Saturday, February 12, 2011

On Being in Egypt

You may recall I visited Egypt in October of 2009 while visiting the Aegean Sea. Egypt was both the highlight and low-light of the entire trip on many levels. But I loved Egypt, no matter what. That's why I'm saddened to see what's going on there right now. I was mesmerized by the ancient history; it is truly the birthplace of civilization. I can still recall the sensation of touching the pyramids as if it were yesterday. I tend to do that when I travel, I try to feel any "vibrations". I've always been strange like that, its my spiritual side I suppose. Anyway being in Egypt felt oddly familiar, almost as if I had walked the sands before in a prior life. My trip to Egypt met-and exceeded all of my expectations. It was as intellectually stimulating and beautiful as I had conjured up in my mind after years of reading about ancient Egyptian history.

We hired a private guide to take us through Cairo and Alexandria. He was an Egyptologist who worked part time as a guide but his passion was studying and the preservation of Egyptian artifacts. He brought us to so many places that gave us an experience we just wouldn't have had on our own or with an American tour group bus. We spent time sitting in a mosque, learning about Islam. I was fascinated.

But Egypt was also the low-light of the trip. Extremes in society. An overbearing President. Poverty. Overcrowding. Polluted rivers and streams. I recall our journey in from Port Said- a speeding van escorted on either side by soldiers in jeeps heavily armed. The entire road we traveled into Cairo was shut down for us to pass through. It was jarring, but I assumed it was life in that part of the world.

It troubles me to see what has become of Egypt. The protests, violence and blood that has been shed are disturbing. I suppose it has been oppressive for way too long. The only difference is that the people have awakened and are now demanding more. The scenes on television and on the internet are incredible. Selfishly, I am grateful that I was able to visit Egypt and spend time while it was still safe. I'll cherish those memories of Egypt. My thoughts are with the people of Egypt struggling for basic freedoms. Let's home what comes next will eventually provide peace and a better life for Egyptians and its neighbors.
For those of you interested, here are the links to my posts on Egypt from October, 2009:


Sharon said...

Thanks for sharing those links, I remember when you first posted them. I enjoy your travel posts immensely. We had been planning to take a cruise tour to the mediterranean this June, but when all hell broke loose in Egypt the trip was cancelled. I hope that the people there get what they desire, a democratic government, and that things settle down soon.

KathyA said...

The violence is disturbing, but the evolution of these people, their strength and their joy is positively elating.


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