After dragging my sorry carcass up a mountainside, I was looking forward to a few days of R&R at a friend’s place just outside Cairo. It was supposed to be my chance to live like a tourist and do all the sight-seeing that you’re meant to do while in Egypt, but there were two flaws in this un-thought out agenda.
1) It was right before Ramadan and many of the local businesses and even several of the taxi companies would be closed most of the time, and
2) at 2:45am on arrival after a drawn out tour of the neighbourhood in a taxi that couldn’t find the street, I was posed the question: “So, have you heard about what’s happening on the 30th?”
The honest and blissfully unaware reply was, quite naturally after bouncing around Africa for 2 months, a hesitant yet chipper “no.”
As it turned out, the political tension had increased substantially since I left Canada, and despite my ailing attempts to familiarize myself with a little of the Arabic language, my capacity in the first 24 hours had filled up after memorizing how to read and write the numbers, and half a dozen words – most of which were in the neighbourhood of directions (right, left, straight), and the ever important “no thanks” and “stop”.
In short, with my flight to Morocco scheduled only days after the protests were set to begin and too many variables to predict the potential of volatility of the situation, my being a “western female travelling alone” and lacking the budget or desire to have someone hold my hand for a week to better navigate through the increased crime in the “touristy” areas, it was highly recommended I depart a few days earlier…
…which meant I got to enjoy that “day in the life” experience instead.
It also brought me to explore a few bits and pieces of a city – an experience this outdoorsy/trailblazing/adventure-junkie hadn’t really had since, well, Toronto, really, since even in Cape Town I spent more time hiking through prickly brush than paved sidewalks…
After enjoying a heaping lunch next to the Nile, it was an enjoyable afternoon of exploring shops and taxi-hopping around town, appreciating knickknacks and charms, and, much to my delight, even more eating (though the “Alexandrian Liver”-flavoured chips I could have quite happily done without).
And even though I didn’t get to see the pyramids this time ’round, I was able to pose with Sphinx and Ramses. The pygmy versions at least…
Even as I sat on the plane on the morning of the 29th waiting for the engines to fire up, there were pangs about the timing, and a little internal debate about whether it was truly necessary to leave, but my adventure, I knew, would carry on, and into places I would be able to relax and enjoy.
And then the pilot announced that there were passengers who had checked baggage and not boarded the plane, and that for security reasons, there would be a slight delay while they removed that luggage….
No reason to let your imagination run wild. Nope, not at all.
So sit back, try to relax, and enjoy the flight. Perhaps treading in the Moroccan sand would be a little more advantageous for that R&R.
Besides, the pyramids will still be there when I get to make a point of going back.