Wow...what an amazing start to this journey! There is so much I want to tell you....but where to begin.....
First of all, the flights all went well. No delays and the layover in Rome was enjoyable! The Rome Airport was a bit unique....with lots of shops and numerous candy stores selling chocolates of all kinds! Needless to say, I went shopping!!!
When we arrived in Cairo the Fulbright coordinator met us shortly after we stepped into the airport and buzzed us right through the customs process. That was greatly appreciated. Once we retrieved our bags Heba was waiting for us. She was overwhelmed with emotions to have the opportunity to reunite with me. It was a joyous moment for both of us.
We headed to the hotel, got checked in and then had no time to relax as we headed to the Pyramid light show. It was educational and impressive. We then took a taxi to downtown Cairo. Heba took Dennis & I to her favorite restaurant. We had grilled chicken, steamed vegetables and a "loaf" of fried bread. It was delicious! After a shower and a few hours of sleep Heba and I were up at 5 this morning. We walked along the Nile River, saw the local police/security guiding the local river port and hotel district and then took city transportation to her parents apartment.
It was EXTREMELY emotional for me to meet her parents. For those of you who know the bond Heba and I share it was an honor to have met her parents. They are filled with love and joy and it's amazing to now be sitting in their home.
The city Heba's parents live in, Giza, a suburb of Cairo is quieter. I've seen the local market, the local mall and construction of the new University of Cairo building - near their home. U of C is expanding. similar to Kirkwood's county centers. It's an exciting expansion for them. However, their quiet community will become busier once that opens.
To access the internet at the hotel it's $30 per day - in American dollars. Needless to say, Heba and I are going to purchase a USB card, through her cell phone provider, in order for me to have access to blog daily without having to pay this high rate.
I've taken lots of photos and will share them this evening. We are now headed to the hotel where Dennis, Ken and Michael will join us for a day of site seeing.
My first impressions of Cairo are simple....it's a crowded city but our special hostess, Heba, is providing us with incredible insight and information to the culture and customs. The education we will all gain from Heba's generous openness and willingness to explain everything is already proving to be invaluable.
A picture is worth a thousand words and this evening I'll share many.
Enjoying the journey,