Rocks, Blocks and Sand

Trip Start Sep 15, 2010
Trip End Jul 23, 2011

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Flag of Egypt  ,
Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It was my second day in Egypt and I was exploring the backstreets of Cairo and sampling the street food with a friend from the hostel.  I was just about to cross a footbridge to see the Nile for the first time and visit a museum dedicated to the famous Arabic singer, Umm Kulthum.  During this time, several young boys had been following us for a few blocks saying "What is your name? Do you speak English?"  We didn't pay them too much mind and kept walking.  I finally thought I was strong enough not to let the unwanted attention bother me. 

And then I got hit in the back of the neck with a rock.  Before I knew it, I was on the same emotional roller coaster that I was after the tram incident in Turkey and being yelled at in East Jerusalem.  As my Dad wrote in an email later, now I face one of life's greatest challenges: how not to become jaded.  Great.   

Well, if there is one thing that might put life in perspective, it is the Giza Pyramids.  Massive and magnificent only begins to describe them.  Yet my favorite part was going inside two of the chambers.  Climbing through the narrow passage ways was definitely challenging but the various rooms and vaulted ceilings were worth the sweat. 

After the pyramids and all the other historical sites I've seen in the past few months, I was perfectly content to do nothing for the following few days.  Hence, a desert safari sounded ideal.

After a five hour bus ride to the Bawiti Oasis, I joined a small group of backpackers and three guides.  We loaded up two 4x4s and set off to explore the Black and White Deserts.  After a BBQ dinner, our guides gathered around the campfire and started an impromptu singing and drumming session with a Tupperware lid and 50 gallon water jug.  Later, we slept under thick camel hair blankets with a sky full of stars above us.  It was nothing short of magical.

Once back in Cairo, I met Abdullah, a friend of a friend on my final day.  Aside from the receptionists at my hostel and the bakery owner downstairs, he was the first local I was able to talk in depth with re: politics, corruption and tourism.  The fancy restaurant we visited was nothing like the backstreets I explored during my first few days in Cairo ... yet it was Abdullah's honesty and warmth that helped restore my faith in the Egyptian people.  
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Pamela Anne Bro on

Crystal, your stories and your photos are so picturesque and amazing! You really have an eye, plus I love your captions like "Cairo Chicks". Gosh, you're wonderful and so glad you're having (on the whole) such a thrilling, life-changing time! much love and Merry Christmas! Pam

Boone on

Reading your postings and viewing your photos makes me want to pack up and visit the great outdoors. Will enjoy your trip anyway!

Debra on

Merry Christmas Crystal!

Renee on

Crystal&lt; Glad to hear you are well, we think of you often! Beautiful pictures....Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year................we love you and miss you!

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