Letting down in Egypt

Greetings from Cairo, Egypt.  Well, it's been a while since I've written.  That's mainly because upon arrival in Cairo to visit I just completely checked out.  Whenever we come here, I leave it up to Jamie to organize and do everything since it's her old home.  And now with the Oldhams here and Keli and Ken taking care of everything, I felt myself just completely check out.  Eventually, I stopped reading email and getting on the internet altogether.  So...now it's time to re-connect.

We actually arrived here a little bit late.  We were supposed to arrive shortly after midnight last Thursday.  But our flight from Frankfurt, Germany couldn't take off because there is now a strict curfew on planes taking off at night.  Each night at 10PM, the flights come to a halt.  Our flight was literally the last flight on the runway line up and we got on the runway and turned around.  It' was 10:01PM.  So that was it.  They put us up in a nice hotel and we arrived the next afternoon.

It's been great to be with the Oldhams.  They are very settled in here and doing a great job.  The house looks lovely and they were such great hosts--it was very easy to just led down and relax right away.  Marco has had a blast hanging out with Zeke, Titus, and Grace.  And we've really enjoyed our time with Ken and Keli.  We tried to get the work stuff out of the way as much as possible, so we could just focus on some family time.

On Sunday Jamie and I spoke about Three Worlds at the Cairo Christian Fellowship where Ken and Keli are pastors.  It was great to see old friends again and to see the Oldhams in their new position.  We've spent a lot of time talking, playing some basketball, and enjoying each others' company.

On Monday, we went to a place none of us have ever been to called El Gouna. It's on the Red Sea.   I knew nothing about it but found a place with great rate for families like ours so that's why I chose it.  So we set out Monday morning on a nearly 6 hour drive across the desert to the shores of the Red Sea.  It was not at all what I was expecting--but it was very cool (not weather wise, it was scorching hot).  El Gouna is this artificially constructed town on the Red Sea with hotels and activities for tourists.  It's like a big Club Med or a tiny Dubai.  It's a restricted area so, unlike the rest of Egypt, it was always clean, safe, and looked immaculate.  I had thought it was a harbor town close to another famous resort town.  Alas, it felt a bit like being at Disney's Epcot Center, but it certainly was relaxing having everything close to you in this easy, compact little "town" which is apparently owned by a Christian businessman.

Yesterday (Wednesday) we went snorkling in the Red Sea.  It's something that Jamie used to do a lot as a kid.  I'm not sure any of us had ever done that before (except maybe Keli?) so it was a steep learning curve.  They just took us out to reefs in the middle of the Sea and we were supposed to put on the snorkling gear and just dive off the boat.  I've never put on flippers or snorkling gear (the mask and the tube-thing..I have no idea what it's called), never been off a boat, and really can't technically swim.  But it was too good an opportunity to pass up.  So while the others swam around the reefs, I just had to hang on to the boat and look down.  It was very cool and I can see why Jamie always raved about it.  It would be nice to try it sometime somewhere where being a skilled swimmer isn't so necessary.

I got one of my deep chest colds and sore throats on Day 2 of our beach outing so that has zapped me of some energy.  And yes, it was hot out there. It averaged between 104 degrees and 109 degrees but the humidity was only about 30%.  So it didn't feel as oppressively sticky as Hong Kong, but it certainly was hot.  All three of us got sunburned.

Along with my week of letting down, came my usual batch of idiotic pictures.  It's hard to believe how few pictures of the Oldhams there are in my photos.  And then we actually went to the Red Sea (Yes, as in Moses parting the Red Sea) and  I got zero photos of that.  Yup, zero.  I think Jamie got some photos, and I'm sure the Oldhams probably did, but I did my usual AWOL photographer routine.  So behold, my usual blurry, nearly useless photographs:

Ken and some girl who never wants her photo taken.