I had planned to publish my second post about Cape Scott today, but the recent events in Egypt have changed my mind.
You all have heard about what is currently happening in Egypt. This country is close to my heart. I visited it twice in the nineties - the first time I went there from Israel, just to climb Mount Sinai to enjoy the sunset from there (that, by the way, would be a lovely blog post on its own); the second time I stayed again in the Sinai, Cairo, Alexandria and enjoyed a Nile cruise that was kind of out of this world.
Doing laundry - and waving at us rich tourists passing by on a luxurious boat
The people of Egypt - such a colorful crowd. I saw everything, from educated women in western clothes heading to their classes at University to women in beautiful gowns doing the laundry in the waters of the Nile to covered women both in the big cities and in rural areas. Men who work the fields and in tourism - "maids" in hotels, waiters in bars and restaurants, staff on the cruise ships. Educated men in suits who work in Cairo, students who work as tour guides. Men who just hang out in the old temples, sell souvenirs to the tourists, follow you everywhere in the hope of selling you some trinket or other. Children who guard the goats or work in small factories, weaving rugs and beautiful carpets (this made me sick to my stomach). I remember how often I felt guilty to have so much money (compared to what they have) that enabled me to travel the world; often I felt like a voyeur and I wasn't always happy with myself taking all these pictures. People were so incredibly kind and friendly. What they always asked for was a "stylo" - a pen. Good thing I had tons of them as I was also journaling furiously at that time.
This is a poor country. And it doesn't look that this is going to change anytime soon. I remember how safe I felt there - well, that certainly is a thing of the past. Egypt will lose big time in its tourism industry, and that means the country's economy will suffer since tourism has been so important for it. I feel blessed that I could visit this beautiful and somehow magical country and I am tremendously saddened by its development over the past months.
I took these pictures of the people in Egypt 17 years ago. Many of them will still be there, some of them will have passed away. I wonder what has happened to them, what is happening to them right now. How they make ends meet. How they survive.