Today I woke up at 5:30 am. It was gorgeously pleasant outside, and too early even for sunglasses.
At around 8:00, after picking up a dozen or so MA Egyptology students, Egyptology teachers and undergrads, we arrived at the Memphis Field School at Mit Rahina for a tour. (to read more and see a few pictures: http://www.aeraweb.org/blog/2011-field-season/moving-to-memphis/)
After a thrilling and informational tour of the field school we were dropped off at the Memphis Museum – a small building housing an enormous statue of Ramesses II, and a “garden” filled with more statuary from Memphis. The last time I visited this museum was with my father in 2006; many happy memories ensued. I revisited the spot I ate my first date, saw the silk carpet “school” we toured in ’06, and even the store I bought my first touristy painted papyrus of King Tut. I couldn’t believe that this time I was there as an MA student.
I was dropped off at the downtown AUC campus (not the campus I have classes on) around noon and took a lovely nap in the sunshine and grass, interrupted only by some protesters chanting in Tahrir and some police noisily donning their helmets and riot shields. Blissful.
Brice and I shared peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and some Borio cookies (remarkably similar to Oreos…) before walking to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. We walked around the small group of protesters and the large group of police, wondering what they were protesting this time. It has become a weekly festival – demonstrating for the excitement of the group-think or because they haven’t realized that the Freedom of Speech doesn’t have to be practiced publicly once a week. Rumor has it Sean Penn was in town yesterday and joined in the protests.
Seeing the large pink museum building felt remarkably like seeing an old friend whom I’d forgotten how much I loved in their absence. After I met with the sparse few from my Art and Architecture class who bothered to show up, we sat in the entry way hall filled with sarcophagi and statuary. I felt like I’d never left; part of me had stayed there among the poorly labeled artifacts, and only now after five years have I become whole again. I tried to impress Brice with my new knowledge of hieroglyphs and other facts I hoped he didn’t mind hearing.
After a taxi ride (in which we were ripped off $1.68 even after he had agreed to the original price) we were dropped off in what appeared to be another forming protest: mobs of people yelling and inhibiting the flow of cars… but these mobs were waving flags, but not Egyptian flags. And then we realized: these were the crowds gathering for the football match in a few hours. Smiles on every face, matching t-shirts, face paint, children happy to be caught up in the excitement their whole family was sharing.
I arrived home at 7 pm, to an especially fluffy-looking kitten who, like the wonderful girl I know she is, did not poop anywhere on the floor while we were gone. Good, Nubia.
My life is too cool.