As most mega cities of the world, Cairo's air is not so soft these days, but is improving, but there are still palaces, the soil still produces lush vegetation, and the Nile never ceases to inspire us. Of course, the women are wondrous, with beauty as mysterious and charming as the old thousand and one stories.
Cairo is older now. It was a grand city when many of the world's huge metropolises were but babes. Yet It remains a city cloaked in excitement and mystery, dark secrets and bright celebrations. It is a city that often mixes the many cultures of the world with the many ages of the world. It offers up cuisine from its French, sometimes new age culture from her Germans, enterprise from its Americans, all the while embracing its Egyptian heritage from the dawn of civilization. Cairo mixes modern religion with ancient traditions as easily as its streets accommodate Mercedes and donkey drawn carts. America has no claim as a melting pot in relation to Cairo, for Cairo melts both time and culture into one city that can embrace us as no other.
Its history beguiles us with intrigue, weaving gossamer webs of time and events that affect us even today. Here, we see the stone monuments that signaled the readiness of mankind to embark upon the climb into human awareness and culture. It was Cairenes leaders who ended the crusades of old, but also prevented the Mongrels and darkness from rolling over Europe. It was a market that still exists today in Cairo, that gained such a stranglehold over world trade, that Columbus was forced to seek alternative routes, thus discovering the new world. Today, its moderate religious leaders affect the tolerance of a world religion, while the political leaders preach peace, and understanding.
As an American, I have walked its back allies, its living cemeteries, its markets. I have explored its poor underbelly, as well as its grand and sparkling avenues. All the while I feared no evil, because there was none. Mostly only gracious Egyptians who seem, more often than not, excited by the sight of a stranger, curious, as their beloved cats might be. I am welcomed, I am enchanted and it is beyond my understanding how anyone cannot fall desperately in love with this city and its people.
Yet, I know I shall never completely know Cairo. It is too deep, too full of adventures. I suspect even the Cairenes themselves may never know this sprawling city of operas and pyramids, glass towers and medieval tunnels, ancient churches and modern cell phones. But what I understand completely is that those who never visit Cairo, will never know the world.