2011 Egypt


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Egypt…so after three weeks i finally met someone else with a mac able to help me retrieve my photos. At a small petrol station along the sizzling roads of Sudan…a landrover and a nissan with two couples heading back north after two years of travelling. We chatt and exchange news like sheep huddled into the shape of the  metre square of shade provided by the back wheels of our truck.They agree kindly to loose a  sweaty hour in our truck…So  thank you Andrew and Kristina (www.sandlover.org)

Before reaching Egypt i had a strange incomplete and totaly contradictary image of the country. People seemed to either love it or love to hate it…I am decisively part of the first group and  ‘inshallah’ we would  certainly like to come back to explore more. We were here for six weekes and in the end were   defeated by rising  temperatures.

The recent revolution gave our visit a different feel, on the one hand you could still feel some underlying tensions and unresolved questions,but on the other hand people seemed to make a special effort welcoming us and sharing their  vision of  change and optimism for the future. Tourism unfortunately has still not recuperated, but people are being patient.

We were able to see highly touristic places in a more relaxed and pleasing way, without the usual bus loads of people. The monastry of Santa Caterina was empty when we visited it and we had the natural park of Ras Mohammed , 15 minutes from Sharm el Sheik all to ourselves…apart from a few very welcomed intrusions (of course we were the intruders) from local families that made us feel even more at home. We got to know the truly mixed community of ‘Sharm where the children spoke freely in at least  four different languages;a photographer specialised in underwater photography,an ex-captain of ships now with his own business, a journalist telling us  intriguing storiesof political coups in other times and African countries and  a beautiful half Egyptian and half Danish/ Swiss family that invited us into their home  and to Lusiras joy lent her   a snowwhite costume for the week-end, which she religiously put on after the temperatures cooled down below the fourties!!

Cairo chaiotic and calm at the same time. Too bloody hot to explore in depth but promising something attractive and intangible. We rented a plush boat with disco lights and (extremely) load music on request for an evening trip down the Nile with a family we got to know at the campsite…the small one year old baby was one of the witnesses to demonstrations in the central square his mother proudly tells…she is a school teacher and feels passionate about change…i wish them all the best.

The pyramids are.. the pyramids, inspiring awe and disappointment at the same time.Like seeing a film so quoted by the critics that it could never really satisfy your expectations. The Giza pyramids are somehow belittled by the mass of Cairo surrounding it, and i had to keep reminding myself of the lack of tools and technology in the ancient times of their construction. The’ bent’ pyramid was perhaps my favorite, the context is more suggestive  and whilst approaching it  i enjoyed contemplating the engineers dilemna when he finally after years of work must have realised that it wasn’t going to work, how to make ammends?? Would his family suffer for his error..how many sleepless nights.

The white desert..chalk, dust and magnificent sculptures. A suprising landscape of modern art with the benefit of millions of years of erosion. The seed of our origins and the seccrets of our change. Shapes that appeal to the modern eye for their fresh lines and brilliant white. Our special feelings for deserts was truly satisfied

Our trip in Egypt ended in Assuan that for me remains a special place almost making me forget the stiffling heat (and that’s saying alot!) The city is of course characterised by the Nile and all activity around it and  we were lucky enough to spend most of our time on the west banks  with its distinctive blue Nubian villages and terracotta amforas in the shade of the trees offering fresh water to any who pasess . We( again)  had to repair a tyre rim and got to know Mohammed, who guided us around his village and took us for a sailing trip on his Faluka…from here the nightmare boat to Sudan, along with hundreds of other Sudanese refugees fleeing from Libya in inadequate spaces, truly inadequate hygenic standards for extortionate prices, but then thats another story! This is the only way at present out of Egypt…We hope the road will soon be open to foreigners.


Not Egypt

Well, as my friend Peter is so fond of saying….”shit happens”  There i was happy after my days work, ready to update the blog, when my screen was suddenly covered by a pattern of little green worms and a loud little harikiri shriek signalled the end of my computer….I have no longer been able to get it started and alas all my images are on a hard disk formatted for macs!! So sorry friends, if i come across a traveller with a mac i will try and make amends but if not …no Egypt for the moment, except this photo expressing quite eloquently my mood…..grrrrrrr….and rusmfusmrusmfusm.

I will of course ( re)write impressions as it would be unfair to leave such a beautiful country without paying a little homage. So when my mood has improved and other technical issues have been sorted i will update.