The ups and pat downs of traveling in Egypt
I’ve been pushing myself pretty hard since arriving in Egypt. There is so much to see that I don’t want to miss out on anything. I have wonderful guides who are extremely knowledgeable and a wonderful driver. The traffic in Cairo is insane. There seem to be no rules except don’t hit anyone… and you come within centimetres of other vehicles. A typical three lane road will have seven vehicles across all at random angles. Horns are used here not in anger like at home but more as a “here I am” signal to let other drivers know that you arbitrarily going to cut across four lanes of traffic. It’s like watching a choreographed dance that moves and shifts in controlled chaos.
One of the pyramids I visited was called the Red Pyramid. This is one of the few pyramids that you can go into….if you can make it to the opening. The “door” to the pyramid is 100 feet up very steep stairs. There are no railings and each step is at least 12 inches high so your thighs get an incredible workout. Once you make it to the entrance after climbing in 35C heat, you are handed a flashlight as you duck into a hunch position as you descend over 200 feet into the bowels of the pyramid. To say this was a challenge is an understatement. It is dark and damp and kinda spooky but once inside the burial chamber you can stand up. There is a strong smell of ammonia which is probably due to bats and what they excrete. It takes maybe ten minutes to see the chamber….and then you have to ascend the 200 feet the same way you got down. By the time I reached the top of the tunnel I thought I would faint. I sat on a ledge trying to gather my strength and wits before starting the 100 foot climb down the steep steps. When I finally reached the bottom I was drenched in sweat and could no longer feel my legs. But I did it. I conquered a grand task and felt very satisfied with myself.
I’m finished in Cairo and have now flown to Hurghada, a beachside resort on the Red Sea. Egypt has a lot of security. Every monument, attraction, museum, hotel has xray scanners for your personal affects to be scanned and every person walks through a metal detector. There are armed guards carrying machine guns and drug and bomb sniffing dogs. At first it made me nervous but then I realized that because there is so much security I felt very safe!
Today at the airport I had to go through two sets of scanners. When I left Toronto I had a note from my surgeon identifying me as his patient and explaining that I had metal ports in my chest that might set off the metal detectors. They didn’t fortunately. Today however they did! Oh God, I’m in Egypt and have set off the security scanners. Fu#k. I was asked to step to the side and a woman proceeded to Pat me down. Arms stretched out to my side she moved her hands over my arms to my chest. She patted, stopped, looked at me and patted twice more with a lot more force. My chest is hard as a rock…nothing like what it “should” feel like and I could see the concern on her face. Oh lord please let this not become an international incident. I could imagine my parents watching CNN and hearing Anderson Cooper say “a Canadian woman has been detained in an Egyptian prison for smuggling….well we’re not sure, but something liquid and hard in her chest.” As my heart started to pound my eyes met hers and with a slight look of bewilderment she continued patting down the rest of my body. She went one last time to my chest and then waved me through. I could barely breathe. What an ordeal. Fingers crossed I can get through security at this new hotel. It would be a shame to have survived cancer only to die of stress!
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President of As You Like It Marketing & Communications Inc. Award winning speaker and author. Breast cancer fighter and blogger. I’m sharing my journey…the good, the bad and the ugly. Hoping to help anyone else that has been touched by breast cancer be it you or someone you know or love.
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