I’ve just arrived in Cairo from the Sinai where after ending my volunteership (is that a word?) at Habiba Organic Farm I, among others, inhabited some bungalows in an abandoned camp directly beside the Habiba Village on the beach in Nuweiba.
I lived in a bungalow, about 40m from the ocean, slept and woke to the sound of waves crashing and mosquitoes buzzing around my net. I smoked a lot, every day, because all I was doing was smoking, swimming, reading, writing, cooking….that’s about it. I made some cool friends, see Mom! And I’m homesick.
I’m not homesick in that way where I’m crying and dying and complaining at every turn. More like, I feel I could’ve done this better, been more prepared, planned more, been more disciplined with my money and more prepared financially. It’s kind of like a silent resentment towards myself and a ever growing desire to return home.
Not to mention, Western society is not all that bad. You don’t have to worry about (almost) everyone holding out their hand after they do anything for you, even if you didn’t ask. You don’t have a thousand taxi drivers hassling you as soon as you exit a bus, grabbing at your arm and your bags. You don’t have to struggle to communicate with people. You understand what’s happening around you. You have your routine, whatever that may be.
Don’t take this the wrong way. I enjoy, enjoyed, and will enjoy Egypt. But, I’m beginning to think I was sensationalizing it a bit. Now that my expectations are dashed I can begin to see my trip in the light of the reality that I should have. I don’t have enough money to be here doing the things that a normal tourist would do (e.g. camel excursions, trips down the Nile, tours around Luxor and Aswan, hotels on the Mediterranean in Alexandria, diving off Sharm El Sheikh and Dahab, desert excursions into lake-top pools in the Sinai, three-night excursions into the White and Black Desert, etc.), but I do have feet, and eyes, and ears and a nose and a mouth, not to mention a notebook, camera, and voice recorder. I have my child-like curiosity and boundless energy. So, I walk.
Yup, time to dash all your expectations of what I’m doing here. Mostly, I sit and watch people, or I walk. I walk a lot, especially in Cairo. A couple hours a day, usually. At first I would just get lost in Dokki, the area of Giza my brother lives in, but after about 2 1/2 weeks I’d become fairly familiar with the whole area, so now I go to new places in the city, and get lost, again, and again, and again.
But in reality, I’m just bumming around Egypt, and it ain’t so bad. Not to mention hitch-hiking in the Sinai, Jordan and Israel, sleeping on random beaches along the way.
My one word of hard and fast advice, nay a rule: Do NOT get Dead Sea water in your eyes; there is a reason it’s called the Dead Sea.