Last week Alex & I spent just under 4 days in Cairo, Egypt; mostly for business meetings but we did get to spend one day as tourists.
Prior to going on the trip we were obviously aware of the recent protests in Tahrir Square by those impatient with the speed of reform after Mubarak’s overthrow in February.
What did we find? A vibrant city teeming with life and people. Greater Cairo with 18 million inhabitants is certainly crowded and yes, the average wage is barely livable but the streets and markets were filled with abundant fresh produce as well as everything else.
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After spending two days in a factory where over 1,000 are employed we also got to talk with both skilled & unskilled laborers and saw and heard first hand their hope that with Mubarak gone things would soon get better. Last Friday, the day before we left, we drove within a block of Tahrir Square and saw the protests firsthand. We weren’t there on Saturday when they got out of control again.
A revolution is not an easy thing for a country to go through and this one has been relatively peaceful considering a dictator who ruled for 30 years had just been usurped. I left Egypt with hope that things can only get better for them and for not one minute there didn’t I experience any fear of their future.
I am pretty certain we’ll go back again within the next six months but if this is how a city looks just 4 months after a major political upheaval then the people of Cairo are doing something right.