Friday, February 23, 2007

Cul De Sac

I've been beaten. Every time I felt I had overcome an obstacle preventing me from leaving the country another one appeared to replace it. After three weeks in the least interesting and most expensive country I have visited I had exhausted all my other options and so I finally had to give in and fly out. Though even that wasn't without its difficulties as I was forced to purchase a return ticket when booking my flight to Cairo (allegedly due to a diplomatic spat between the two countries) which made a huge hole in my finances, hopefully one that I'll be able to partially patch up by getting a refund on half of the ticket.

I'm gutted that my African adventure (although Egypt is in Africa I consider it as part of the Levant, at least from a cultural perspective) had to suffer such an ignominious end. It has certainly been the most testing period of my trip, at least from a psychological point of view and on a couple of occasions I even considered packing it all in. But in the end I always come around and realise that my problems are really very small in the grand scheme of things and that I can easily stop them whenever I want by just getting on a plane, an option that people living in repressive countries don't have. It seems to me that the main reason for my failure was the paranoia of autocratic regimes: as soon as someone behaves in an unexpected fashion they're suspected of being subversives to be stopped at all costs. Therefore arriving by boat and not plane, sleeping on the street and not the Sheraton, and wanting to travel by train and not plane are all reasons to suspect me to be an Al Qaeda operative. It seems that advances in technology may have made people's lives slightly easier, but it has mostly helped Big Brothers keep a tighter rein on their people.

Sorry for this slightly depressing post. Things will hopefully get cheerier from now on as I take on pyramids, sphinxes and mummies for your reading pleasure.

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