Now I start the third phase of my blog. I will share with you snippets from the diaries I have written during my travels (I will not share their entirety and my inner world). Here we go... Cairo 10 March 2007 I am here again after 12 years. I never thought that I could come back. Though it is strange. Because for years, precisely for 7 years, the dream of being able to come back here kept me going. Then it all ended. [...]My willingness to come back here also ended. But life is so strange that work brought me back here. Yes I am in Egypt.
To realise my New Year's resolution, I am keeping a log of my travels. I am with C. We are spending good time together. Today, we visit the Pyramids. All by ourselves! This is a major success because every 10 minutes an Egyptian tried to come near us, sell us something or guide us. But we wanted to go around all by ourselves in a slow pace and breath the air.
One of the reasons why I decided to log everything is because I can never feel the "now" and I regret that. Now, I want feel, fully grasp and remember that I am sitting across the three Pyramids and the Sphinx with C. next to me. The air is very soft and nice.
19:15 Even though I wanted to sit in Giza, gather my thoughts across the Pyramids and write, I could not succeed. People around us do not leave us alone. We cannot lose ourselves in the mystery and magic of the Pyramids because local peddlers and local tourists constantly pick on us, touch us and try to sell something to us. What a shame and kind of unfair. Even though we try so hard, we cannot truly feel the atmosphere.
The airport we landed in yesterday was different than the one 12 years ago and brand new. It was very modern and orderly. Even the road from the airport to the city centre and the Heliopolis neighbourhood were very nice and modern. On the plane and in the taxi, my event coordinator Caroline and her mother were with me. After visiting the Pyramids, we haggled with a taxi driver and came to our hotel from Giza for 40 Egyptian Pounds equivalent to $8. The driver's skin was very dark but his eyes were incredibly blue. A very deep blue.
Here there are many blue-eyed Arabs. Interesting. After reaching our hotel, before sunset, we decided to walk along the River Nile for a bit. It was very nice. The weather is lukewarm and it feels heavy. But there is no humidity. It is quite comfortable. So it creates a very romantic atmosphere. As the sun was setting, the red rays of light were creating beautiful visuals on the River Nile and Cairo's tall buildings. We walked on the sidewalk with trees and benches by the Nile. The locals who saw us, two foreign women walking alone, did not leave us in peace and disturbed us. The worst thing is that they insist and after a while, they become scary. This made the niceness of that sweet walk disappear and made me feel tired. Nevertheless, it was a nice walk.
I guess this is a place where I could never look like a local and considered like one. It seems like maybe there was a reason why my willingness to live here years ago never materialised. As I said earlier, despite the chaos, crowds, noise, dirt and certain ugliness, this is still a very romantic city. I don't know how it achieves that. Maybe thanks to the climate or the sort of spring that is experienced here. Now we ordered room service. We are enjoying the luxury that is offered to us by our hotel... I would very much like F. to come and see as well. I wonder what he would think. [...] Maybe this city and country would be interesting for him. I should come here again with F. and my kids. This is a civilisation and experience that everyone should visit, see and learn. [...] [...] Monday, 12 March 2007 Yesterday I was not as busy as today but even then I didn't find the opportunity to write. In the morning, C. and I got on a falluka on the Nile for an hour. It was very foggy and as I guess, it was not a city tour from top to bottom. We almost turn around in a circle on the Nile for an hour. But even then it was very nice. We were away from the crowds of the Pyramids, it was just me and C. and it was lovely weather. The heaviness that the heat creates makes one quite peaceful [...]. One wants to lose oneself in that moment and time. After this falluka experience, I understood once again that this could be a place where I could leave for at least a period of time.
Then, C. and I spent some time by the poolside. C. offered me a cocktail. That was also very nice. I was burnt by the sun in the middle of March. I had marks on my arms because I was wearing a T-shirt. I went back to work in the afternoon. We had quite easy working hours. [...] [...] came at some point and saw C.. I introduced her as my friend. Anyway, the first thing that the woman noticed was the wrong signage by the door. The hotel wrote the conference name wrong. Whilst she was there for 10 to 15 minutes, she told me thrice that the signage needs to change. Then, she sent a text message to Caroline and also called her. Incredible! We were annoyed. Before dinner in the evening, Caroline, her mother, C. and I took a taxi from the hotel and went to the Khalil Khaniny bazaar. I think I went there before when I came to Cairo with my parents. It was indeed very nice. We walked between the small shops positioned on the snaky, narrow streets. Of course, the shopkeepers appeared from left, right, up and down like ghosts to sell and flirt with us. Of course, they behave like that when they see two girls walking alone. But C. and I sorted out the situation. We walked around in full safety, finished our work and came back. Even though the crowd and insistence are tiring, it was a nice experience because one feels like being in the Middle Ages or another century in that place. It was very interesting for me. In the evening, we tried to get into one of the restaurants of the hotel without success because we didn't have a reservation. So we ordered room service. C. and I talked and laughed for hours by the table like school girls. It was lovely. [...] I spoke with my parents on the phone before dinner.[...]I also spoke with F.. He had sent a nice text message. He says very nice things but on the phone he sounded sleepy, he didn't talk much. Maybe he was tired. [...] Anyway, this is what happened yesterday. Oh, and at night, they were showing Vizontele on TV. Now I am on the first day of the conference. The morning was a real nightmare. The delegates started arriving an hour early. Anyway, it has passed and now it seems that everything is in order. But you never know in this line of work. I hope that [...] will not cause or notice any problems. I forgot to write. Yesterday, when we were going to the bazaar, the taxi took us through the backstreets of Cairo. We saw very beautiful squares and buildings with colonial, Mediterranean architecture. It was quite amazing. Of course they are not well-kept but they are beautiful. A bit like Athens though Athens is not very beautiful. At least Cairo has the River Nile. I learnt to read Arabic numbers.