And this is about how it went.
You fly with an eclectic bunch of folks from Hong Kong into Qatar, whisked into a white-washed airport with women and men whose flowing robes cascade across the shiny tiles. You sit with a huge cup of coffee, calculating that it’s early morning here, late morning in China, and catch a glimpse of the red sun rising over the sandy, dusty desert.
And then it’s onto another airport in Abu Dhabi, where you hear the call to prayer and see women filing into a room adjacent to the bathroom, dipping their heads to colorful carpets in the direction of Mecca. The airport has an air of tradition coupled with modern opulence, sparkling purple and green tiles lining the vaulted ceiling.
And then you touch down in Cairo, the sprawling city a sea of honking horns, and beige landscape where the apartments blend with the endless stretch of flat land, construction inseparable from desert, dust, dusk.
You crowd into the minuscule elevator which slowly creeks to your friends’ seventh floor apartment, and when you enter your covet everything you see–from the wood carvings, to the coffee, to the wine, the hummus, the olives, the cheese–everything China has been denying you, Cairo seemingly has.
And you pour glasses of wine and dig into a meal in the company of friends you have known for years and have been missing for over half the last one. You gab about the trips you will take, to see Coptic and Islamic Cairo, into the desert, hiking Mount Sinai, and as you slip into bed that evening, your head hits the pillow hard, and the despite the fact that you know you’re high on the possibilities, the company, and the delirious jetlag, you feel wonderfully, strangely, impossibly home.