07 January, 2011

Jan 5, 2011

Day 18

Last day. 10 hours of sleep, yet feeling a cold coming on, I was glad for the chance to take it slow and easy. We really were quite fortunate with the way things worked out the whole trip. Our last breakfast with Turkish Coffee which is exquisite as it is miniscule meant that tomorrow would be greeted with our customary Swedish carafe at home, and lots of it. After two weeks of Nescafe we won’t know how to behave!

The TV had what could’ve been anything but probably was more talk of the New Years attack on a Coptic Church in Alexandria, which killed more than 20 people. I’m sad about the news, which is disturbing, and shocked by how ignorant we can be of it all in our vacation bubble. Life goes on and the world keeps turning. Our experience in Egypt was completely divorced of any that kind of unpleasantness, but as I sold many insurance policies saying, “It only has to happen Once to you, personally for it to suck.” Eloquent, I know. The sad irony is that for us, every mention of the Coptic Church was married to how peaceful the coexistence was between Christians and Muslims: mosques and churches across the street from each other as a metaphor.

We didn’t wander for today, but played it conservative. No ambitious plans as the hour-long cab rides would’ve jeopardized our timely arrival to Cairo Int’l. Instead, Anne shopped the United Colours of Benetton and loaded up on random grocery items while I nursed my sniffles with a massive OJ. But nothing tastes as vibrant as the oranges we had on the felucca--new sense memories, and a new benchmark.

I felt completely relaxed on the cab ride out of town, in contrast with the one in. The city has become more familiar now, and everyday life goes on for the 20 million inhabitants. Early on, our group had tried to decipher what the honk patterns meant (2 short honks might mean, "Hello, on your left!" whereas 4 or 5 long ones meant "Get the f%$&* out of the way"). On the cab ride to the airport, I tried to figure the number of car honks per kilometer, and figured something like 25 million a day. Must have custom horn repair shops, as a busted one would render a driver mute. Surely a violation of free speech.

We’ll never forget this trip, and after coming to Egypt I sincerely hope that it continues to improve. Cairo reminds me of Seoul from about 20 years ago, and there are Hyundai’s everywhere. I hope that along with the lifting economy, the people can be led by what Lincoln called the better angels of our nature. Ma’a el salama.

1 comment:

  1. So lovely....I wish I could have experienced some of that with you guys. Sounds like the adventure of a lifetime. :)