Fun at the Pyramids with our friends and tour guide!
We are now at Intercontinental City Stars Hotel in Cairo. Right next door is the City Stars Mall - 7 stories of shops....shops....and more shops. We did find a souvenir shop in the mall and picked up a few things. Most of the people in our group (there were 15 of us traveling) are heading home late tonight or tomorrow. However, Mary Beth & Carol are staying until Monday night and Dennis & I are staying until Wednesday night.
Today we had an exciting flight back to Cairo, from Luxor. Our plane was delayed 15 minutes this morning. The odd thing was the weather wasn't bad so we were wondering why they'd delay the flight....hummmm. :) When we landed at Cairo Airport and were on the runway the front tire blew. Taxiing to our gate was a bit rocky. It's all about the experience.
This evening I met Heba's aunt (her mom's sister), one of her married cousins and her 2 children. The kids are 6 months and 2 1/2 years. They were adorable. However, it's not easy to talk to them in English when they only know Arabic. :) They were adorable. Heba's entire family is kind and welcoming....it's easy to see where Heba gets her personality and kind ways.
We had plans to travel to Salah's city, Tanta, tomorrow via train. However, he called this afternoon to inform us that his mother is ill - has been in the hospital, something more serious is wrong with her and they had to move her to another hospital so he must travel to see her tomorrow. We will meet him at the train station in his city for only a few minutes and then will continue on to Domyat which is a city along the sea - where the Mediterranean and Nile River meet. It's Heba's favorite place to visit. It'll be the first time I'll have the opportunity to "get my feet wet" and soak up some Middle Eastern sun.
Dennis & I are disappointed that we're unable to visit Salah's college and meet his family. However, we hope the best for his mother. Reflecting on our trip, thus far, we have had the wonderful opportunity to visit with many important delegates in Cairo. The feedback from the CCSIP and EE programs have been very positive. With the funding for both of these programs running out at the end of this academic year we are hopeful that we'll be able to provide future opportunities for Egyptian students and faculty to learn, share and grow with their American classmates and colleagues.
I've made some great connections with some VIP's here. We have visited several technical colleges and a private technical high school. There are endless opportunities for "making a difference" in Egypt. We have seen so many degrees of life in this country and have several more things planned over the coming days. One thing is for sure - many people we met this past week are interested in continuing to provide learning opportunities for others. Ken, Dennis & I are anxious to discuss our ideas and thoughts with our colleagues when we return.
For now - I'll share a few more photos of this journey and bid you all a good day!
Alaa & I at his college. They have a very impressive Tourism and Hotel Management program for their students which has been remodeled over the past 18 months.
We really enjoyed seeing Salah again!