Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Escape From Madness

We escaped the chaos of Cairo under the cover of darkness last night. Our travel agency booked us on the 5:00 a.m. flight to Aswan, so we had to be up and out of the hotel by 2:45 a.m. None of us has slept yet.

Happiness is leaving Cairo. It is a stressful city, full of people on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Sadness, frustration and anxiety fill the pollution-laden air. The pain in your chest that comes from the ubiquitous diesel fumes restricts just how deeply you can beathe. No yoga here.

Imagine the relief when we landed in Aswan this morning and then jumped a quickie flight to Abu Simbel, both of which are in Nubia (Upper Egypt, which is in the south). The air is clean, the weather is warmer and there is no traffic. We went to the spectacular temples of Ramses II at Abu Simbel this morning. Then flew back to Aswan to start our cruise to Luxor. The afternoon activity was a relaxing ride on a felucca boat on the Nile. Those two hours on the water melted the last week away.

My family is great and I loved their company, but we cannot take being force fed anymore. All of us have put on weight from the heavy meals and endless sweets. Poor hubby is too polite to tell people to knock it off so he has probably tried every pastry made in Egypt. My family loved him and he fit right in. This is probably because, as I have observed on this trip, I come from a family of Alpha females (which is likely where I get it from) who are married to even-keeled men who keep things calm (which describes my husband perfectly). Our relationship fits right into the mold of my family. This visit has been a reminder of how lucky I am to have had such amazing role models throughout my life. Women who are successful, smart, happily married and equal partners with their husbands.

Who knew you could find that in a Muslim country?

Off to the temple of Philae tomorrow.

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