Diary of #IndiaByTheNile 2016 #Cairo #Egypt Day 1
By Faridoon Shahryar
It has been a rollercoaster 24 hours for me. Boarded a flight for Abu Dhabi last night and had a fascinating experience watching #Trumbo a film about a great Hollywood screenwriter who supported the Communists in an America immediately post world war 2, how he was called a traitor and how even the film industry had split into two. Trumbo was jailed, he got out after much efforts, wrote classics in other people's names (including the great #RomanHoliday and managed to get recognised by his own community and the country in general without compromising on what he believed in. I could relate to the story as I am witnessing a split within Bollywood currently due to the thick divide based on political and cultural viewpoints.
After a breathless cardio at Abu Dhabi (since we had merely 45 minutes to change gates), hurriedly passed the security check and successfully boarded our connecting flight for Cairo. Thankfully I managed to sleep and I was beaming like a Cheshire cat who's had whatever he wanted once we landed in Cairo in the middle of the night. It is 3 and a half hours behind India. The breeze was pleasantly chilly. We checked into Hotel Hilton Ramses and voila I managed to sleep for a few hours once again. I am the happiest guy around if I manage to get good sleep. I swam leisurely in the hotel swimming pool in the morning, had an elaborate breakfast and gazed at the magnificent view of Nile from my room for a long while.
In the afternoon I along with the entire Indian media contingent went to Giza and feasted on one of the most incredible views in the form of the three Pyramids and the imposing Sphinx. On our way back, the Egyptian Tourism officials stopped over at a Government shop selling organic perfumes. The instructor explained about each perfume in a highly interesting manner.
The evening was rounded up by our visit to the India House where Indian Ambassador to Egypt Mr Sanjay Bhattacharya and his enterprising wife had set up an enchanting evening as Nile flowed along nearby on a full moon night. The special attraction of the evening was when 12 Egyptian women were felicitated with 'Women of Substance' awards for exemplary work in their respective fields of work. Notably, Egyptian women have a strong presence in their country's Parliament, in spite of the Islamic influence, the women come across as highly progressive and individualistic. A woman who fought for women's right to ask for divorce from her husband was a case in point.
I must also make a point about the wonderful warm reception that I am getting on twitter and Facebook from my friends in #Egypt. It is truly heartwarming. Several people have told me that I should consider Egypt as my second country. I am feeling at home :-) Tomorrow morning we are going to #Alexandria for a day. It should be fun. Good night!