Saturday, December 31, 2005


I went to Rome recently with my German cousins and it was great. Over the Christmas holiday I flew to Rome and then took a train to Germany to spend time with my family there. I spent about five days in Germany and then flew to Rome with my cousins. Germany was very nice and relaxing, but unfortunately I didn't get any good pictures.

Rome was very fun. The first day there by the time we were checked into the hotel it was dark already so we decided it would be best to wait to sightsee and just to walk around that night. We walked past many things and finally got to Piazza Navona. Our hostels clerk had told us that there were some nice pubs that way and we might run into some shopping. On the way it started to rain. So we quickly looked for the first place to duck into. We found a little pub just off the main Piazza and ordered a drink. There were not many people there, but the staff seemed friendly and we were happy to be out of the rain, so we stayed. The later it became the more people showed up. By the end of the night we were in a mix of people it was so much fun. Everyone had there primary language and then a grasp of some others. French, Italian, Arabic, German, and English all mixing together and somehow being understood. At one point I wanted to say something to the French woman I was talking to but she didn’t understand me. I turned to my cousin and spoke to him in English, he then turned to the man next to him and spoke in German, and he then turned to the French woman and told her in Italian! (Telephone) It was a great night and needless to say we didn't get up very early the next day.

The following day one of my cousins and I went on a walking tour of the ancient parts of Rome. We saw the coliseum, Constantine's gait, the Forum, Caesar’s tomb, Trevi fountain, and many more equally interesting spots. Although we left a little early because it was so cold and it started to hail. That night we just stayed around the hotel and its area resting and cursing the fatigue left over from the night before with a promise to get up early and make the most of the next day.

The last full day we woke a little late, but not too late, still with plenty of time to see many things. We decided to walk and take the metro and see as much as we could. We started out going to the Spanish Stairs, then to the Vatican. The Vatican had many things to see, but oh the people! The lines were long. To see the Sistine you had to wait in a two hour line! I wanted to see it so badly, but we agreed it would be best to try and see more of other things since time was short. We saw inside St. Peter's Basilica, the tomb of John Paul II, the place were Peter is buried and the dome of St. Peter's. It was all very interesting. We then decided to start walking back along the Tiber. Not too far along it began to rain heavily again. We all decided it was best to cut it short and go to the coliseum again to see if we could get inside. By the time we got there it was closed, but that was ok. By that point we were very tired and ready for dinner. I had to get up early the next day, but wanted to spend time with my cousins. We had drinks until late and then said goodnight to Rome.

I must not have heard the alarm because by the time I got showered and dressed I was half an hour behind schedule. I got to the train station and missed my train and had to wait another half an hour for the next one. By the time I got to the airport I had thirty five minutes until take off. When I went to the Alitalia desk they told me I was too late. After arguing I got them to give me my ticket as they said, "You have five minutes to get to gate C2, which is on the other side of the airport, you had better run." So I did. I ran and ran, through checkpoints and stopping to take my scissors. Through throngs of people. On a tram and around gates. Twenty minutes later I arrived at my gate to discover boarding was done, but the plane was still there. After some talking to a stewardess with the help of a fellow traveler, I got on the plane, the last person on the plane.

Rome was fun, but a little expensive. I want to go back again, but hopefully when the weather is nicer and with more money in my pocket. I would recommend going to anyone. Although I would also recommend that you spend at least 5 days and ideally 10-14 days to see the city and know the people a little better. Germany was great and Rome was great and it was very nice to be with family.

Monday, November 28, 2005

What Did You Do For Thanksgiving?

After almost four months here I finally got out to see the pyramids at Giza. It was pretty interesting, but at the same time it was oddly disappointing. We rode horses around the area which was nice. You can actually go right up to the pyramids and touch them if you like, which I did, and then I stole a bunch of pieces from it. There are three large pyramids and then a number of smaller ones surrounding them. Surrounding the entire area are dwellings built into the rock where slaves lived or were buried. I'm not sure because our guide was not clear. The most surprising thing of all was the Sphinx. It was much smaller than I thought it would be. It was about the size of a two trailer homes put together with a big bulbous head. Incredible, yet plausible.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

At Fishawly's In the Khan

Khan el Khalily is the biggest bazaar in Cairo. It has anything that any tourist would ever want. Plus, it is the heart of the old city. Hence, many of the buildings and the mosques in the area range in age from a couple hundred to over a thousand years old. The cafe we are in, Fishawly's, for example, has been open continiously for three hundred years or so. Imagine a place that has been open longer than your country has existed. When put this way it really rings true how young our country is compared to the rest of the world.

