CAIRO, EGYPT – We returned home this past week from our honeymoon in the Middle East. Our journey back was an emotional one, and we both yearned to stay longer. We knew this was no ordinary trip. Mohan and I had witnessed something historical. In many respects, it was the perfect moment to be in Egypt. As an International Affairs graduate student specializing in post-conflict security, I was able to witness first-hand a new democracy in the making. As a tourist – nay, traveler – visiting the ruins, it meant experiencing these prerequisite sites with no crowd and little hassle.
Tourism in the Middle East and North Africa has been hard hit from the revolts shaking the region. Our announcement to travel to the Arab world at a time when pro-democracy uprisings were spreading and being met with violent crackdowns, elicited fear for our safety, shock at our seemingly reckless decision to go, and awe at the impression of our fearlessness from friends and family in America. We felt, however, no danger our entire time in Egypt, as well as Syria – the subject of my next post.
During our 12-day stay in Egypt, we encountered a handful of mostly European visitors in Giza, Aswan, Luxor, and Abu Simbel, yet amazingly enough at no point did we meet another American!
Our first night was spent in downtown Cairo at a hotel close to Tahrir Square. Every Friday after prayer, Egyptians have been keeping up their protests on the main square. There is always something worthy of protest – women fighting for equal rights, Coptic Christians demonstrating against discrimination, drivers upset by the price of gas.
Below are some photos from our short time in Egypt.