Image by Jorge-11 via Flickr
It's surreal to see the unrest in Egypt. Actually, I visited the country almost 20yrs ago as military serviceman. In fact, I have fond memories of the coastal city Hurghada, as I spent most of my time there while in Egypt. The red snapper was excellent and the people were extremely friendly. One particular episode, weighs heavy on my mind. I recall having dinner in a local cafe with some fellow shipmates. For whatever reason, I had run out of Egyptian pounds. The meal was actually 20 pounds and I only had something like 15 pounds. Ordinarily, not having enough money to settle the bill is a recipe for disaster. Get out the latex gloves and bust some suds or run for the nearest ATM. Quite the contrary, the restaurant host simply paid the difference and was gracious in doing so. Obviously, I will never forget this generosity. Very refreshing and quite rare indeed.
I also had the opportunity to visit Cairo and the Pyramids of Giza. A site to behold, and one that is truly a world wonder. If you find true engineering to be godly work, then you will appreciate these pyramids. I traveled to the bottom and one of our tour guides presented me with a Quran for safekeeping. A very humbling experience. While I know that the present day inhabitants of Egypt are not the indigenous people, I felt very at home in Egypt. Regardless, whether they knew I was a US serviceman or tourist I could see they generally wanted me to enjoy my stay in their country. While in Cairo, I got a chance to walk the streets and experience urban North African style. I even talked to people about the Six-Day War, a great education for me to put it mildly. The Cairo Museum had a treasure trove of artifacts that I really wished I had been able to photograph.
Fast forward to the unrest you see on the major and minor media outlets, very sad. It is amazing that a people who have been forced to sacrifice, will eventually be forced to unite and prepare for a bloody revolution to gain freedom. I sure hope the Americans let the Egyptian people decide the outcome. If you're unaware of the how all this occurred check out Wikileaks and an assortment of other documents in the wilds of the InterWeb.