African LuckFebruary 2, 2009 • By Kelly Glynn
It seems my luck has turned around as I spent the last 3 days pool side and utilizing the 5-star amenities. I couldn’t bring myself to leave the Hilton grounds and I trust I had enough enjera and dire wot to last me a few years. I also had the pleasure of welcoming the African Union summit to Addis Ababa. I thought it was interesting the Summit was being held at the Hilton/Sheraton knowing my feelings about African leaders. All the greats were there–Kadafi from Libya, Mugabe the nut job from Zimbabwe currently negotiating a “job” share, Sudan’s president and some 15 or so other African leaders. Of course Morocco doesn’t deem it necessary to move Africa forward so it backed out of the union in the 80s. This also begs the question as to why Ethiopia agreed to host the Summit. Most Ethiopians don’t consider themselves to be African. I can’t figure out if it is because they point out they aren’t “black” or if it is because they have never been a colony. I’ve got news for them. They are African and they aren’t any better off than the rest.
I gave my final two cents to the national travel group about their shitty hotels and I was off to the airport. After a lay over in a place called Khartoum which on quick glance at the Ethiopian Airlines map I worked out to be in Sudan, I arrived exhausted but safely in Cairo.
I had a spectacular wake up call at 6AM. Who knew Cairo made New York City horn blowers look weak? I’m not even sure what they are honking at as no one is looking anyway. It could possibly be because they drive in the CENTER instead of keeping to a lane. My hotel is right on the Nile so I was excited to get some early Nile shots. I negotiated the streets like I do in every foreign land I sort of pretend to be with the local women when crossing hoping they are either going to cross safely or they will sacrifice their lives for me.
From there, I did a little Felucca on the Nile….picture gondola cheese but its a boat-sailboat. Good times! I also checked out the Egyptian Museum, which is pretty amazing and should not be missed. It really makes me appreciate this regions incredible beliefs and history. The mummies, the tombs, the jewelry all quite a feat considering the tools people had in ancient civilization. They essentially “lived” for the afterlife hence the detail paid in preserving their bodies and riches. It’s also remarkable to see how intact some of the writings and structures are after thousands of years. In particular, I was impressed with their belief in the power of the lion, jackal and falcon and the symbolization each of these animals served.
I’m off to an ethnic Egyptian restaurant and to see some belly dancers. I won’t be performing since my stomach is a little sunburned. Maybe next time. I will admit the men are into my blond hair here. I feel almost wanted again. It couldn’t possibly be because the majority of the women here are covered.