boredom and escapism. Who knows. I repeat, I am bad at blogging.

Anyway, I should note that Vienna for Thanksgiving was awesome. Sushi for Thanksgiving dinner was awesome too. :) I think if there were a definite descriptive line of cities in the world, then Vienna and Cairo would be on the exact opposite ends of that line. Vienna is small, clean, quiet, well-organized and efficient - everything Cairo is not. It was terrific to walk around the wintry quintessential little European streets and see all the lights, and the cobblestones, and the gray and blue everything, and drink copious amounts of giant, steaming spiced hot chocolate....and there was the Christmas market, which, if you're like me and love sentimental happy-feeling kinds of things, is probably one of the happiest of the happy places in the world. I bought a wreath, and some hand-made ornaments, and cookies, all of which miraculously made it back with me to Cairo in their original shapes and conditions. It was just good to breathe fresh air, to inhale deeply without hacking it all back up again, and to walk down a street and feel totally at ease....I actually have been trying to think of a way to go back and work on my German, but being so enamored could be just because it happens to have been my most recent break from here...I was that smitten with Beirut too. But I would like to improve my German, and I feel like I'd take to it better than I'm taking to Arabic....anyway, next stop is Madrid for Christmas/Chanukah and New Year's!! Yaaay for lots of time with John (and his new kitten Uma) and Spanish fun fun fun! :)

But first I have to make it through the end of the semester. I'm not as worried as I might be about next semester, since I will be changing things around so much - I will be auditing International Art Law, and TAing Ancient Near Eastern Art, and hopefully actually starting the painting restoration with the Italians (security clearance is taking...soooo....looooong)and thus dropping some of my administrative duties, which are mainly the ones that make me want to turn violent. So even tho there will be less vaca time, it should be more fun. But the next three weeks of this semester seem interminable. I haaaate this scheduling crap. How did I ever get to be in charge of organizing other people, when anyone who knows me five minutes knows I can't even organize myself? At least not into any logical format compatible with anything else in the world.

Anyway, in other news, I tried this deal called "Hashing," on Friday, which is not what most of you are thinking right now. Hashers are apparently this international group of people, with local chapters in cities all over the world, who are self-proclaimed "drinkers with a running problem." Basically, they get together outside the city, in this case in the desert, and I assume in some other comparable wilderness situation elsewhere in the world, and run or hike all morning and then basically rehydrate with beer. And this is especially hilarious as these are mostly these professional, highly-succesful adults who are totally prestigious and all in the real world, and then just come run/hike and get crunk on the weekends. I was hiking (I'm more of a noncomittal jogger than a runner, so in a choice between 9K running up and down a lot of canyons and 6K hiking up and down a couple of canyons, I chose the latter) with a neurosurgeon, and international peacekeeper NGO people, and it was highly amusing. As was the fact that they sang some of the songs I knew from rugby during the drinking portion of the day! That was great. I plan to continue. :)

Ok, time to go study arabic and then go shopping for the gallery opening tomorrow, then hooooome. yawn. maybe we will finish Dangerous Beauty tonight, to which Larissa started to introduce us yesterday, but we fell asleep. or maybe sleep would be good too. either way, leaving now is optimal.

Current Mood: bored
Tuesday, November 7th, 2006
7:42 pm
RIP Pepper cat 1989-2006
C'est vivre et cesser de vivre qui sont des solutions imaginaires. L'existence est ailleurs.
~ André Breton

:(

Current Mood: sad
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