Seeing what’s happening in Egypt right now, all the violence and clashes, brought back memories of my one and only trip to this beautiful country. I’ve always wanted to go there and when this dream came true, I felt more than happy. It was pure bliss and I really didn’t want this dream to end.
So much had I read about its history and its temples and Cleopatra and the Pyramids and so many films like Death on the Nile had I watched before actually visiting Egypt. With so many expectations, it might well have been a disappointment but it wasn’t. On the contrary, it was so beautiful and so full of surprises that I remember I was almost crying when I boarded the return plane.
Cairo is a huge city and its inhabitants dwell in all kinds of buildings, even in old graves. It is in fact one of the strangest things that homeless people spend their entire lives in an ancient cemetery. Awful. The levels of poverty were high and I’m sure are bound to get higher what with the new political situation, the overpopulation and the tourists who won’t be visiting it out of fear. When I was there in 1990, Western tourists were definitely impressed by the poverty but could easily forget it at a five star hotel or at a good restaurant or on a Nile cruise. Everything was cheap and wonderful and you could spare some money for the local people who urged you to buy souvenirs or the children who gathered around you like flies and begged. Very sweet children, you just couldn’t resist them.
My heart goes out to Egypt and its people during the ordeal they are facing now.