8.2.13

Dream Park

You know, in college they try to trick you.
Those professors are tricky.
Some of the courses I took advertised "field trips" as a part of the quarter. They get you all excited. You know what a college field trip is? Go to this museum and write a twenty page paper about what you find.
Such tricksters.
That's not a field trip! That is a homework assignment, under the guise of missing class.
Even in high school, I didn't get any good field trips. None that didn't require some non-optional assignment attached to whatever adventure it was we took.
So when we were told that our school would be taking a field trip, I was skeptical.
For good reason!
It has been years since I had a (what I consider to be) "real" field trip.
Tangent: I remember in Elementary school, our local theater put on "Junior Programs," which were these little hour long plays geared towards children. I absolutely loved them! We got them once every few months. I always got excited to shake hands with the actors afterwards.
Anyways.
NUA took a field trip yesterday! A real one!
We went to Dream Park.
Dream Park is the equivalent of a small sketchy Disneyland with no safety regulations.
Basically, the best amusement park ever ;)
We loaded up all 130 students plus about twenty staff onto three giant buses, and headed out for the day.
That is, after waiting an hour for the buses, which run on Egyptian time (aka chronically late), to show up at the high school to pick us up.
The school payed for staff to go on the trip, but we all brought a little extra money. It costs 40 EGP for one person to enter (about $7).
Now, I'm not entirely sure what that cover charge pays for other than kiddie rides and the ability to walk around the park... because over 50% of the rides you have to pay an additional 10-20 EGP for.
That was frustrating.
So its a dirty, dangerous, but equally expensive version of Disneyland. haha





Our group throughout the day consisted mainly of Mary, myself, Austin, Jeff, Phil, and (occasionally) Sara. We also had several students who would go around on rides and things with us, but it was pretty fluid. We stood out from the crowd quite a bit, and constantly had people asking to take photos with us. It sounds arrogant, but when we go out like this we are kind of like celebrities. Fair-skinned Americans with colored eyes are a rarity in the non-tourist sections of Cairo, and people always want to have photo-documentation that they have seen us, like we are some endangered species haha. 


Well, I mean, I guess I can see why when you look at our group. Here is Austin, towering above everybody in the lines we stood in. No, he is not standing on anything. He is on the same level ground as all those other people to the left. haha. I think he was the primary target of staring, but there were others too.



Jeff gets a lot of stares for being a redhead and having blue eyes, and my super pale skin always gets people asking if they can take pictures. Seriously, we spent a good portion of time fighting off stares and turning down people asking for photos. At first, its flattering/cute and you are happy to oblige, but several people in it starts to get annoying. 


so, although its not exactly the most "Egyptian" place to ride a camel, Mary and I couldn't pass up the chance to ride "Dream Camel." It was 15 EGP (like $3 for both of us) well spent. Nothing quite like having a five minute walk amongst roller coasters and piles of garbage to start your field trip off right!


It was fun to randomly run into students all over the park. Every time I saw one, I wanted to start waving manically and yell "I know him! I know him!" like Will Ferrell in Elf. I definitely did, on a few occasions... haha. Above, Joseph and Marco are center-left on one of the spinney-rides. They were so excited to see us, and enjoyed the ride too.



Here is Ghandy (pronounced like Randy but with a hacked-up 'r' like in French) on one of the rides. The other Americans made me ride this with them, because it goes up super high and they know I am afraid of heights. I was absolutely petrified, and kept my eyes glued shut the entirety of the ride. 


This is Ashraf, the Student Association president and I. He planned the entire field trip, and did such a good job! I found out one thing though, he and I are both horrified by heights. Well, turns out everyone else found this out too, and were determined to get us on the highest ride in the park. 
The swings.
You know those swings on a really long chain, and you get (loosely) strapped in and then lifted off the ground incredibly high and spun around slowly for a few minutes?
Yeah, those.
Well, they forced us on them. 
I thought I was going to die. 
The whole time standing in line, Ashraf and I are practically hyperventilating, absolutely panicking at the thought of being spun around at 150ft above the ground.
It was absolutely horrifying. The whole time, I never opened my eyes. Definitely sobbing and yelling "I hate you all!" for the entirety of the ride, while everyone else yelled simultaneously supportive/cayad comments like "we're so proud of you! you're 150ft in the air!" and "Don't look down!"
I came off the ride, slightly crying.
Ashraf did too.
Not sure it was worth it... haha. But everyone else thought our reactions were hilarious, so at least I didn't disappoint them too ;)


After the swings ride, a few of our ESL students found us and spent the remainder of the afternoon walking around the park with us. 
Oh my goodness. Akram. I am smitten with this boy. So cute!
He was Phil's shadow, and thought it was hilarious that they were "twins" for the day. Minus a popped collar on Phil's part ;)


Something random that seemed to be a theme was dinosaur paraphernalia. 
Which, if you know me, you know I was not upset about one bit! Not exactly sure how, but I crammed myself into this "Jurassic Tour" children's car. It may have been a poor decision haha. There were also two giant (tacky) dinosaur statues that I stumbled upon. 


The tackiest/best part of the dinosaur motif, was the 3D Dinosaur Experience ride we found. With the copycat Arabic Jurassic park symbol and all! It was absolutely cheesy, but I loved it nonetheless. 

Basically, Dream Park was a huge success. It was so nice to get away for a day, and the best part? All the students were so exhausted today in class none of them were being disruptive/talking ;)
I love field trips! We have another one to Alexandria in two months, and I am super excited about that one too. Can't wait!
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