The Pyramids and The American University in Cairo

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Hello everybody,

Please forgive the lack of proper capitalization and misspellings. The keyboard I am using is not the most tractable.

just a quick note before I disappear into the desert sands (I am on a deadline to check out of the hotel and catch a bus). the American university of Cairo was very interesting. i went there, not only to check it out, but to talk to several of the library directors about their holds system.

for those of you who don't know, I am on a committee at the Brooklyn Public Library to overhaul our holds process (i.e., how a book is put on order by a patron, pulled from the housing location, and then sent and picked up by the patron at their chosen branch). i though this would be a unique opportunity to compare notes and "foster international relations" (even though it is an American institution). the situations between the BPL and AUC are very different (one is a public institution, the other academic), but i think i may have come away with a few good pointers. they were also very interested to hear what things were like for us in brooklyn.

the best part was that i became acquainted with the head of public relations--a fabulous woman from the south US who has lived in egypt for the past 30 years. she was a superb source of info and very friendly. she invited me to go out with two of her friends from Yale (an architect professor and a librarian) to a sunset tour of a new park overlooking the city. astounding view! but more about that day at a later point. i am pressed for time.

i went to see the pyramids yesterday. they were awe inspiring as expected, and i literally jumped up and down like a child to see them. unfortunately the constant barrage of camel and horse ride salesmen did their best to ruin the experience. One did offer 10,000 camels for me--but i think i m worth no less than 100,000!

climbing inside the pyramids was also an experience and a half. up, up, up you go into the great pyramid. there are no real steps, just a board with wooden strips nailed across to keep you from slipping to your demise. you have to crawl doubled over for a good half of it (which makes the decent even more interesting). all that work, and it is totally anti-climactic. it lets you out into a fairly large, but entirely empty room. there aren't even any carved hieroglyphs. sigh, tourist extortion at its prime.

well, got to run. i love you all. i know that a number of you have written me back, and i apologize for not promptly returning your messages. the next time i have a chance at the internet, i promise.