Wednesday, July 9, 2008

New Blog

Since Bromfield is now inhabited by women, we have created a new blog at about our new house.


The Management

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Balkans and other stuff

I've spent the last two weeks travelling around the Balkans:

1)Women here are unbelievably attractive. Like at any given moment when you're walking down the street (especially in Serbia) you'll see a girl who would easily be a top-3 girl at Tufts. Except she doesn't stick out, because there are so many of them. Good deal for the Serbian guys I guess.

2) Belgrade isn't really the grey drab city I imagined. There are actually a lot of parks and stuff (though there's also a fair share of Soviet-era apartment buildings.)

3)These are my memories of my night out in Belgrade. Drinking and talking in the hostel (they have these 2l bottles of beer there for like a buck fifty), me getting ready to go to bed and then people saying they were still going out at like 12:45, going to some basement bar with Serbian rap music the some massive courtyard of these old Soviet apartment buildings smoking joints...somehow struggling back at 4am and passing out. It was a pretty solid night.

4) I'm going back in 5 days. I'm real excited to be back in America, and see everyone again. I've also already devised a schedule of my breakfast, lunch and dinner of Tufts area restaurants that I'm going to go/order from the first day I'm there. ( Broken Yolk, Tasty Gourmet, Andreas.) On the other hand, I am not looking forward to work/school. Over the past 6+ weeks I've had pretty much 0 responsibility or commitments. So having to go to a "job" (even if it's only the library) and attend "class" is probably not going to go well. Well either way, I'll see you guys in about a week. Later


Sunday, April 13, 2008


Squat Toilets: They have these all over Turkey and the Middle East, especially in the poorer/rural areas. I despise them. I've exercised bowel control I didn't know I had in order to not use them. There's also never toilet paper and instead a pitcherful of water next to them. I'm not exactly sure of the mechanics of how this is supposed to work, but I'm not really interested in finding out.

Fantasy Baseball: I'd say since I've been travelling I go on the internet 1-1.5 hours/day. Besides talking to people online the large majority of that time is dedicated to fantasy baseball. But even with this hour a day of fantasy baseball I still feel horribly unprepared. Clearly this means I need to get back to working at Ginn Library quickly in order to save my season.

Public Transport: I've been taking buses everywhere and I'm a big fan. Not only are they clean and have decent leg room, but they supply you with snacks and soft drinks like an airplane. And not even crappy airplane snacks, but this marble cake-like thing. It's delicious.

Turkish Food: Pretty much its just variations on grilled and fried meats. Which is excellent though I feel like any more time here would begin the descent into heart trouble. Though none of their meat is ever mixed with cheese. I don't get this. If I have an option of meat and meat with cheese unless I'm trying to be healthy I'll always pick meat with cheese. Someone should open a kebab shop here with that option. It would clean up.


Monday, April 7, 2008


Right now Im in Amasya Turkey which is as random as it sounds. This blogpost also wont feature commas or apostrophes because I cant fınd them on this keyboard-it also mıght feature a lot of i s that look lıke thıs ı because Turkish keyboards suck. Ok-heres what ive been up to.

Aquaba-Pretty much Sarasota Florıda in Jordan mınus any scantıly clad women but wıth equal the old people.

Petra-one of the sickest places I've ever been (sick I found the apostrophe button.) I don't want to be one of those "omg you have to go here people" but if youre ever randomly ın the Israel or Jordan area it's worth the trip. It' s basıcally an ancıent cıty carved ınto these sandstone slot canyons and once you see the maın cıty there are plenty of hikes in the area that give beautıful vıews and get you away from the multitude of tourists.

