The cauldron known as Egypt boiled over last week. I close my eyes, and I conjure up the time I spent in Cairo a few years ago. It is already a hazy memory, but a new light is shining on that time.
I’m at the start of a long life of travels, but one thing that really changed in me was a perception of how small the world really is. This week I read about border fighting between Thailand and Cambodia, and I can remember baking in the Thai sun, waiting for my visa to be ready in order to cross that border. I read about mudslides in Peru, and I think about my many colleagues in that region – some whom I’ve met, but the vast majority strangers to me. These locations stop being foreign in my mind, and instead bring a sense of longing to me, a memory of passing assistance from a kind stranger, people who briefly entered my life, made an impact, and departed none the wiser.
Egypt filled me with a sense of romantic mystique when I was younger. I devoured books on mummification, stared at photos of hieroglyphs, marveled at the Pyramids. The word itself filled me with wonder and lust (and eventually, wanderlust). But it didn’t dawn on me until I was much older that there were people in modern Egypt, and I didn’t know much about them. I still don’t.
So I wait along with the rest of the world, and hope for a new tomorrow. And when I close my eyes, this is the Cairo I remember…
Smog and all.