All / Originally Posted on Skirt

Sequoia

I went to see my pulmonologist the other day, who was very pleased with the progress my lungs have made on the new ferris wheel o’ drugs I’ve been taking.  I’m even allowed to stop taking the vile syrup, hallelujah!  However, I did complain about a mysterious lump-type feeling in my throat.  He’d previously instructed me to gargle after taking one of my inhalers because it can cause swelling in the throat, so I thought this might be the cause.  

When I brought it up the doctor looked at me suspiciously.  “Have you been gargling?”  Yes.  “Have you been gargling well?”  I thought so anyway.  Then I revealed that the lump is so big it sometimes makes me gag just while I’m sitting around.  He looked startled, then proscribed me a medicated mouthwash which has the presumption in its instructional pamphlet to call itself “pleasant-tasting.”  Iodine with the slightest whisper of mint is not my personal idea of a good time, but it does seem to be helping my throat.

Sadly the pollution has not undergone a miraculous and sudden withdrawal since I last wrote about it.  In London people have an expression to describe the soot that gets in the nose from riding the Underground: Tube snot.  Most people find after riding the Tube that blowing their nose produces a blackish residue in their kleenex.  Here in Cairo it’s like that all the time, plus it gets under my fingernails, making them look permanently grimy despite repeated scrubbing.  I feel like a street urchin.

But I am in fact a research student and to that end yesterday I had the chance to do a recorded interview with my friend Samantha, the dance teacher I’ve spoken about before who lives out by the pyramids.  I was a little nervous about doing the interview itself; even though Samantha’s a friend and we’ve spoken many times in the past, it’s different trying to steer the conversation in such a way that you obtain relevant data, and people often behave differently when there’s a microphone around. 

I was more nervous, though, about the digital voice recorder I bought for recording my interviews with.  I knew the thing worked because I’d tested it, but I wasn’t sure how the sound quality would be in the busy cafe where we’d met and I worried that after the interview I’d somehow manage to erase the file. 

Everything in fact went fine up until the point I tried to transfer the file to my computer.  Then I got stuck.  Luckily it was just a matter of reinstalling the software for the device, and now  I have Samantha’s interview safely tucked away in my hard drive.  I’d prefer to have it safely tucked away into my University storage space as well, but that doesn’t seem to be working at the moment.  Win some, lose some.

After the interview, I went out with my roommates to celebrate Eva’s birthday.  We went to the famous Sequoia restaurant on the northern tip of Zamalek.  The full moon rose over the water as we sat in a white tent with a panoramic view of the houseboats on the Imbaba side, Imbaba bridge, and the Nile City Towers on the other side.  We stuffed ourselves with the various culinary delights Sequoia had on offer then heavily took the ten-minute walk back to our apartment, though not before seriously discussing the possibility of taking a taxi.

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