Amman-Not the most excitıng place in the world. I spent 3 days here-mostly on daytrips to surroundıng areas. However I dıd meet some interestıng people:

1)Ben-I met Ben on the minibus coming to Amman from Petra and we split a taxi to downtown. You know the tall sort of fat kıd from hıgh school that was always ırratıonally opinionated about stuff in social studies class. That was Ben. Unfortunately I had already agreed to go to this cheap hotel he knew about before I figured thıs out (wow that sentence looks really gay.) So for the whole day I was forced to listen/see things like this:
-watching him argue with a shopkeeper over a keychain of Israel that had Palestine written on it
-watchıng him buy an Iraqi flag hat and then where it throughout the city
-hearing him talk about an alcohol promotion company he suposedly started in San Francisco and then sold in exchange for a lifetime percentage of the profits (he was 25 and had just graduated from San Francisco State this winter because of "time off" for the aforementioned company)-im almost positıve this is a lie
-listening about how he picked up his current girlfriend at starbucks by slipping her his business card

2) so suffice ıt to say I was glad when I saw that someone else had moved into our dorm later that night. The new guy's name was Sam and he was a 2006 graduate of Brown. He had lived in Israel the past few months and was probably the most stereotypıcally looking Jew I had ever seen in my life. He was also a pretty big hippy-he had played on frisbee team-smoked lots of pot and was into organic food. However he liked sports and travelling and was overall a pretty cool guy so we got along pretty well. Also moving into the dorm was Steve who was Britısh and as he later dropped into the conversation had served in the British Army for 10 years including an advance force into Kosovo and in Iraq. In addition to this he had travelled around the world for a year and had a loaded girlfriend who was Jewish (huge plus obviously.) Anyway the point is thıs guy was a huge baller.

The last night in Amman I got pretty drunk for the first time in a while (I know the opposite of what's supposed to happen on study abroad.) The three of us went to this bar hidden in a bookstore. You walk in this small bookstore on this abandoned street and theres a security guy standing in front of what looks like a closet door. Except when you go up the stairs you enter this really upscale looking bar/lounge with a lot of uncovered and relative sluttily dressed women (huge plus in the Arab world.)

Istanbul-2 days ago I flew from Amman to Istanbul. Istanbul is really modern-essentially completely European. Aside from being really pretty in general-it had a sick pedestrian walkway with tons of bars cafes and restaurants. There were so many people walking down it that I literally thought I had stumbled into a demonstration. Im looking forward to coming back there in a couple of weeks.

Ankara-I took a bus here yesterday. The landscape was really cool-rolling green hills. I also saw random patches of snow on the ground in some of the higher parts. This doesnt bode well for my trip further east wıth towns at 6000ft+ since my only wınter clothing is a rainjacket. Downtown Ankara is really nice and has a really energetic vibe to it. Unfortunately the cheap hotels are in the sketchy northern section. For the still absurdly high price of 15 bucks I got a shared squat toilet-a Turkısh business man busting into my room at 630AM to ask if I had any shampoo (or I think thats what he was motioning for with his hand gestures and this was partially my fault since I forgot to lock the door)-and was afraid to walk in more than a 2 block radius from my hotel for fear of being mugged. This morning I visited Ataturk's (the founder of Turkey) Mausoleum. It was creepy. The museum was essentially pictures of him in heroic pose accompanied by what I can only describe as Nazi march music.

Earlier today I took the 6 hour busride to Amasya and now I'm here for another 2 days. Then I head East eventually flying back from Van on April 15th. Or at least that's the plan.


Monday, March 31, 2008

Long Day

So on Saturday I left Cairo for good and started my trip through the Middle East, the following is an after-the-fact diary of the longest day I've ever had.

