TRAVEL THERE: ROADSIDE DETRACTIONS
Our time in Egypt is coming to an end. We are on our way back to Cairo from Alexandria. We had a couple of detours, but made it in time to get on the boat for a family celebration. Come along for the ride.
Alex to Cairo
After our visit to the archaeological sites in Carmous, we’d planned to take in another important historical contribution to Egypt’s culture. The early introduction of Christianity to Egypt had an interesting by-product. Egyptians eagerly embraced monotheism and added their own particular brand of devotion – monasticism. Egyptian monastic aesthetes led the the way in creating places for men and women to withdraw from the world and serve Jesus Christ.
That was the plan, but then there were the Good Friday massacres. In response to these horrific bombings, the Roman Catholic pope was going to make a visit to Egypt – unprecedented in modern times. This was good news for Christianity in Egypt, but it had some side effects. One of them was the closing of the monasteries to outside visitors in the days leading up to the visit.
In true Egyptian fashion, we had to arrive at the gate of the monastery to find out they were closed, but it was a nice detour. We got off the main road to travel through some rural areas and small towns on the way to the monastery. It was the Muslim holy day and it was great to see all the white clad men in their caftans and turbans walking to their place of worship. I rode along thinking about the juxtaposition of these two forms of worship. Then we got to the gate and discovered what had seemed like such a tranquil setting was actually hiding the age old conflict between Christian and Muslim.
Our Potty Stop
So, we’d enjoyed the restroom facilities near Pompey’s Pillar. I assumed I’d be able to visit the restroom again at the monastery, but we were turned away at the gate. Religious differences aside, I needed a toilet. Besides the obvious issue, I had another problem. Women are supposed to wear long sleeves at the monastery and if they are wearing a skirt, it should be long and there should be no bare legs or feet. In other words I was about to burn up.
Izzat didn’t seem real happy about finding a restroom for us to visit, but as always he assured us he would take care of our needs. Did you ever see the movie Deliverance? Well there was no river with wooded shores when we stopped at a roadside convenience store, but I could have sworn I heard the soundtrack playing – just not on the banjo.
I made short work of my wardrobe adjustments and potty stop. Then I high-tailed it back to the car. I think Bill and Izzat got some snacks, but I wasn’t going to waste any time. Izzat was a perfect driver, but he was awful at finding restrooms. I don’t think that was from a lack of trying, but a scarcity of facilities. We’d had difficulty with this at both ends of the trip to Alexandria.
Cairo is up next and you’ll love The Pharaoh Cruise. See you next week