|Standing in front of the Great Pyramid of Giza this is Cairo.|
The dust will someday make you forever nostalgic for this place.
Welcome to Egypt. This isn't going to be like anyplace you've ever been before.
No photos can ever give you a true depiction of a place. It's difficult to capture the smell of dust, the feel of it on your skin, the magnitude of 9.5 million people in one city, the ancient co-existing with the modern, the Nile oases in a desert, the startling wild traffic, but I'll do my best for you.
|Great Pyramid of Giza, far corner view. I love this picture of a vendor chatting on his mobile. It delighted me to see even people on their camels talking on their phones. Egypt is very much a contrast.|
The people are lovely, kind, and polite.
Arriving in Cairo at night I peeked through the curtains of the minivan windows while we sped down a highway. I saw sights that I've never seen before. Cars parked alongside the freeway. People stood in groups, talking, smoking, eating. They crossed the road. So did children and dogs. If there were lanes, they were ignored.
Eventually I'd find the rhythm of the city. Horns never stop blowing, but after a while they don't sound angry. They mean things.
I'm coming alongside you.
Watch out I can't stop.
Do you see me?
That first night, that first week, I didn't see any order. Concrete barriers crumbled along the roadways, some buildings and roads appeared to be in similar condition. Ribar juts into the sky atop buildings, many don't have glass in the windows. (Later I hear that taxes aren't due until construction is complete. Tax law affects construction in many places.) Clothes and blankets hang over balconies. Raw meat dangles in the open doorways of butcher shops. So do bunches of bananas and bags of oranges. Donkey carts pull wagons of brilliant tomatoes or alfalfa. Trucks are piled sky-high with sugarcane. There are camel riders sharing the same roads in places.
Some people dress in western clothing. Most women cover their hair, some wear burqas. Adhan sounds.
The call to prayer reminds me of the chanting of monks at monasteries, and I find it as beautiful as Egypt. It's not like anywhere else I've ever been.
It took me a week to adjust to Egypt.
Vendors at the pyramids do not take no for an answer, but they never stop smiling. Where you from? Welcome to Egypt. This is your home now.
The tourism isn't as slick and polished as most popular places. (Rome, London, New York.) That's not a bad thing. Marketing takes a far backseat to the genuine reality of Egypt and her people.
Breathe and take a good look around.
Splurge! You'll enjoy your dusty trinkets when you get home!
Inshallah. God-willing. Things happen as we wish, or they don't.
Welcome to Egypt. This isn't going to be like anyplace you've ever been before. Isn't that wonderful?
This won't be like home.
Find Egypt's pace.
|This is my camel, Moses. It wasn't a little jaunt past the pyramids.|
Moses and I tooled around the desert for a long time. Then he took me to see the Sphinx.
I'd have happy-cried if I'd have had one drop of water in my body to spare.
|The east side of the Great Pyramid. There's|
plenty of desert to ride your camel in over here!
I fall in love so easily, with places, with views, forests, seas, and yes—with camels named Moses. My foray into Egypt took place in February and March. It wasn't quite dust storm season, but the dust is intense. From Alexandria to Cairo to Luxor it hung on the horizon (Cairo more so than the other places!). It lands on everything, including you. It can make you cough, a lot, but to be fair I spent most of my days traipsing the desert and crawling through tombs.
This was one of the most intense trips I've ever taken. I'd go back in a heartbeat. Take your sense of adventure when you go and leave your expectations at home. You'll love it when you open your heart to it, I promise.