8:30: I get to the bus station 2 hours early because I thought the bus left earlier than it did
10:30: After reading maybe 20 pages in the past 2 hours I board the bus (sidenote: I was reading The Education of Henry Adams, which is as boring as it sounds. I don't know why I was reading it except I brought it from home in my pre-trip maybe I'll read hard books when I'm abroad phase-that phase ended quickly. Anyway the point is I was like halfway through, and decided that it would be stupid to stop, so instead I decided to grind out the rest. Except the rest was like 150 pages. Poor decision on my part.)
10:35: It looks like I have 2 seats next to me to myself. Score.
10:36: The fat middle-aged Egyptian man in the seat next to me decides he wants to practice his English and asks if he can sit next to me. After a few seconds past and I fail to find a reason why not, I begrudingly say yes.
11:30: I've spent the last hour talking about this man's family, job, and what America is not. He also told me he had no interest in going to America, and then asked me about almost every conceivable scenario for getting a visa/green card. I assume the conversation must end soon.
12:30: He's still going. Now asking in detail what the earning potential of accountants (he's an accountant) in America is. He also asks about American movie stars. His way of learning English is to repeat words to himself then spell them out loud. ("Chaos. C-h-a-o-s. Can you use that in a sentence for me?")
1:30: After a brief pause in the conversation I close my eyes and pretend to sleep. At a rest stop I sort of array myself across the seat hoping he'll go back to his old seat when he gets on. He doesn't
2:00: I'm awakened by the bus driving blaring an Egyptian Musical on the TV. Why he's doing this I don't know. But Egyptian bus drivers love to blast random movies at random times at night, I've come to find.
5:00: I finally resign myself to not sleeping. The guy next to me after seeing me wake up (I'm pretty sure he didn't sleep all night): "You sure slept a lot."
5:30: We reach the Red Sea. It's pretty.
6:30: We reach Nuweiba, which is where I get off. I am now going to take a ferry to Aquaba, Jordan.
6:45: I sit on the steps outside the bus plaza area waiting the 1.5 hours until the ferry ticket window opens, I'm joined by probably 300 other Egyptians. It looks like a refugee collection area. This will be a recurring theme.
8:30: I buy my ticket. It costs $70. This seems kind of exorbitant, but since there are no other options I agree. There are no ferry schedules posted anywhere, which in retrospect was a pretty ominous sign. I ask the man when the ferry leaves, and he tells me to wait in the port.
9:00: I enter the Ferry waiting room. It looks like a slightly less extreme version of a deportation center to a concentration camp. It's in a warehouse sized room. There are benches for half the people. The rest are lying on the dirty cement floor. Some are sleeping and are covered in flies. I hope I will not stay here long.
9:05: I settle in on the floor near a group of Syrian painters returning back to Syria. They are pretty friendly.
10:05: I get through 10 more pages through Henry Adams no announcements on leave times
11:05: Nothing's changed. Except a guard comes in periodically and yells at people to stop talking, and pushes people who gets in his way. He's also really short. I think he's on a massive power trip.
11:30: Still nothing, I ask and get told that we will leave at 1.
12:30: Signs that Egypt has made me racist: I start wondering why they don't have a separate area for foreigners
1:00: Still nothing except the Syrians have started to give each other massages: (sidenote: they were also alternating giving each other massages. The amount of homo-eroticism in Egypt still sort of weirds me out. Men always hold each others hands or links arms as they walk about. But none of them are gay. It's weird.)
2:00: I ask again and am told we will leave at 4, at this point, the lack of sleep, heat and flies are starting to get to me
3:00: Signs that Egypt is racist: Some other foreigners walk outside, so I follow them. The guard lets me wait outside. It's now completely segregated with all the Egyptians inside and all the Foreigners outside
4:00: We board a bus to bring us to the boat. The man at the boat tells me I can't board because I was supposed to have gotten an departure stamp somewhere else in the port. When I ask where he vaguely points "there." After asking 2 more people and getting 2 more vague points I find the building. I also am ready to hit someone.
4:45: I enter the office and the man tells me he is not stamping right now, but if I come back later he can stamp. When I inform him that I have a boat leaving, he says there is another one at 8pm (given what I've seen over the past few hours I don't believe this at all.)
4:48: I start yelling that there's no way I'm not getting this passport stamped. The man gives in, but then comes back a few minutes later to tell me that he can't find the man who enters the names into the computer. When I say maybe he can just write down my name and enter it later, he laughs. I am not pleased.
5:00: I am pacing around the room certain that the boat will leave. The Jordanian woman who also needs a stamp's daughter starts crying. When her mom asks why, the daughter comes over and whispers something and then they look at me. I take this as a sign to calm down.
5:15: The man returns with a stamp. I set off running the 400 meters to the boat. My sleeping bag starts unravelling from the bottom of the backpack where I strapped it. I don't care. There's no way I'm going through this hell again.
5:20: I make the boat. The man tells me the fast one is finished boarding even though it's sitting right there. I argue, until I realize some boat is better than no boat.
5:30: Boat leaves
8:00 We reach Jordan. The oddessey is over. I sleep for a long time.

