well- I have been in my flat for almost 10 months now here in Cairo- and today i switched on the television for the first time!!!!!!!!!!
It's got satelite- so I spent about 5 hours just checking out all the channels to see what there was (nearly 800- although a lot of them you have to pay more to view!)... and take a note of all the Egyptian ones- the plan being that if i have the TV on while i am in the flat then I am hearing more arabic than usual... so hopefully I'll get better at understanding what folk are saying to me!
What a bizarre mix.... CNN then some italian fashion, Music, then sex channels, then someone standing reciting the Koran, then a whole channel dedicated to sailing?, then all the God channels- of various religions, then oh- just so many things............ weird.
But the contrast from one channel to the other- as varied as it is- is not quite as strange as Egyptian Soap operas.................. I watched about 5 tonight (or as much as i could handle out of 5 anyway!). Wow- the acting is so melodramatic its entertaining in its own right (for all the wrong reasons). The make up is scary.... and the plots- bearing in mind I can't understand 98% of what is being said.... don't take a lot of guessing- but do tell you an awful lot about the culture. There is always an overbearing father who wants the son/daughter to behave in a respectable manner and marry the person they deem suitable.... and there is also some sort of financial corruption somewhere along the line, and lots and lots of angry shouting and manipulaing women! etc etc............ not sure how much of all this I'll handle....... but we'll see!!! Its an education even if my arabic doesn't improve from it!!!!!! Oh and ALL these channels have a thing along the bottom of the screen where people text in their messages to each other so there is a constant stream of usually arabic along the base of the scrren. I'll know my reading of arabic is up to scratch when i can keep up with the speed of those (not that I would necceserily be interested in the content and since I only know my arabic alphabet at this moment in time, there is a long way to go!!!!!!)
I also started private arabic classes with a new tutor who was recommended to me- he's very good (and affordable) so while I am not doing as much dancing as I'd like to, I'm going to make a concentrated effort to really improve my arabic! Inshallah!