There are three kinds of intelligence: one kind understands things for itself, the other appreciates what others can understand, the third understands neither for itself nor through others. This first is excellent, the second good, and the third useless.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Thoughts on Egypt

I’ve decided against a day by day breakdown this time as this has turned out to be a longer holiday than originally anticipated, instead I’ve done it in blocks… sort of.
I can’t explain what it’s like to walk around in heat that tops 50 degrees C. It’s practically unbearable; it makes you tired, irritable and thirsty. To have to wade through sand so deep that you sink to your shins, to have to ride grumpy, stinking camels and finally, to have to deal with an Islamic nation… is bloody hard. Everyone had told me how nice Egypt was, how friendly the people were and how much I would enjoy it. They were wrong. What part of Egypt did they see? Did they step outside their resort?

On the way from Cairo airport I was dazzled by the beauty of the city, with its vast roads lined with palm trees, it’s huge hotels combing the skies and it’s friendly locals waving and shouting ‘hello’. Yet cross the Nile and it’s a different story. The tourism disappears and the seedy side of Cairo creeps out. When I showed my mother my holiday photos, she asked me if I’d been to Beruit… it was that bad. It’s charming in its way and in all truth it’s better than India or Nepal, but the people, the people make it worse. I understand that it’s their country but during my two days in Cairo I was groped, forcibly pulled into shops, hugged, wolf whistled, jeered and leered at more times than I could count. It left me feeling dirty, sleazy and embarrassed.

Nowhere is the heat more obvious than in the Sahara


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