One Kilo of Bananas

If I could repeat last weekend, I definitely would.
Finally we had a weekend that I was looking forward to! So many fun things went down.
I am an organized person, so lets keep this in chronological order.
Not a joke.
Pastor Tom started planning a school-wide donkey basketball tournament about a month ago, and we have been impatiently keeping it under wraps since then. 
Some of you may be wondering, what is donkey basketball exactly?
Simple. Eight donkeys, ten players, one basketball. 
Four players on each team ride donkeys, while each team gets one "runner" to grab the ball should it fall on the ground. You are only allowed to score if you shoot while atop the donkey.
If you think it sounds hilarious, you are definitely right.
Every Saturday night we have Social, which is essentially a time for all the students and staff to hang out and play games, listen to music, and do whatever. We told the students we were planning something for social, but didn't say what. We told them all to be at front campus at 7:30 (which is after dark, here). While they gathered at the front, all of the staff (myself included) went and mounted our trusty donkey steeds. At 7:30 on the dot, we did it.
We put our donkeys into a fast trot and ran up on them to front campus, while yelling "ya! ya!" and stunning all of the students into hysterical laughter. 
Their reaction was so perfect. I was laughing so hard myself that I almost fell off my donkey.
At this, all 100+ students came running after us as we made our way to the basketball court, turned up the loud music, and trotted in a victory lap around the court.
So. Much. Goodness.
This began the tournament, which was a huge success. We played the staff against the ESL, freshman, sophomores, etc. 
The staff lost. None of us have practice riding donkeys!

Here I am, riding my donkey. I've kind of become the local donkey whisperer.

An action shot from the game. Look at Sara go with that ball, ready to make the shot!

Action shot round two. The ESL won the tournament, I think. Their donkey basketball skills are impressive.
At one point the funniest thing happened.
We borrowed most of the donkeys from farmers outside of the school, who kindly brought them over Saturday evening. They are all little Muslim men who wear galibayas (the men's dress) and little head turban-things and help out on the farm on campus.
Some of the men who brought the donkeys stayed to watch the game. None of them speak English, but I suppose you don't need to share a language to laugh at a silly girl with a basketball on a donkey.
When we went to swap out players on the donkey mid-game, we saw that all the donkeys were taken. Then we saw one of the cute old Muslim men trotting across the court on his donkey, basketball in hand.
ohmygoodness. priceless!
He decided he wanted to join our game to. It was so funny!

Ok. So after Saturday comes Sunday.
Sunday was our trip to the Khan Il-Khalili! I have been looking forward to this trip for many months now. The Khan Il-Khalili (pronounced with a hacked-up g/r combo, like in French. Kind of  like 'ghan il gha lee lee') is the HUGE market in downtown Cairo that sells all the local wares.
Imagine an Arabian nights type of deal. Shops piled full of spices, teas, scarves, galibayas, alabaster, and little trinkets. It was SO picturesque!

I adore that place. We spent nearly six hours there wandering the alleys and bartering with shop owners. Most of them speak enough English to settle on a price, but thanks to my several weeks of studying I now know enough Arabic to barter with them in Arabic. 
Here's the deal. I am clearly and American, and therefore a target for ultra-inflated shop prices. For example, I know that a scarf should range anywhere from 20-50 pounds depending on quality. If I go into a shop and ask for the price of a scarf though, I likely receive something in the 200-300 pound price range. 
They don't know that I know what the scarf should cost though, nor are they aware of the fact that I speak enough Arabic to bargain with them for an even better price. 
I am rising in ranks to the queen of bargaining.

This particular shop owner spent thirty minutes bargaining with me over the price of his scarves. He tried to convince me that some very nice silk scarves were worth 120 pounds apiece. I said no. After our thirty minutes, I had haggled them down to forty pounds each.
Smiling smugly inwardly.
He requested this photo of his "new friend" who is so good at bargaining.
I'm turning into a bargaining addict. I can't wait for the next trip.

Oh yeah, I got proposed to twice.
I'm not kidding. haha!
You see, I have the fairest skin of them all, and also green eyes. A winning combo. If I had blonde hair I would be the all around perfect woman.
I have gotten used to people shouting things at me in Arabic, whistling/cat calling at me, and saying little English phrases like "you're so beautiful" every time I walk down the street.
However, I don't have to talk to those people. When I am at the Khan, I have to talk with people.
So what happens when I enter willingly into conversations with old Egyptian men? I get offers for my hand in marriage. Three particular offers were particularly amusing.
1) The first man I encountered didn't propose to me, but he did try to convince me that we should be a couple. He said he had a wife, but "he would kill her for a chance to be with me." ... how sweet. Ha! When Sara responded with "yes, and then you would kill her for the next beautiful woman you meet," he definitely agreed. I think he sounds like good husband material ;)
2) The first marriage proposal I got was on the negative end of the spectrum. A man told me I was so beautiful, that he wanted to be my husband. Guess what he offered for my hand in marriage?
One kilo of bananas.
That's right.
One kilo of bananas to be my husband. I am simultaneously incredibly amused and slightly put-off!
3) The second marriage proposal I received was on the opposite end of the spectrum. A man asked how much he would have to give to marry me. His offer? Two million camels.
I almost accepted.
Just kidding.
I would need one kilo of bananas in addition to the two million camels in order to accept that offer.

I am currently taking bets as to the total number of marriage proposals I will receive in the upcoming months of my stay. Feel free to place yours in the comments section below!

The trip was great, and I can't wait to go back in another month or so to experience it all again.
The moral of the story?
If you want to marry me, please supply two million camels AND one kilo of bananas.

Also, here is a pretty picture of the Cairo skyline I took as we drove across a bridge. 
Have a great day/night!

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  1. Replies
    1. Challenge accepted. Although it doesn't count if you get all our friends at home to "propose" to me over Christmas break ;)

  2. Hmmm, I say 60! Though, you are worth 2 million camels, a kilo of banana, AND a flock of geese. Settle for nothing less!