After spending last night in Aquaba, I am now in Petra. It's definitely the coolest place I've ever seen. Hopefully I'll have pictures up on facebook soon.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Update from Egypt

Ok I haven't posted in a few weeks, so this might be a little long.

Last weekend, I went to a concert at the Pyramids. It was some French rap group I had never heard of (Iam,) celebrating their 20th aniversary. Evidently, they're a pretty big deal in France, but it's not particularly surprising I didn't know them such I know a total of 0 French rap groups. But I went because the idea of a concert at the pyramids sounded sick to me, and my friend spoke French, so I figured I wouldn't be totally lost. And it actually was really awesome. It was one of those rare things that you hype up and then it actually lives up to expectations. I have pictures of it on facebook, but it was just felt really surreal to be standing there, listening to people rap, as the sunset on the pyramids. For the last song they brought out part of the Cairo Philharmonic Orchestra and a traditional Arabic music group and they all played together with Iam. The synthesis actually sounded pretty cool. The French rap was pretty catchy, much less "gangsta" than American rap, but still good.

Last week some people in my class skipped class and went to the zoo. The Cairo Zoo was supposedly world-class like 30 or 40 years ago, but now it's decayed significantly. It also has the most random layout I've ever seen. As well as not putting related animals near each other, they have multiple cages of the same animals spread out through the zoo. I'm pretty sure I walked by 3 or 4 different peacock cages. They also keep the biggest animals in the smallest cages. I assume this is so the people can see them, but it's pretty depressing. They keep their only elephant chained to a fence, on a chain so short that it can't really move. And they keep their bears, in these small dark, dingy cages, with water perpetually falling from the ceilings. I'm pretty sure it would border on animal cruelty in America. However, the Cairo Zoo's lax standards did have some upsides. For example it only cost 20 cents to enter, and we were able to come right up to the bearcage and feed/pet the bears for 60 cents each. I'm pretty sure if we had given enough money we could've gone into the cages with them. It's nice living in a non-lawsuit happy society sometimes.

Also last week, my arabic teacher dedicated an hour of one class to teaching us belly-dancing (he used to be a belly-dancing teacher-he's a little sketchy.) Anyways, as you can imagine I was sort of a trainwreck. I got a lot of "SAM, what are you doing?" but I think I mastered some moves by the end, so maybe I'll have something special to bust out on the dance floor this summer.

This past weekend I took a trip to Siwa. I couldn't find anyone else who wanted to go so I went alone. Siwa is an oasis about 500 miles away from Cairo close to the Lybian border. To get there, you have to change buses at this random beach town called Marsa Matruh, which is 5 hours from Cairo. I took the 10 pm bus on Wednesday night, because I didn't want to waste a whole day just getting to Siwa, since I had to be back in Cairo by Sunday. However, the first bus to Siwa didn't leave till 7am, so I was facing a 4 hour layover in the middle of the night, in some small town in the middle of Egypt. Probably not the smartest decision in retrospect...So the bus pulls up at 4am, I get off, shivering (it gets cold in the desert at night and the buses don't have heat) and exhausted (Egyptian buses are pretty crappy and it's really hard to sleep on them) and look around. Luckily there's a random stretch of like 3 24 hour cafes across the street. I quickly ordered tea and started to warm up. I met 3 other Americans and 3 Italians also going to Siwa. I spoke Spanish to the Italians, and they were able to somewhat understand me. It sort of legitimated my last 9 years of studying of Spanish. Blackhawk Down was on the TV in English. A line from Seinfeld kept going through my head (which I'll get from Imdb, because I don't have anything better to do)
Jerry: Are you sure you want to get married? I mean, it's a big change of life.
Elaine: Jerry, it's 3 a.m. and I'm at a cock fight. What am I clinging to?

Except substitute cockfight for watching Blackhawk Down in a random cafe in a dead Egyptian town.

