While the idea that I have different “lives” across the world is something I resist, It’s true that it’s often hard to forge connections between lifestyles, friends, scenery and activities, which are vastly different. Life as a novella, sometimes seems more fitting.
Showing Jess my street, apartment, favorite juice stands and Sudanese restaurants, (where I can never order quite what I want) Boston, the choices I made to be here and the continuity of my life and identity felt more tangible.
Seeing Jess accept the anomalies of Cairo, hang out in my office and flat, and laugh and argue with my friends, my world felt smaller.
We learned an important lesson in Alex.
Being a tourist during Ramadan is rough.
After catching a bus arriving and enjoying a delicious fish lunch, we set off for the two “touristy” destinations Jess was interested in. The first, Fort Qaitbey, is a citadel built in the 1480s and revamped by Mohammed Ali. According to my guidebook it’s the site of a lighthouse, which was one of the ancient wonders of the world, but was reduced to rubble by earthquakes in 1303.
Remembering the views of the city, fishermen, vivid green algae and salty fresh breeze, I was eager to return too. Upon arrival we learned it had abbreviated hours and we couldn’t enter.
Off to our next destination, Alex’s famous $355 million library, we hoped the guidebook’s 7 p.m. closing time would not disappoint. Hopping out of the cab, unlit windows and closed doors greeted us.
Though our day of being touristy turned into mostly coffee and conversation, it was one of the best. Unlike back in Cairo, where I feel at home, in Alex we were genuinely traveling and exploring together.
Come back to Cairo.
I miss you Jess!!