Happy Thanksgiving

On Wednesday my school had a Thanksgiving celebration. Homerooms were to decorate their rooms and if theirs was the best the would win and get a pizza party or something. One of my students had asked me if he could bring in a turkey and if I could get a box to put it in because he had an idea for a display in our room. I said yes, thinking that this turkey would be made of paper, or wood, or something inanimate. The next day I came in to find a live turkey! Apparently I told my student it was ok, and that I would get a cage for it, and that I would give him extra credit for it. Doesn't sound like me, but mabye? It was really funny. Despite my pleas with the administrators we still got second place and that was because of "artistic amibition" :)

Alexandria; Part II

Since my friend got here I have gone to see some more of the sites in Egypt. We went back to Alexandria taking the train first class. The trains here are very cheap. First class is only 5 US per person! We had no reservation when we got there, but as always happens luck followed me. We found a nice place right on the bay for about 12 US a night! It was very beautiful. The next day we went to various touristy spots like the Roman Theater, a WWI grave yard, The Catacombs, and Pompey's Pillar. It was a nice day overall. Most places I got to take pictures in. Unfortunately I did not get to take pictures in the catacombs which was probably the most interesting place. There were many underground rooms and for the purpose of storing bodies of the earliest Egyptian Christians. Since then I have taken her to Khan-El-Khalily and the Pyramids. We were going to go to Luxor, but decided instead to stay with our friends in Maadi for Thanksgiving.

Having her here has been very nice and I thank God that she had a safe trip here and will have a good trip home. She is having a good time, I think, at least that is what she tells me. I hope that some of you may find the time to visit me as well. It is very much a comfort to share my life here with those I care about most.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Coptic Cairo

The other weekend I went to Coptic Cairo with a few friends. I was feeling under the weather and so did not have a good a time as maybe I should have, but it was still a nice trip. Lucky for me I will probably go again in a week and then I know that I will go again in a week after that. For those of you who don’t know what Coptic is I will give you a vague definition. The Copts are the native Christian religion here in Egypt. The country is mainly Muslim, about ninety percent I would guess. The other ten percent is mainly Coptic Christians with a few other little groups thrown in to round out the whole bit. The Copts are most like what we may think of as an orthodox Christian religion. For those of you who don’t know what the difference is the Orthodox Church is the result of a schism in the Christian church around the time of Constantine and the council at Nicomedia somewhere in the fifth century AD. For those of you who don’t know what a schism is, look it up.

Anyway, the Copts have been worshipping in Egypt for a long time. Some of the churches we went into had signs saying stuff like, “This is the catacomb in which the holy family (Mary, Joseph, and Jesus) stayed for a short time.” Kind of cool, I’m skeptical, but still kind of cool. We also went to a number of really really old churches. The one in the pictures with the two steeples is called the hanging church. It is called this because it literally has nothing underneath. It is built on stilts above water level and so is “hanging” in the air. In the church floor are little slots where you can look below and see water below. Makes sense considering how close to the Nile the church is. Some other highlights were going into one of the only synagogues in Cairo (Egyptians hate Israel for obvious reasons) and see and old Roman wall, which unfortunately I did not get a picture of. Maybe I will get the picture next time.

It was nice to be in a Christian area, but also a little unnerving. To be in a place that is more densely foreigners than other places was strange. I really don’t like being around others like me, it is strange and doesn’t feel right. It is sort of like, “One of these things is not like the others.”

The Cemetery

The cemetery we went to in Coptic Cairo was one that is still in use. Crosses made of twigs bound together and crumbling angels adorned small domed tombs. Some had pictures and dates on the outside; some were still waiting for more visitors. The passage ways were narrow dirt roads and intermittently there would be a tree growing next to a tomb. The berries of these trees are no doubt supplemented by its surrounding nourishment. Being here was strangely disturbing as it is when I enter any cemetery, but also comforting to see the crosses atop the tombs.

Traffic Jam

When I first got to Cairo it seemed to me that the traffic here was mad. There are no traffic signals, no signaling during traffic, no stop signs, no lanes, no headlights at night, no pedestrian crossings. For the first few weeks I flinched everytime I took a cab ride. However, since then being almost killed in traffic everyday has become as common as the guys across the street with the machine guns.

The other day however I was jolted back to reality a bit. Often we will see car wrecks but never any real carnage. On the way home from work we were caught in a traffic jam on the highway. During our wait my freind, the driver, said, "Some one better be dead if I have to wait this long." Wish granted. Here in Cairo people will run across four lanes of highway traffice to jump a median and go through four more lanes of traffic. Assuming you do this all the time, eventually fate will catch you. Its not just men who do it, but children, women, and the ederly. The day before this the car in front of our bus was going about fifty miles and hour and tore it's mirror off by clipping an old lady crossing the highway. We were all stunned that she wasn't flattened. This day however our subject was not as lucky. As we rolled slowly by we saw first a group of people at the median in a circle. In the middle was a man in a galabaya wailing. A small distance down the road was a corpse covered in newspaper, a small corpse. This however did not slag our thirst. Where was the car that hit that person? A short while later we happend upon a military van with the front end compacted and all the windows blown out. The vechile must not have slowed down at all because there were no skid marks.

I can truthfully say that unless I find myself at gunpoint someday my rides to and from work every morning are probably the most dangerous times of my life.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Hey Everybody

I changed my settings a little bit. Now at the bottom of each post is what looks like an envelope. If you click on this you can send the post to a friend.

