Just returned from Egypt, which was intense and gorgeous. Sorry about the lack of posting, but I'm moving more and more of my online utterances to my Facebook page. If you like, you can follow me / like me there, although I'm not sure how that works, exactly. If someone could try it and let me know how it works out, that would be great.
I spent five days in Cairo, five on the Nile, four in Alexandria. As a public service, let me announce that if you've ever thought of visiting Egypt, do it now. Tourism is way down after the Revolution, which is a disaster for the Egyptian economy but a blessing for the visitor. The Egyptian Museum, for instance, usually has huge lines of visitors waiting hours just to get in during tourist high season (which is January-March, when the weather is cool). But now, you wander past bored security guards and are inside in minutes, and you can stroll through the cool, gloomy galleries practically alone. The same is true of all the other tourists sites as well -- you might see a few scattered tour groups, but most of the time you will be one of the only people there, and you can take pictures without a single other person appearing in them. The tour boat I took the Nile cruise has room for 20 passengers, but there were just three people on board most of the time.
I'll try to post a bit more as time permits, but for now I'll just note the strange infatuation of Egyptians with the phrase 'I Love You'. This rather eerie tableau comes from the seat of a horse-drawn carriage in Edfu:
And this beauty is from the dashboard of a cab driver in Aswan: