By D77

I beg to differ

I spoke to Mr Boss today, to try and ascertain exactly what is happening on the work front. The university is closed, and behind its doors lie my salary for this month plus my important certificates. As per usual with this joke of a place, nothing has been decided, and nothing communicated. (In contrast, Larissa's school offers constant communication and has shut the place down for a fortnight, set up beds and even offers transport to and from the airport.) I also called Sonia with whom I had a lengthy conversation. She is one of my Egyptian colleagues who I think is a reasonable judge of what the majority of people are thinking. After Hosni Mubarak's speech the other day, she said she felt sorry for him but was delighted with the change that was offered. But now that Mubarak is pretty much getting the blame for the violence in Tahrir Square, she is adamant that he must go now.

They will never destroy us! We want change! We deserve change! Nobody trusts Mubarak!...were some of things said while we chatted. She believes unequivocally that Mubarak will go back on his word, despite it being made in front of the international media. She also asked me to pray for all Egyptians, a request delivered with a chuckle which she then changed to asking me to do whatever it is I do when I want to support people. I told her she was in my thoughts, which seemed to do the trick.

News that several hundred British citizens have decided to leave on emergency charter planes is not helping the nerves. What's not clear is whether they're leaving because of the protests, or because Egypt is just such a massive dump. I'm joking, of course. In reality, it's starting to get a little bit worrying again. I've registered with the government website thing* so they know we're here.

The picture is of Road 9 in Maadi, where there is no trouble to be seen, despite many shops sporting Pro-Mubarak posters. As it was all kicking off in Tahrir Square today, we were stoating about in the sunshine, coffee in hand, being politely refused photos by the army, and thanking our lucky stars we live in Maadi.

That said, about an hour ago around forty men were yelling and shouting with some ferocity right outside our flat, all armed with various makeshift weapons. There were even little kids grabbing chains and sticks to join in, all to the soundtrack of the closest gunfire yet. It all died down quickly enough, and was hopefully just a result of simmering tension, rather than being politically motivated. Either way, it's making us feel a little uncomfortable. What was a whole load of Egyptians peacefully protesting for change, appears to have become a whole load of idiots spoiling for a fight.

It's still difficult to know what to do, though a reassuring phone call from a worried Mum offering lodgings in a 5-star hotel (I got that right, didn't I Mum?) and a similar offer from sister #1, have started to influence my decision should escape be required, which is looking increasingly likely. I shall phone the helpline number thingy tomorrow and see what the deal is with getting out of here. I do hope the Foreign Office chartered flights have business class.

(I'm joking, again.)

*As an aside, the LOCATE (a wee bit shouty, all those caps - I'm surprised they didn't succumb to an exclamation mark) website thinks that 'Atheism' is a religion. I must remember to correct them on that in a future e-mail.

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