Monthly Archives: February 2011
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There isn’t much more frustrating than coming home from a trip to an exotic land and NOT being able to sit at my desk and process my photos. But, they are doing a major renovation in the space below my flat. Today must be “stink up the place to high heaven” day. I can hide in my kitchen or living room but otherwise my apartment is literally NOT TOLERABLE! Despite the windows being wide open on this balmy .. I mean below-freezing day – the fumes are the worst AT my desk. GRRRRRR!
I got a few photos done this morning and now I will run back in just to share SOMETHING. Maybe tomorrow will be better? I certainly hope so.
For now, enjoy a quick view of Marrakech.
Peeking out the window of my room:
The main lobby:
Where I stayed:
Just off the property of my hotel:
Near My Hotel:
Next to the highway:
Overlooking Cairo from the highway:
Disabled car ON the highway:
Not seen in photographs:
The hotel had us picked up in a Jaguar. I did not see another Jaguar except the one I rode in.
Cars parked ON the highway.
People CROSSING the highway on foot.
Photos of Giza and Cairo taken January 15th and 17th, 2011.
So, this is the second time I have barely missed the peril of a city in crisis. The first time was New Orleans. More on that in the next days….
And, so we decided while in Europe for two years, why not make the quick jaunt across the Med to see the Pyramids?? It is a once-in-a-lifetime trip and one that is quite simple to make from Germany. We suspected we would never make the trip from the US. It was now or never. January is the time to do it. 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit) during the summer is not exactly ideal.
The trip was significant. Strike that. It was life-changing. The Egypt we saw was nothing as I had imagined. The poverty was eye opening. The photos I took are significant to me however I even question if I truly captured these sites was well as I wanted to. Did I really capture the quintessential picture of the donkeys and the trash and the dirt and the smog and the chaos and the squalor that sums up life in Egypt as I saw it?
A week and one day after we flew away from the Cairo airport the protests started.
But just as with New Orleans, suddenly my photos and the people in them, the people who we met and helped us and drove us and fed us – those people and experiences have taken on a monumental significance due to the chaos that has erupted since we departed. The man who drove us to Cairo and back – what is his life like? Where does he live? How much does he make in a week? How about the tri-lingual employee of the travel agency who escorted us back to the airport? We didn’t realize we were getting an escort and didn’t need one. He was well dressed with a suit and had educated himself to speak German and English. How much did he get paid to help us? And, how about the people who run the open air restaurant outside Saqqara. They fed us wonderful food and an amazing spread. We had a sense that our left overs were not wasted. Do they have enough food to eat? How about the restaurant near our hotel that caters to the wealthy tourists. How do they survive on the small amount of money they charge? I know our tour guide is well paid and is considered one of the top guides in Cairo on Trip Advisor because that is how we found him. I know he is completing a masters in Egyptology. He had hand-held wireless internet and an iPad to demonstrate more detail about the sites. He was well dressed, had a cultured disposition, and had excellent English. We thought he had lived in England for some time. But he said he has never left Egypt. Ever. How does he imagine the rest of the world? Does he understand the place he lives is so vastly different from the ‘western’ world? What did he think when he picked us up at the 5-star hotel? Does he hold disdain for his ‘wealthy’ English-speaking clients who fly in from Great Britain, Ireland, and the United States who want to see the treasures of the land but don’t REALLY want to understand what it is like to struggle? Was he disgusted by our conversation? Did he find my son to be a privileged brat? Or is he even among the very privileged in his country who turn their eyes from that which is in front of them and yet live on a beautiful estate with the same conveniences we take for granted in the US?
So now that I am back where I feel safe, I look at my photos with a new sense of awe. And, although their struggle was very obvious at the time, I wish I had learned more about the strife of the Egyptian people. Suddenly I have so many questions, but our tour guide is there and we are here. Our time with him is done. I hope that he is safe and well.
Hind site is 20/20. But I must say that I am so happy we made this trip.
I will do my next set of photos from Gran Canaria because I am just feeling so saucy.
We had mediocre weather on Saturday so the beach was not a good option. Luckily we rented an old rickety jeep. That was an option! We hit the road and headed for the mountains. What a fascinating bit of landscape on that island. It is reminiscent of Spain and Hawaii at the same time! How can that even be possible? Seemingly green and lush cliffs covered in cactii and rocks. Oceanside to 3000 feet in about 25 kilometers! Crazy winding roads. Not so fun in my personal opinion. Well, the view was breathtaking, nonetheless.
After a week struggling to fight against the relentless power of the migraine followed immediately by my birthday getaway and then arriving home late late on a Sunday night with a sick kid, I am finally back to the creativity on this hazy and gray and cold Tuesday. I guess I was holding out for February.
That said, we had a fabulous weekend getaway to Gran Canaria. We stayed in a cliff-side hotel overlooking the beautiful coast. How can you complain about that?
Oh, yes, I needed the sun.