06 January, 2011

Dec 20, 2010

Day 2: Humda’allah

Getting ourselves going by 11:00 we found ourselves refreshed, even in day-old clothes. Yes our room has patches, and broken glass on the floor from various glasses or lightbulbs, and a shoddy lock without a room safe. But today is about being thankful for what life brings us.

Going out to the sensory overload of the strip was somehow easier in the daylight and a few blocks down we had omelets at the Omar Café and our first taste of Egyptian Coffee. Thinner than Turkish Coffee and seasoned with cardamom & cinnamon. Delicious.

I can’t state enough the difference having 10 hours sleep, a shower, and coffee made. I felt myself unwinding from the paranoia of traveling, taking on a “what will be, will be” approach. Maybe it was the Egyptian hiphop, or the sound of it blending with the call to prayer. The hospitality was friendly, but the change in my attitude was priceless. While still on my guard for all the necessities of travel, and avoiding being conned, I gave over to let our trip be what it would be, and that brings me to thankfulness.

We came across the concept of fate early. Life brings events to you, and it is up to the individual to choose how we may accept them. (This reminds me of a Hawaiian t-shirt with sayings from college: No rain, no rainbows; The unaimed arrow never misses; and two ways to be rich--earn more or desire less.)

I was thinking of this while enjoying our breakfast instead of fretting over our late luggage, etc. In being happy that we’re here with the sunlight and the blue beaches; even if in yesterday’s underwear, I can be thankful. Luggage will come, just as the sun will rise again. There are a lot of travelers stuck across Europe, and we were lucky to make it out.

One can’t help but notice the differences in our lifestyle in Sweden while in Egypt. Tourist Police with automatic weapons (for our protection, like in Mexico), barbed wire... all of Hurghada really is here for rich Westerners (well, and Russians). The grounds of our resort receive more attention than our rooms, after all, the trees don’t water themselves. I expect a lot of our trip will include humbling examples of things only here for our benefit. Some of them I may be more grateful for than others.

We have it so good in our country. But I’m hopeful that things will get better here soon. Egypt’s economy is set to take off like many other emerging countries. I’m most thankful that millions of people I’ll never meet will know higher standards of living...

It’s also incredible to sit in a cafe in Egypt with Arabic on the Heinz and Chinese on the set of toothpicks. I can’t help but think of our crazy, shrinking world.

Unwanted attention is difficult to deal with, like cat-calling on the street. You feel like the snotty foreigner ignoring all the calls of “my friend” from strangers. We should find a different experience with our tour group...we’ll see.

Most of the afternoon has been palm trees, blue skies & seas. It’s sooooo nice! In fact, that’s all we want is to chill. Relax and get past the snowy winter.

It’s great to travel together again. Oh, the places we’ll go. Part of coming here has been to see things we’d never see anywhere else, and have an unforgettable experience. Part is to unwind and enjoy moments of quiet. (I’ve really been looking forward to unplugging and slowing down.) But all of it will be spending time together. We’ve gotten quite good at it. A lot of our recent visitors made us realize what we look like to outside eyes: smoochie kids in love. We don’t get that perspective as often since moving to Stockholm and spending all of our time with each other.

The funny thing is how synced we are with each other (it’s shocking when we’re not) that we even flipped the breakfast menu in the same way this morning. Anne and I are awful good at taking care of each other.

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