Originally Posted by Stoo
, how was your latest trip to Cairo?
Did you notice any difference in people's attitude after their "Arab Spring"? (My girlfriend & I want to take a Nile trip down to Luxor before the tombs are closed off to the public forever.)
Most importantly, did you feast on some of that superbly delicious, Egyptian chicken?
It was a great trip, Stoo, though I wish I would have had 1) more time off to re-see the sites, and 2) my wife and son with me! She and I met in Cairo while studying abroad in 1991, then lived there again 1995-1997. Haven't been back since, so it was killing me to return without her. Perhaps on a future trip.
In talking to Egyptians about the revolution, the main thing I found was disappointment. Here's the gist of the sentiment: 'The people in Tahrir Square didn't want a revolution. We just wanted change. We wanted jobs, the chance to make a decent living, opportunities, etc. That eventually spiraled into a revolution. Now that Mubarak is gone and there is a new government -- everything is the same. Nothing has changed for us. We're still struggling.'
Overall, things seemed a little tense and uncertain. Not scary-tense, just stressed-out-tense. But it was odd to go past big government buildings gutted by fire, and to be at the Hilton, next door to a government building where a bunch of Coptic Christian protesters had been run over and killed by a military vehicle.
It was also odd to go to the Egyptian Museum and walk into the King Tut rooms without waiting in line. The museum was practically empty and there were hardly any tourists anywhere. I did take a moment to call home while I stood face to face with Tut's golden funerary mask. That was a highlight.
I did have some great chicken, and lots of shwarma and khufta and shish kebab. Bought some tea that I've missed for 15 years, and a huge Bedouin tent fabric. But I was disappointed to find out the Pyramids closed at 3 p.m. This was as close as I could get:
(Incidentally, it was the only time during the trip I wore a fedora.)
Again, a great trip. I look forward to returning, hopefully in less than 15 years this time.