Looking through some old pictures, I came across these – those of my Egypt trip to Cairo and Sharm Al Shaikh – back in 2003. It was a memorable one-week holiday along with a group of senior travel industry officials from Bahrain and one that I will forever remember.
For once, I came across a “foreign” country resembling India – be it the ramshackle airport, the rickety old buses, the cows (and camels) on the streets, piles of garbage, motorists and all other traffic honking away – for a fleeting moment I thought I had taken the wrong plane out of Manama and landed in New Delhi or Mumbai!
Having by then stayed in Bahrain for a few years (and the UAE before that), I had all but forgotten what being in a dirty, overcrowded and smelly city was like. Cairo made me realize all’s not hunky dory in this world.
Nevertheless, the seven days we spent in the country were full of amazing surprises – the camel rides in the desert, the shopping spree at Khan Al Khalili market, the snorkeling adventure in the Red Sea, the Nile Cruise and the loads and loads of fresh seafood on the Sharm coast were all memories to last a lifetime.
I did promise I would return one day with the family but never did and, by the looks of it, never will – at least in the foreseeable future – considering the situation now.
I feel sad such a great nation is going to seed – such a great civilization is suddenly irrelevant and such a wonderful tourist destination has no tourists – especially after the recent incident involving the Russian airplane. I wonder whether it will rise again. I also wonder whether the West will let it!
In the meantime, I can only remember the great time we had and look at the pictures. And hope I will some day return!