Beginnings / Cairo / egypt

Modern-day Caravan

Saturday was a rough day for me, kiddos. Definitely not in terms of anything I did or that happened-literally went into work for a couple of hours, wrote some lesson plans, came home- but rather in terms of all the things I didn’t get to do. Pretty much every event minus one that I dreaded missing by coming to Cairo happened in that 24 hours. I missed a Tough Go Ruck event with people I love from my crossfit gym (aka a military tribute/training-based all-night event you shouldn’t even consider unless you’re bizarrely masochistic), one of my dear friends from high school got married, and my family packed up for the annual trip to Estes Park Colorado to meet up with my dad’s entire side. (Colorado is essentially the best, I love going there, and it’s killing me to get texts saying everyone is sitting in my uncle’s insanely peaceful backyard drinking sweet tea and waiting for my aunt’s undoubtedly amazing meal to be done cooking.)

So I had a lot of time Saturday to sit around biting my nails, just refreshing social media to see pictures and messages of all the things I’m hoping I was right to skip out on, in the bigger picture. It sucked.

Luckily, the weekend started on a much higher note with a trip to the desert, because Becky likes sand.

Caravan-ing it. Or I guess you could pretend they're my entourage.

Caravan-ing it. Or I guess you could pretend they’re my entourage.

One cool thing about going to the Middle East is that anyone you meet here can connect you to like a thousand people. (Literally five minutes after telling Facebook I was moving to Cairo I had messages from all kinds of humans over here.) A friend of mine I met while in Jordan connected me to a friend of his from high school, who is Egyptian and currently partying on down in Cairo. He’s been crazy helpful giving me suggestions and answering questions, and we finally got together on Friday with some friends of his to go off-roading in the desert via a friend’s membership in Egypt’s Jeep Club.

Admittedly I was much more comfortable riding THIS kind of camel than I usually am.

Admittedly I was much more comfortable riding THIS kind of camel than I usually am.

The club, basically, is for people who own Jeeps and love using them for excursions that put them up to what they’re designed for. So we met up with about 30 other Jeeps overall at Dandy Mall, and as one giant convoy (which eventually struck me as a 21st century caravan) drove about an hour outside of Cairo in the direction of agricultural Fayoum. And then, as you do, we took a sharp left, abandoned the road, and hit the desert for a little orientation before continuing on.

This guy.

This guy.

The benefit of this special club was being treated to some pretty cool scenery driving through the middle of nowhere in 117 F/46C weather. Because seriously, WHO KNOWS where to navigate to in that barren desert?! There were lots of pauses for cool downs and some photos, but the best was on a high plateau overlooking a pretty giant lake. Yes, I took a ‘caravan’ to an oasis. Boom, Egypt done. In the books, guys. Peace.

...How this pops up in the middle of pure sand, I do not know. Nice change of scenery, though!

…How this pops up in the middle of pure sand, I do not know. Nice change of scenery, though!

We finished our tour at a smaller oasis surrounded by more plateaus and sand dunes–which we then drove all over in the jeep, because that is what you do. Seriously. And what do you do after tiring yourself out from sitting in a car all day jostling through the desert? YOU EAT.

Final camp where we had dinner below. Note the tracks on the sand dunes to the right...that was us.

Final camp where we had dinner below. Note the tracks on the sand dunes to the right…that was us.

Shortly after this photo was taken, our car did the same thing. Yikes.

Shortly after this photo was taken, our car did the same thing. Yikes.

Unfortunately I didn’t get any photos of the food because I was suddenly very hungry and pretty much inhaled it  (/also didn’t want to be the one awkward white person taking photos of ALL THE THINGS that everyone else thinks are normal), but it involved some really tender chicken, kofta, rice, veggies, etc. Definitely hit the spot. Despite not actually doing anything we were exhausted, and so our car rolled back to Cairo pretty much immediately, but we still managed to have some good conversation on the way. I will fully admit I wimped out of attempting ANY Arabic because the guys I was with were perfectly-and I do mean perfectly-fluent in English. And of course once you start down the all-English road, it’s hard to turn that camel around and go the other way. But still, it was a really unique experience and nice to see something outside of Cairo–let alone my hostel room.

Parked our car under a precariously-posed boulder to look down across the lake.

Parked our car under a precariously-posed boulder to look down across the lake.

On another positive note for the weekend, I am now settled in my new apartment. More on that soon.

Cheers guys,

-B

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