Back from a week in ... Egypt. A gift fr ... / 2009-03-02

2009-03-02 Back from a week in ... Egypt. A gift fr ... 10 years ago
Back from a week in ... Egypt. A gift from Mirjam's parents. We saw Cairo, the pyramids, El Fayoum and Alexandria. It's an amazing feeling to visit 5000 year old man-made constructions. At the same time Egypt now is a very chaotic country with noise everywhere. For the first time I found Dutch traffic calm compared to what I had seen. Especially in Alexandria you constantly hear car horns.

Lots of security theatre ofcourse, but seeing 3 man militairy police (Koninklijke Marrechaussee) on Schiphol airport with automatic weapons was more shocking than seeing truckloads of police and soldiers with automatic weapons in Egypt. I sort-of expect it in Egypt (although the travel brochures downplay it a bit). The Egyptian 'tourist police' is everywhere and most places where tourists come are guarded. Metal detectors everywhere beeping but most of the time the beeping is ignored by the guards.

I could have done with less adventure: first one of our bags went missing on the flight to Egypt. Nothing really important in the bag but irritating. Then on Sunday evening we went walking in Cairo and found a police cordon in the area we wanted to visit. We had dinner in a restaurant near the cordon but it had moved a few streets back when we left the restaurant so all the international press was gathered and tried to get a statement from the obviously European tourists leaving the area. But we had no idea at that time what happened. Some of the group asked the reporters what happened and got a bit of idea: a bomb attack. Friends back in the Netherlands alerted us to the fact that we were on TV tuesday morning. I looked quite lost, which was exactly what I felt like at that time. And only when we arrived home and browsed the newspapers we noticed that an airplane had crashed near Schiphol during the week.

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