I entered what I can only describe as an old abandoned asylum. There were no people there. There were no sounds aside from the humming of the lights. There was an overwhelming foreboding of something gone wrong. I simply assumed that I had entered from the back and would soon find the rest of the caucus. I was wrong and I realized this is why people always die in horror movies. It is so easy to make a dumb mistake.
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I miss getting into playful Egyptological arguments with scholars over martinis at The Royal Bar. I even miss the touts demanding baksheesh and donkey drivers hollering at me. I miss the filth in the streets and the flies that buzz around the horses. I miss the robes and the heat and the ferry across the Nile. I miss the cacophony of sounds at night when you’d hear honking horns and bellowing camels and the call to prayer. It suited me and I need to get back. Once I get this terrible year behind me, I’m going to treat myself to a glorious return to the sands of Egypt.
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I’ve never been over it, so when I found this note addressed to a young woman that was certainly not me, I felt like it could have been addressed to me. “I wish you the best in life,” Barbara told a woman named Caitlin but it might as well have been me. It could not have been a coincidence. It was simply too fortuitous. And as Lady M told me one evening on the rooftop in Giza, there is no such thing as a coincidence. Coincidences aren’t real. And I would never have learned that life changing affirmation or valuable lesson from Lady M if it hadn’t been for Barbara Mertz. I finally went to Egypt in 2014 because of Barbara and it changed my life for the better. I feel so immensely blessed.
Cairo was not one of my favorite places. I can’t even pretend that it was. I found the place chaotic and fascinating, but when I was there for a week, I failed to develop any irrational passion for the city. Luxor and Paris and Turin and Mexico City and Los Angeles, well, those were all different. I immediately loved them, oftentimes for no reason, often for the way they made me feel. Cairo made me feel vulnerable and foolish at first. I didn’t understand the city, and I can’t claim that I do now.
I have no love or deep appreciation of space. It doesn’t thrill me. I have no real interest in ever visiting even though that might be possible by the time I die. I wouldn’t mind going to a five star resort on the Moon. That’d be extra and surely a good story, but I have no desire to shoot off to Mars and die. Why go anywhere without a Hilton or an Olive Garden?