We knew that an 11-hour bus ride would be quite a demanding adventure, but given the choice between jumping on a night bus and skipping the planned trip to Luxor, we chose the former. The train would have been a more convenient option, but a strike erupted in one of the railway towns, and workers would not allow trains to pass until the minister himself came to negotiate with them. So be it, we thought, unpredictability is a part of the charm when traveling Egypt three months after the revolution.
The bus was crowded, and my seat refused to lean back. After the evening prayer, two TV screens started showing Egyptian dramas. Our modest wish to get some sleep at night was too ambitious – earplugs did not shield all the screaming in the movies, which continued until around 1 AM. There was a brief period of silence until the morning prayer at dawn, after which the driver turned the TV on again.
Luxor temples: closed flowers – click on the images to enlarge them
I went to Egypt in April 2011, but I was so busy that I hardly wrote anything about it. One exception is this article for Cafe Babel. I spent hours showing photos and telling stories to family and friends, but all of them were still waiting to be ′immortalized′ in the blog. I found an old notebook that I used in Egypt, so I guess it′s time to translate and digitize these notes.
Why am I writing about this now? Several reasons. I keep following news from Egypt, and it seems it will never be the same as I saw it. With each day it moves away from what I saw three months after the revolution. Also, my friend whom I was visiting has already returned to Lithuania. Moreover, I recently visited Thailand and, although most people asked me if I had been to Asia before as if other Asian countries made a sort of transition to what I was experiencing there, Thailand felt more similar to Egypt than to other Asian countries. The political system of these countries is built around tensions between populists, weaker middle-class-based opposition, and the military. Both of these countries depend on tourism for their income. So traveling in Thailand made me reflect on my memories from Egypt.
My most regular readers will think that birthday makes me overly nostalgic. But in fact, searching for some long-lost research notes, I discovered notebooks that I had long forgotten. One of these unexpected treasures is my very detailed notes from studies in Sweden. Below are my impressions from fall 2005.
Some prices are too much even for the Swedes. So they try to get tipsy before going out and only take one ‘symbolic’ drink at a cafe or club. Perhaps this is not even a question of money. When they drink something before going out, they feel more relaxed, because otherwise they feel quite tense. Some tend to overuse [alcohol]. One night foreign students were simply having fun chatting at Cafe Olof while Swedes outside were breaking chairs.
It’s been a long time (3 years) since I went to Seoul, but, having found my guidebooks, notes and other things to lend them to my colleague, I realized that memory is fading fast, so I should record it now. The only blog entry I wrote about that trip was this. Continue reading →
It is an unusually warm winter in Lithuania, and of course when holidays come people are discussing the absence of snow.
In the meantime I’m slowly arranging some old photos, so I guess it’s a good excuse to share one from Sweden. In 2005 I went to Haparanda in the North of Sweden, where a Swedish family adopted me and my friend for Christmas. There was certainly no lack of snow back then.
Towards the Arctic Circle [click on the image to enlarge it]