February 22, 2011

A Taylor-Lenz Adventure Series - Adventures in Egypt

Last summer, when we were not out exploring in our trailer and were a bit more sessile, I put together two Adventure Series- 30 Days in the Rocky Mountains and Highlights of New England to discuss previous areas we had explored before I had this blog. Well, I've decided that in honor of the Revolution in Cairo, I would put together my next Adventure Series based on our trip to Egypt in December of 2005.

That Christmas Break in Italy, Linda and I decided to do something very different. We invited our co-worker and friend Kathleen and decided to go to Egypt. As you can imagine with us, our trip was not your normal American experience there. We didn't just hop on the Nile boat tour with 50 other tourists. Rather, the three of us went our own way and to places Americans often do not go, especially the Sinai Peninsula.

Our time in Egypt was a real eye opener for us in so many ways. It was our first time ever in a primarily Muslim and Arabic country. It was also our first time visiting a country with so much abject poverty. Our experiences going through military checkpoints with Army soldiers and sometimes seemingly random civilians with machine guns was surreal. We also had the experience of having one of those "plain clothes police officers" you heard about on CNN with us for part of the trip.

But, Egypt is also a country of spectacular beauty, amazing history, and warm and friendly people. While there were times of being uncertain and uncomfortable due to our stepping away from our Euro-American expectations, we had a wonderful experience in that country that we will never forget. In fact, we talked about then going back to see more of the country and maybe we will again someday.

We also had the opportunity to talk to a cross-section of Egyptian society, from devout Muslims to Coptic Christians, Bedouins living in a cave to modern Westerners in suits. We even had the chance to talk politics with many of these folks including discussions of the Mubarek regime, the Muslim Brotherhood, oppression and minority rights, and everything in between. Everyone we talked to seemed to be so open in discussing their beliefs and impressions, including the differences between Americans, Brits, and other Europeans...

So, this series will take you from the crowded streets of Cairo to the stark desert of the Sinai Peninsula. From the warm waters of the Red Sea to the magnificent temples of Luxor. From the farms of the upper Nile to the stunning paintings of the ancient Egyptian tombs. For the next couple of weeks, this is the Egypt we came to know.

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