Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cairo, Egypt

Ah, how I yearn for simpler times.

The flight from Istanbul to Cairo took only seven hours, including the layover in Beirut, but something about taking a plane instead of journeying overland or by sea makes the process of discovery rather drab and tedious.  Additionally, after Polly sold the damaged watch I found to an unsympathetic jeweler, we only had enough lira for one ticket, meaning that one of us would be traveling as cargo.   My companion and I drew lots and, consequently, the tent and I shared a 56cm x 45cm x 25cm duffle bag for the entire voyage.  Those baggage handlers certainly have no idea how to treat a lady.

Cairo is a lot different from how I remember it.  The city has expanded significantly, and now holds the distinction of being the largest city in the Muslim world.  The residential architecture is sloppy, and mostly constructed with undecorated sand-colored bricks.   The brown is occasionally broken up by a few out-of-place patches of green and blue, and an immense cloud of smog hangs eternally over the valley in which Cairo lies.  The heat is intense, but once we ducked into the shade and set up our temporary residence, we felt quite cool.  Polly seems quite taken with the place and spent much of the morning napping in a patch of sunlight.

Fortunately for me, Internet cafes abound.  I am currently using something called “Google Maps” to chart our course to the famed city of Alexandria.  From there we will move back into the Nile delta, then to the Giza Plateau, and follow the river upstream all the way to Abu Simbel, which demarcated the southernmost expansion of the Egyptian Empire into Kush.

Alas, my time on this machine has expired, and Polly is growing impatient.  He keeps telling me not to use something called the “hunt-and-peck method” to type, “especially not with your bloody trowel, you ridiculous, anachronistic buffoon,” but I haven’t the faintest idea what he means.  Perhaps he is hungry.

Ta ta for now.

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