By Edna Anzaroot
Several years' ago my husband, myself and our three sons were in Israel. My husband and sons decided they wished to see where there mum had lived as a youngster. I had been warned by other ex Alexandrians and Cairenes of what I would find, so I was not too excited about returning there. My family insisted, so we flew to Cairo. Cairo airport was MY first culture shock!! The drive to Cairo MY second.. and so on!!
As for my husband and sons, although they were all seasoned travelers, as we had traveled so much with them all over the world, their reaction was that of total disbelief and consternation.
Nothing that I had described was even remotely like what they were seeing. They were aghast by the pall of pollution blanketing the city. The deafening noise of the traffic which was heard even in the rooms on the uppermost floors of both the Hilton Hotels (with the windows shut tightly), and the misery of the people milling around in the streets. They were horrified when they saw the state of the many apartment buildings that were either on the verge of collapse or had already collapsed, balconies precariously hanging on.
Where were the chic boutiques, the elegance, the lovely and breezy Corniche along the meandering Nile? The whole place was a total bedlam of collapsing structures and filth...and I felt heartbroken and ashamed!!
My husband and sons were however, fascinated by the pyramids and etc.. as well as their trip to Upper Egypt, but these are tourist attractions, and in no way represented anything of our own past and daily life.
Yesterday, I tried to speak to my husband, and my sons about Alexandria and Egypt. It was as if I was inventing a place that had never existed..,.and no one believed me. I had to give up trying to describe the sort of lifestyle that existed then.
The only picture my husband and sons were able to mentally visualize was what they had seen : i.e. a third world, miserably filthy, hopelessly overpopulated country, with nothing, but absolutely nothing even remotely like anything that I was describing. My daughters-in-law were more gracious and generous with their interest... BECAUSE THEY HAD NEVER BEEN THERE!
As I only have half a dozen photos (that friends and distant relatives sent me), I was unable to prove to them that what they had seen was nothing like the Egypt of my youth.
If anyone of the members could give me some advice on how to change this sad reaction of disbelief, I would truly appreciate it, and I am sure so will others who like me, have encountered a similar response.
As you can well imagine this is quite disheartening..
I am sure that others will have had the opposite reaction. But this is what I and others have experienced.
posted on our forum http://groups.yahoo.com/group/egyjews/