It is official- I have had my first dinner guests. I am all settled into my new apartment and couldn’t be happier. It is clean and comfortable, and the perfect size for one person. I selected “apartment number 3”- the one bedroom furnished place by the sea in Ain el Mressieh.
Earlier this week a woman and her husband moved into the other apartment on my floor. She is a PhD candidate and a professor told me she was in a bad situation and needed a new place- I knew there was an open apartment and brought her to see the place. They moved in the next day! So now I have neighbors whom I like, which makes the place even better. We made dinner together last night and it was wonderful.
After dinner, we went for a walk. I now live in the neighborhood which I wrote about in my Research Methods class As we were walking by the terraced property in the shadows of the high rise tower going up, I pointed out these huge bunnies that were hopping around. I had seen them out before nibbling grass, but I didn’t know who they belonged to. While we were talking about the bunnies, a man came up an said “do you want to see them?” I said, “No!” because they are huge and terrifying. But, he went inside and brought back a baby and shoved it in my hands.
We end up going inside- the building is actually the site managers (and bunny enthusiasts) office. He has a little garden in back with about 6 imported huge fancy rabbits, a fish tank with piranhas and backlit rose bushes. It was quite surreal. So, being the little urban planning enthusiast that I have become, I used the bunny small talk as an inroad.
The terracing that I spoke of, and the trees- they were his idea. Because the building will take multiple years to put up, he wanted a nice environment to work in. Most of what I thought was old squatter residences are really worker residences- mostly from Syria. There is a house where “poor people” live- he seemed to let them stay for the time being in exchange for looking over the property and apparently doing his laundry.
The Syrian workers actually reside on a large portion of the property, so I asked what was going to be built there, and he said nothing for now. They are going to keep housing the Syrians there and bus them to other areas of the city because the same company is putting up 7 other buildings that need workers. I wonder how the new residents of the luxury tower are going to feel about the Syrian shantytown out side their window. Hopefully they will be too enchanted with their sea view to notice.
I will try and write more… been busy with class!