The bus came and 4 hours later I got to Siwa. There are no towns or anything besides a few military checkpoints between the two towns. All you pass on the road is just flat desert as far as you can see in every direction. Then finally you reach this enormous grove of palm trees. I think it's like 40 x 20 miles or something like that. Siwa is a small old town right in the middle of the oasis. Half the people still used donkey carts for transportation and DSL hadn't reached it yet. It was that kind of town. The first day I biked around and went to the main sights around town (the ruins of a temple of an oracle that Alexander the Great went to see, a big oddly colored salt lake, and a ruined fortress in the center of town.) My hotel room was pretty gross, but it was only 7 dollars, and I was way too tired to care.

The next morning I met up with one of the Italian girls and biked to the Mountain of the Dead, which was full of tombs from Ancient Egypt, and had a great view over the entire oasis. In the afternoon I had arranged to go on a desert tour with the 3 Americans I had met on the bus. So at 3pm we pile into this ancient looking toyota land cruiser and head off to the desert. Right at the end of town the dunes start. It looked just like the mental image I had of the Sahara Desert with enormous dunes going on and on into the distance, and a bright blue sky with no clouds. Our first stop was to go sandboarding. To go sandboarding you climb onto a crappier version of a sandboard and go down a steep dune. It was pretty cool and I got going pretty fast until I wiped out at the bottom. However we each only got to go a few times, cause the wind was really strong and was blowing sand everywhere. Next we went to a hot and cold spring. It was an odd feeling to be swimming, when everywhere you looked around were huge dunes of sand. After this we were going to go to a "special spot" to watch the sunset, but just as we were about to go down a huge dune (as the jeep went down the dunes there was a split second when you looked out the front windshield and could see nothing but air, it looked really cool.) the driver slammed on the breaks and said something was wrong with the truck. He fixed it, but we had to watch the sunset from where we were.

Finally we reached the desert camp where we were going to stay the night. The camp was not really what was advertised, since it was at the very edge of the desert, and was shared by a bunch of other groups. We mostly just hung out and played euchre. 2 of the americans were really cool (one had just graduated from Swarthmore last fall and the other one was named Sam, so he was automatically pretty awesome,) but the 3rd one was one of the biggest tools I had ever met. Like Gary, if you read this, he was a bigger tool than those kids we played beruit against at that random house on Bromfield. While trying to explain Euchre he dropped lines like these?

"So are you guys familiar with the rules of War? Good, that's an excellent starting point to begin learning euchre."
"You can think of the trump suit as sort of a superhero suit"
"In high school I was known as the king of making cheesecakes"
These were all said in Gay/Hipster accent. If anyone from Guilford reads this he was like an 1000x worse version of Colman.

We slept in tents but the bugs were horrible, and I maybe slept an hour all night. The next morning I got a ride back to town to try to make the 10am bus. Unfortunately when I arrived, I was informed that there was no 10am bus. So instead me, and this spanish couple who were also waiting got into a minibus. A minibus is basically the size of a road trip van except way more packed. The minibus took us to Minus Matruh. Then we got another minibus there filled with Egyptian Electricians returning from Lybia, and 6 hours later we were in Cairo. That last minibus was one of the hottest places I've ever been, and I was happy to get out of there. The Spanish couple was pretty cool, they had been all over the world, so I was distracted a lot of the trip listening to them talk about that.

Finally, exhausted, I reached my apartment at 8:30 PM only to find my key not work. Since I was working off of like 10 hours of sleep in the previous 3 nights I sort of lost it. After repeatedly kicking the door, I finally was able to get in on a kick/key turn combo, and collapsed onto my couch. And slept for like 12 hours. It was amazing.


Sunday, March 9, 2008

An Email from David Tilton (and Friends???)

Hey Sam and Mike,
How's Egypt Sam? Don't tell Mike, but I love you and I want your BABIES. Please deliver said babies by the time this email arrives at your portal. Otherwise, much grease shall ensnare your pyramid. Here is thine code: sassojolly4611500spiffyandwhorishhorseyellowzombiwcreaturedefinedinamongstcellularcontextintheelephantparadeofyesteryear.
There. There, there there. Memorize inside yourself beside the moonlight of the seventh hour. Regards of this.
together, we are
know it
love it
it knows
make love to it

Damn. I miss Tufts. Also there were hearts stuck in the middle. But I had to delete them because the carrot fucked with the Html or something.

p.s. someone else should start posting on this blog too. Skye????