I know it has been a while since I have provided you with a new post to read, and I sure do know that May has not been an active month for me when it comes to writing on my blog. Anyways, what matters right now is the reason I have not written anything the past week! Guess what, I was outside the country, and guess where I was? I was in Egypt! Yes yes, I finally visited ‘Om El Donia’ as they call it; Mother of Life, that is how almost everybody refers to it.
Before setting foot there, I have always thought of Egypt as the country I can strongly relate to, but only through the Egyptian movies that I just love to watch and never tire of watching. I have to say that being there, in the heart of Egypt; specifically in Cairo, has opened my eyes to the true beauty of this wonderfully rich and alive country. I was taken aback by the power and magic floating in its very air. I felt emotionally attached to something I could not put my finger on; I just let myself be! Something magical was there in the streets, in the air, in the buildings, and even in the smiles and looks of the people roaming the streets; whether aimlessly or purposefully. The least thing I could say to describe my state of mind and heart at the time is to simply say that I was utterly mesmerized.
I never dreamed that I would have this strong a reaction towards Egypt in specific. To be honest, I have always been told that the first thing to strike you about Cairo is the noise and horrible traffic and human congestion and crowdedness! Well, I did notice that and saw the poor state of so many buildings and houses and streets, and I also saw what extreme poverty has done to so many people there, but that did nothing to discourage me or take away my enjoyment and the strong attraction I felt for that amazing city! I looked at everything around me in awe and wonder.
I have to tell you that despite the fact that I am quite a traveler who has been to so many wonderful countries before and fell madly in love with them, Egypt has proved to be quite something else; something different and unique in its own sense. It is true that I only stayed there for five days, but that was enough to make me know for sure that I would definitely go back there, only I would stay much longer. Now that I am home, it feels strange and I have this strong and overwhelming sense of nostalgia. I just have not had enough of all the magic I found there; in the Nile, Hay El Hussein, Khan al Khalil and many other wonderful places.
We stayed at the Ramses Hilton, and my room was on the 22nd floor. Believe me, the view was simply breathtaking! I found myself able to stand there for as long as I could, just staring out the window at the vast and grandeur city stretching endlessly in front of me; granting my eyes a sight not to ever be forgotten.
This, above, is a picture I took from my room. Even now as I look at it again, I can feel myself standing there once again; taking in the scene that I know by heart now that I have been there.
Now I know that the places I have been to during my 5 day stay there is nothing compared to the many places I have heard about and wanted so much to see, but I still enjoyed my trip and has so much fun! I went to the Pyramids, and I have to say that being there and seeing everything I have only known through books and documentary films has made Egypt look the more majestic to me. When I stood there staring at the Sphinx, transfixed, I realized that Egypt’s historical heritage is way greater than any other treasure. Apart from my unforgettable trip to the Pyramids, I went to Hay El Hussein and Khan Al Khalil, where I roamed its ancient alleys and had memorable moments that I still remember with a smile of true pleasure.
That is me with my parents (Right to left: Me, dad and mum)
One of the things I won’t forget is going on board of the Scarabee Nile Dinner Cruiser, where they had a belly dancing show and another interesting show which I don’t really know what they call. I had the time of my life there because I had the chance of sitting on the roof of the cruiser and watching the Nile giving life to everything around it, including us people. The weather was amazing and the breeze so cold that I had the feeling it was the beginning of winter! I did not want that trip to ever end, and I wished I could stare at the Nile and hear its soft roar forever!
Amongst the other things I did, I ate at the fish market, had ‘Kushari’ at Abu Tareq, drank mango juice at the famous place ‘Farghali’ and of course tried the pigeons at that place called ‘Farahat’, which is by the way the most famous place for serving pigeons, and oh my they were more delicious than Any food I have ever eaten!
As simple as strolling along the Nile may sound, it is the one thing that will always remain engraved in my memory; reminding me of how happy I was to simply take that walk and see the glow on the faces of the people taking in the scene of the Nile and enjoying the feeling of being part of it and its magic. I can still hear the songs they played there in my head, and remember how I felt just being in the taxi and looking at all the things we passed by, no matter how ordinary they seemed to some people.
Now that I am back here, I have this strangest feeling that a huge part of me stayed there, alongside the Nile; enjoying a life that is so much different from my life here. Even the Egyptian songs sound different to my ears here; they sound as though they belong to a different life and a different place.
Should you think that it is magic that Egypt possesses, you are absolutely right in your thinking, for it is pure magic that you will find there, in the streets and alleys and certainly in the ringing of the laughs you will hear everywhere you go.
I cannot say what it is exactly that has drawn me this much to this country, but what I know for sure is the fact that I will go back there and enjoy it all once again. All I can tell you now is that Egypt has a life of its own, a life that will take you under its spell and bind you to it so strong that you will never know how to break free from its hold on your mind and heart and soul.
The Nile is still calling out to me; that I know, and I know that I will answer its call sooner than I think. It is amazing how, in the blink of an eye, I have become one with a country buzzing with life every second of the day, and how I do not seem to be able to close my eyes without seeing the glow of a city that does not sleep!
Cairo; it is certainly the city that does not fall asleep, and the place that will always give you something to think about and hold on to.
Here is a collection of photos I took in my trip, enjoy!