But yes, I did just return from Egypt, the home of the oldest mathematical documents in the world (hey, I had to relate the trip to math in some way on this blog). I climbed a pyramid, sailed down the Nile, saw Tutankhamen, and fell off a camel. Fun times!
Egypt is going through a tough time right now, and I'm afraid it shows. The tourism industry has been gutted, and desperate people are stumbling over each other to swindle, beg or price gouge the few foreigners to be found. You have to be on your guard. The streets are dirty, the people are poor, and your heart aches to see it.
At the same time though you are physically safe, and if *you* approach a random stranger (rather than talking to somebody who comes up to you), chances are they're just a normal, nice person, doing their best to get by. If you're willing to look past the poverty this is actually an exciting time for Egypt, and I'm very optimistic about their future. With the removal of their would-be theocratic dictator, a thoroughly-learned lesson about radical Islam (they LOATHE the Muslim Brotherhood now), and their upcoming elections, Egpyt could very well be on the cusp of a functioning, secular democracy. With any luck, in a few years the insufferably long lines for every attraction will be back!
I went with my good friend Shawn Chen from Stanford - thanks for a great trip man! Below are a couple choice pictures.