A country’s ability to absorb in everything it has been through AND still have so much love to give is a country worth falling in love with. Despite the turmoil, the crazy and sometimes life-threatening traffic jams which Egyptians undergo causes an odd personality change behind the wheel of a car, despite the smell of pollution and the chaos, the people of Egypt are still grateful. The unofficial Egyptian anthem of ‘Ma’lesh’ and ‘Inshallah’ (Never mind and God willing), the working-class heroes move, without orders, and at risk to their lives with a social code of every day is a new day dictating no one makes a fuss about things.
You can tell this was not my first visit to Egypt. I’ve been there many times before so I am not naive on the stories I hear around me. But you can tell, my recent experience was a very good one. Maybe I was lucky, I had way too many Buche de Noel, it was Christmas weekend as well and we checked into the Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at The First Residence which was practically 10 minutes away from the pyramids and we were looking for some peace and quiet. I had intended to visit the pyramids (again).
At least, that’s I how I fell in love with it the first time around. You see, in my past life, I must have been a historian discovering some sort of unparalleled universe…but back to this story.
We tend to forget what Egypt offers and the history of Ancient Egypt. A land where Egyptian Gods and Goddesses were worshiped for over 3,000 years. Where the pharaohs first celebrated the sun on the 25th of December 3,000 years ago. My visit was a personal one, it involved families and I’ve always wanted to be there on the sun celebration. You can tell, when you’re driving towards the hotel, that ancient Egypt is still in the facade. Ideally facing the zoo that was built in 1891, its street is like no other. Built inside a mall where old meets new, where Cairo’s upper class can be seen here visiting the top luxury brands.
At first thought, a quiet area, secluded from the noise outside, facing on the other part of the hotel, the river Nile, a major river in Africa and the longest one.
The beautiful people of Egypt believe in each other, not necessarily work with each other on that notion, but despite all odds, they still try and make it work. The waiter, on Christmas eve, while dining at STRADA, swallows as he takes my gluten free, dairy free, vegan order. I’m aware on how difficult this could be on the spot. It’s an Italian restaurant I thought to myself. I should have booked elsewhere, but, the chef so subtly, prepared a 4-course menu for me, right here and there and it was delicious.
We would wake up every morning at 7 am. I remember the light facing our room from the river and thinking how peaceful the view of Giza is from here. Everything was moving with ease, even the people kayaking at early sunrise. Our 7 am breakfast consisted of gluten-free bread and muffins. Thankfully, they had different choices to pick from. Egyptian breakfast, Intercontinental, Lebanese and English.
After 3 days in Egypt at Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at The First Residence I realized that I most definitely could do this again. That safety here is not an illusion but a real thing.
The noise you hear about Egypt is true. But life is nothing without a little chaos to make it all interesting.
Don’t forget Egypt.