Monday, July 30: Today is supposed to be our last day in Cairo, and we spend the day mostly packing and gathering things together.
When I check my emails this morning, I find this one from R, written yesterday afternoon from Virginia:
Absolutelynothing to talk about, but that I felt like writing anyway. Spent the day with a house full of in-laws and kids. Repaired the rest of the toilets, graded papers, finished a few performance evaluations, and sent some emails tending to tasks long overdue. Just another Sunday in suburbia. Enough already. Taking my nieces to “Shear Madness” tonight. should be fun. I’ve not seen it in a long time, and always enjoy the theater (except when there is something much better to do).
Hope all is well in Cairo. Looking forward to your return. Good luck with it. Hope it doesn’t involve any camels or long stays on tarmacs.
I write him back:
I have absolutelynothing to talk about either, but I wanted to write to let you know I believe all is on for my flight back Tuesday. As of yesterday afternoon, there were only 3 people confirmed on the airplane, and I wasn’t one of them. But last night at 10 pm, Dr. Jones called my cell to let me know I am on (Insha’allah!) We will see about that.
I had to transfer money to my account on Saturday because I was down to $6. Hopefully I will be able to access it today, because I need to do some shopping for people back home. I thought I’d get the boys each shisha pipes; they can be decorative for now, but they can take them to college and smoke them later if they feel like it. They are just so cool.
Anyway, I am so looking forward, with some reservations re: family, etc., to my return and especially to seeing you again. I hope it will be very soon after my return. I hope you can get all your papers graded, etc, so you will have a little time for me.
I hope you enjoyed Shear Madness with your nieces. I can’t even imagine being back in such civilization where people go to theater, etc.
I am going to miss Cairo terribly, however, and it is difficult in many ways to think of my life back in the old U.S.A.
See you soon,
I go shopping one more time at Khan al Khalili because I want to buy some gifts. I buy my daughter several pairs of earrings and each of my sons a hookah, an Eastern smoking pipe with a long tube passing through an urn of water that cools the smoke as it is drawn through.
Basim wants to see me one more time before I leave. We go in the late afternoon to Wadi Degla Desert Protectorate for a hike. This was the place where I went to my first Cairo Hash and where I first met Basim. It’s a hot day, with no shade in sight, and we climb up to the top to get a grand view of the Wadi. We have a lovely time laughing and walking and I can’t help but feel really sad that I’ll probably never see him again.
As he’s driving me back to Muquttum, I take a picture of a pretty mosque along the way. I am starting to feel nostalgic about Cairo already, despite the fact I haven’t even left. 😦
I am really so sad to be leaving Cairo. And believe it or not, I will really miss Basim. 😦