Arctic Expedition Beard

I shaved off my beard this past week. Lucky for all of you I did it slowly and with documentation. Plus, I was bored. After shaving it off though I ultimately regretted it. I now live in a culture that values men with beards. Most of the students at school were not happy to have a cleaned faced younger looking Mr. Hurley. They wanted the beard back and I agree. I miss the beard. So I have to say, "I'm sorry beard, don't worry, we'll meet again some day soon."

I wanted to to know what you think or which one you liked best so please look through the pictures and let me know. The beard is my favorite, Mustache Ride is my least.

Hey Goat!!

Who Wants a Mustache Ride?

License and Registration Please


Sunday, November 06, 2005

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

These are a few of my favorite sunny places, my porch, or rather part of it and my favorite street which is on the way to a freinds house. It is places like this that are nice and quiet. I like to spend as much time here as possible.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Can You Get In?

You Passed the US Citizenship Test

Congratulations - you got 10 out of 10 correct!

Even better! I once saw a statistic that only 46% of Americans could find America on a world map! Try this one and let me know how you did. Go to the bottom of the entry to the purple and click

You Are Thirty Years Old

I was trying this on a freinds site and thought that it would fun to put on my own. No suprise here. The average age of my freinds is somewhere in the thirties so it seems only appropriate that I am too. If you want to give it a try go to the link in purple at the bottom of this entry.
You Are 30 Years Old

Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Did You See That?

Hmmm.... I wonder what it is like in there? Occasionally I will find some signs in english that just make you wonder who wrote/made the sign to begin with.

Saturday, October 29, 2005


Habibi means darling or dear. The joke is that Mayumi is my habibi. When her mom asks, "who is your habibi?" She usually responds, "kevin" Sometimes we are fighting and she says someone else.;) Now it is on a whole new level because not only are we dating but now, but(as you can see in the picture) we are sleeping together too. :)

All Hallow's Eve

Sorry that I haven't posted in a while. Nothing much has been going on, or rather I have had little money because I am saving for an freinds upcoming visit. Since the last time I posted I have booked a flight to Rome for Christmas. I will be flying to Rome, then to Basel to meet with family. I will stay with the family for Christmas and then go back to Rome for a few days with my cousins before I fly out of Rome. So some time in early January I should have some neat pictures of that trip. I am really excited to go and it will be very nice to spend the holidays with family!

Last night I went to a Halloween party with a few freinds. It was pretty fun although I don't really remember the last hour or so before I went to bed! In a last minute effort to get a costume I threw on some sheets and sandals and went as a Roman. There were a couple of other toga clad peoples but I think that mine was the best, or at least I made it look the best. ;)

Friday, October 21, 2005

Sunday, October 09, 2005


Alexandria certainly is an interesting and beautiful place. It is much smaller than Cairo ( about six million) and it shows. The Mediterranean is beautiful. When we first arrived we parked the car and walked to the beach, which is right next to the apartment. Upon seeing the sea it reminded me very much of home. That sea smell, blowing winds, and the sand between my toes. A place where the sky meets the earth in an infinite way. It is moments like these that remind me how large the world really is. How small we are in comparison to it.

This is the first time that I have really felt home sick. It makes me realize all of the people that are watching me from home. Waiting to see how I am or what adventure I will have next. In the same breadth it occurs to me that I may never really be home. I am always thinking of what the next step is. There are many things that come to mind, but none of them are returning to the place I have left.

Teaching here is frustrating and, as my roommate says, “Doing a good job here is like peeing your pants in a dark suite, you get a warm feeling but no one notices.” There are only a handful of kids that really make it worth it to go to the school everyday. Students who actually want to learn are nice to have. It is those students that keep my spirits up.

Interim reports came out this week and students got to see their mid-quarter grades and some comments from teachers. I had a lot of students complain, but the last one I talked to made my day, week, month worth it. She came to thank me for giving her nice comments, tell me that she really enjoyed my class, and that I was a good teacher. I told her that she was an excellent student and should consider going to a school where her talents would be better developed. We had a short discussion that ended with me saying, “This school does not deserve you, you are wasting your time here, and you should go somewhere that will appreciate your talent.” To which she replied, “Mr. Hurley, this school does not deserve you, you are wasting your time here, and you should go somewhere that will appreciate your talent.”… hmmm Alexandria next year?

Welcome To Alexandria

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Happy Birthday Mom

Today, October 4th, is the first day of Ramadan. All the kids in school were sluggish as was I. I have decided to keep in tradition with Ramadan and fast all day. This means nothing passes the lips from sun up to sundown. I have also started to read the Koran. There is some pretty interesting stuff in there. However, it is hard to read a translation becaue some of the meaning gets lost. Sort of like taking a Latin bible and translating it into english. Some words do not carry over.

This weekend I will be going up too Alexandria where a I will take lots of pictures and swim in the Mediteranean. It is a good thing too because the kids are starting to get to me. It is hard to explain, but the kids have no problem solving skills. I gave a quiz the other day and one answer I got went like this.

1. In what year was Martin Luther King shot and killed?

He was shot in 2057.

I mean seriously!! That year hasn't even happened yet! The student just didn't think. That seems to be the case on all fronts. If I put a bucket of water at the front of the room and then lit the room on fire they wouldn't be able to figure it out.