Friday, February 4, 2011

Egypt and Stuff

Because I'm extremely ignorant and don't have time to read the newspaper, I've only recently been catching up on all this Egypt business and still I remain sickeningly uninformed. In any case I wanted to mention a conversation I had with my tour leader when I was visiting Egypt back in 2009. First of all, to set the stage: we are in Dahab, a beautiful little hippie town along the Red Sea. It is dusk. We are sitting on the terrace of a fellow tour-member's hotel room as we wait for the next bus-trip into town. The tour leader has offered us hashish because he is just that kind of professional, takes-his-job-seriously-always kind of dude.
Dahab. My feet.
Anyway I started asking him a bunch of questions. In between puffs he told me that people were unhappy with the president but nothing could be done. If people spoke up or protested, he told me, they would not be heard from again. I also heard while I was there that if a tourist was stolen from and the police figured out who was the perpetrator, he could be killed. I don't know if this is true but it freaked me out nonetheless. I never felt unsafe while I was there and actually think that the people I met in Egypt were some of the most welcoming people I've come across in my travels, but you can betcher ass that if they'ed robbed me I'd be keeping that incident to myself rather than telling the cops. My tour leader also told me that the situation in Egypt would always be that way; after the current president left office, his son would take his position, and so on and so on so that things would never change.

Guess he was wrong about that one.

Egypt was really amazing, though. In Dahab Brittaney amassed a collection of hotel staff groupies who loved that her name was Britney Spears, and I daily played volleyball with them even though they referred to me as Britney Spears' friend. It was beautiful and hot and I got attacked by a stray dog when I tried taking a photo with him. I spent a couple days in Lisbon after the trip, and there I met an Egyptian guy who gave me his address and email and told me the next time I was in the country I could stay at his family's house. See what I mean about welcoming? I want to go back but maybe I'll have to wait until it cools down a little bit.

I've also been reading up on all the crap that's going on in Mexico but remain steadfastly undeterred in my ambitions to teach there. Tonight Juliet and Carissa are coming over for a pre-game session of job hunting and wine before we make our way out for a wander. We had pretty much narrowed our search to Latin America but then the other day the word "Thailand" was spoken. Followed by the names of some other tropical-ish locales in that portion of the world, so we shall see. I'd really love to keep living in a Spanish-speaking country, but the fact is, as in the grand tradition of the U.S. education system, I have graduated with crap amounts of student loan debt. The Egypt trip was also where I learned that Australians pay their student loans as a percent-deduction from their paychecks. Meaning.. if they're unemployed or working outside the country, they are not paying. Lucky bastards.

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