Before the current country crisis, I visited Egypt. I appreciated it while I was there, and even more as I reflected on the experience after, but now in light of the current situation and shutting down of just about all in Egypt, I have a whole new level of appreciation of taking that trip when I did.
Before taking off for Egypt last month, I didn’t really know what to expect. I appreciated the history of the region and knew the Pyramids were there, but I didn’t know of too much else, or have a deep curiosity about it. Many people I talked to before the trip shared how seeing the Pyramids was on their bucket list or Cairo was one of their must-see cities. I was excited to be able to go where so many long to and ready to take it in. When I landed in Cairo, it started to come together why people want to visit. I wouldn’t say I want to move to Egypt or that Cairo is my favorite city, but it has a rugged beauty I came to love. During my recent trip, I did a bunch of tourist things: visited the Pyramids at Giza, took a picture kissing the Sphinx, checked out what King Tut was buried in, drifted down the Nile, and daydreamed of being a local with sheesha and Turkish coffee. But I also opened my eyes a little wider and took in a crossroads of different cultures and customs. It was an amazing trip and I’m so glad I went.
I’m even more glad I went when I did. I was safe while there and didn’t pick up on any outward hints of what was to come and is happening now. Recalling conversations with Egyptians now becomes clearer to what they were referencing, but while there, I was a tourist, an observer, and a participant in such a culturally rich area. I can’t go to that place I came to know now and I am sure the feeling and people are different even if I could physically be there. The Pyramids were already gated and patrolled, a relatively recent development local guides are adjusting to, due to 9/11, and now they’re shut to all eyes wishing to see them in their lifetime. I hope the crisis in Egypt somehow comes to a swift and beneficial resolution for their people and land. And I hope more people get to enjoy all they have to offer and their bustling and welcoming lifestyle.
It’s easy for us to think that places will always be there. And while land masses generally don’t quickly disappear, to see them, you have to add some urgency to your thinking. Venice is sinking. The World Trade Center towers aren’t here anymore. That tower in Pisa may fall over, and the natural wonders of the world are polluted by us every second. Don’t wait to be a lil’ old lady wishing she had only seen the Amazon or visited the Statue of Liberty. Even if your must-visit spot is the new coffee shop down the block you’ve just been meaning to try, put your shoes on now and go there. Now. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but here’s hoping it’s another wonderful adventure.
Image Layout: Kasheia
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