Oct 21: Arrive in Cairo

Short flight from Amman to Cairo, which to eyes that had become accustomed to the unbelievable aridity of Jordan, Cairo from the air looked remarkably green.

We are in a wildly bustling part of the city. No way I can describe the throbbing of people and vehicles of every type jostling with one another to move. Our hotel is on the 5th floor off a little alley and through a dusty courtyard. It certainly lacks the amenities of a Marriott or even a Super 8 Motel. But we all love this beautiful quirky place full of Egyptian and Venetian period pieces. A real hotel du charme. We were joined at dinner by Cathtyn Goddard, an American economist who has chosen to remain in Cairo after her Egyptian husband died. We will see her several times and her fond but unsentimental eye will add a fascinating perspective.

Like Jordan, virtually all women are covered to greater or even greater extent. But you see women in black with only slits for eyes hopping on a motorcycle holding a baby and weaving through traffic of buses, cars and pedestrians.

We have been told by both Egyptian guide and by Cathryn that Cairo is a very very safe city any time of day or night. The moral code of Islam is said to be the reason. In Jordan, Hassan expressed his rage at those he says hijack Islam and use it’s name to commit horrendous crimes.

I will try go capture something of the feel of this place and the hotel in pictures as well as words. Not easy.

Welcome Dinner: David Schmitt, our discussion leader, and Margery Collins, who just joined the group with her husband.

The shop windows are a real surprise.

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