Once inside the walls of the hotel the flood gates broke and there was laughter and talking and carousing.
We collapsed. Violet and Anastasia talked about the gratitude for being able to be a woman and just dance and feel so open and free and that maybe to these men – to the men who watched them – maybe there’d be some inspiration.
It was all wild and colliding now. Words and energies. Jaclyn to my left reached over me and grabbed Violet to my right, tickling her. To the Muslim man watching from the balcony above, it was just one more example of sex-crazed western women.
We retired to the bar where musicians from Fannah fi Allah began playing Krishna chants and Sufi songs. Older tourists showed up in the lobby who seemed to be on their way to the airport. They looked bewildered and curious – who were all these people? Where did they come from?
After much laughter, love, talking, Violet and I went to bed.
The next day, after packing up the art and making any last good byes, we hopped into a cab with Jimmy and, for more than we’d hoped to pay and due to a mix-up in schedules, took it all the way to Alexandria where we planned on having a day on the edge of the Mediterranean before leaving on the morning of the 25th from the Cairo airport.
Alexandria, the second largest city of Egypt, was once home to the great Library of Alexandria as well as a great number of philosophers and thinkers including one of Violet’s heroes – Hypatia, the sole female philosopher of antiquity. So it was a bit of a trip to pay homage to her as well as taste this edge of Egypt.
We had a room at the Egypt Hotel and after a bit of a run around, our cab driver found it. Up on the fourth floor, with high ceilings, and a balcony over looking the bay and Mediterranean, we breathed for a while. The lights of this city – the finished edge of Egypt, we joked, because now all the buildings seemed finished, and the lights, the cafes, the commerce, it was edging into the more modern cities of Europe.
In the morning, I went to a café, built in the mid-1800s in the sort of European Greco-Roman styles, I wrote. We wandered the streets – old buildings, dirty and sculpted, streets wandered at one time by philosophers of the past. No one hassled us. We went into mosques (the first and oldest Mosque in Alexandria. Quite beautiful) and checked out alleys. We wandered through Fort Qaitbey built in 1480. We had a delicious meal of fresh fish (it was sitting there on ice when we arrived). We watched the sunset from a café on the edge of the sea, near the new Library of Alexandria, drinking cappuccinos, smoking shisha, gentle waves crashing.
It was supremely beautiful. The waves of history that we’d seen, taking in thousands of years, leading up to this edge. It was our finished edge.
We hopped a train back to Cairo at 10pm. Arrived at on 1 am. Cab got lost. Found our hotel by three thirty. Slept for a couple hours. At the airport by 7am. And, finally, on a plane heading home back to California, filled with inspiration, gratitude, and love.
Before I end this, I want to say Thank You for ALL of the hard work that it took to make this happen. Thank you to Tamer, an old old friend. Thank you to the DoLab for putting on such an awesome production and for all of their hard work to make this as seamless an experience as possible for everyone and thank you to both Tamer and the DoLab for having us out. Most of all, thank you to the people and country of Egypt – you are so beautiful and so kind and I thank you for the gracious welcome. I wish for the rest of the world to know – it’s beautiful there. It’s safe and the people are warm. It’s a wonderful country to visit. Want to know how you can help the Egyptian people? Go visit them! Go say hi! You won’t forget it. Walls are not torn down by governments. Walls are torn down by people. We all inspire each other. May my freedom inspire freedom in you. May your freedom inspire freedom in me.
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