Let me rewind for a minute and tell you that Egypt was the first place I visited outside of America. Unless you count a sunburned afternoon in Tijuana, which I don't. At the Cairo airport I tucked my money belt under a baggy shirt, pulled my hat down and braced myself for what I was told would be an incredible and overwhelming city. And it was. Everything after Cairo has seemed like a breeze in comparison.
We've been trying to balance romantic expectations with the very real instability and challenges we'll face in Egypt. We can't know exactly what it will be like until we get there, but we are trying to be as clear eyed as possible.
...but it's Egypt, people. There is so much to learn that my head spins from time to time. I've started a bit early and, as any good librarian would offer, here are a few titles if you want to dive into Egypt's rich literary and archeological history with me:
The Yacubian Building: Alaa Al Aswany
The Cairo Trilogy: Naguib Mahfouz
The Blue Manuscript: Abiha Al Khemir
Crocodile on the Sandbank (Amelia Peabody bk. 1): Elizabeth Peters
Temples, Tombs, and Hieroglyphs: A Popular History of Ancient Egypt: Barbara Mertz
Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East: Scott Anderson
A Brief History of Islam: Karen Armstrong (who I love)
The Road to Tahrir Square: Lloyd C. Gardner
The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit; A Jewish Family's Exodus from Old Cairo to the New World: Lucette Lagnado
Cairo the Victorious: Max Rodenbeck
Letters from Egypt: A Journey on the Nile, 1849-1850: Florence Nightingale
The Sisters of Sinai: How Two Lady Adventurers Discovered The Hidden Gospels: Jane Soskice
Here's to hoping we've grown the chops to take on the city!