Just days before 2009 was coming to an end, two of my work colleagues decided to come to Alexandria for a day trip. There trip was to just get out of Cairo to have a change of scenery, see something new, have a fish meal and visit me. I truly enjoy it when colleagues, family or friends make a trip to Alexandria, it gives me the chance to be a host and their guide in the city that I have fallen in love with. I try to show them the hidden beauty of what is buried beneath the modern Alexandria of today.

Mariam and Radwa wanted to go some where ‘authentic’, I racked my brain and finally came up with a place that has a lot of history and was probably where the elite of foreign society used to have tea. Delice still know for its bakery and view of Saad Zaghlool square and the sea is where I decided to take them. My sister and I love to go there and buy their giant-sized macaroons and mini meringues. My elderly neighbour ,Mme Yamna Souccar  who used to live on the floor above my parents flat, loved their jam biscuits and when ever I could, I would go and buy her a box when I would go and visit her. My friends really liked the place because it had an air to it and it’s noticable in its fading decor. I bet it was  a spectacular place back in its glory days. The three of us ate our brunch, caught up on each others news and discussed where we were going to go next.

The Biblioteca Alexandrina was our next destination. We decided to leave the car in the parking area across from Delice and walk along the Corniche (sea) to the Library to work off brunch and to breath in the sea air, (plus, parking near the Library is a nightmare!) Along the promenade I pointed out some landmarks and told them stories that had been told to me and they in turn shared their experiences and memories of Alexandria.

We bought our full pass tickets to enter the Library, turned in our bags with our cell phones got our number and began our journey back in time. The first museum that we went in to is below the planetarium to the right. It was one I had never been to before and I have been to the Library many times, (that’s what I love about the place, no matter how many times I visit, I always see something I hadn’t seen the time before). The first was of Egypt’s assassinated President Anwar El Sadat (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/515786/Anwar-el-Sadat), looking at the items in the display cases and reading the explanations of what things were for and what he did and accomplished, I but feel sad. We as a nation lost someone great, some one with a vision and direction for the future of Egypt.

* One of my great Uncles from the El Shindy side of the family was a politician and before Sadat came to be president,  he and Sadat were imprisoned together, (I’m not sure why). It’s strange to think that members of my family were and apart of the Royal family and others worked alongside the president. That personal history is lost because some greedy putts sold a tapestry of our family tree and now  we have no chance of ever being able to retrace our lineage or ancestry. The only thing we have are the stories passed down from generation to generation. The problem with that is that they facts changes.

As we continued through the library and visited other exhibits, we came to my favorite. The Awad collection of maps and pictures of Alexandria. Looking at the framed maps and pictures deepened my sadness the city was breath-taking. No wonder so many people chose to leave their homelands to come and live here. It had a mange of European and Oriental feel to it. Now the city as well as the country is in shambles if I was to compare it to what it used to be like,’ The pearl of the Middle East’. You would think that with all our technology and education that we as a race or society of people would have advanced and improved, but I honestly think that we are moving backwards.

I have  been to Saudi Arabia & Jordan and I am ashamed to admit it, but they have more pride in their country and make an effort to keep it clean. Egypt compared to them and to what it used to be like is a garbage dump. The streets are littered with trash because people throw their tissues, crisp packets, wrappers and cans from their car windows as they drive by. The garbage cans are over flowing and no one seems to care! WHY??? Don’t give me crap about it’s because our country isn’t governed by a sovereignty, what’s that got to do with being clean?  Islam promotes cleanliness of self and home….then surly that should also include our country too.

I have no idea how this problem can be rectified. I don’t know if campaigning would work. I think reprogramming peoples brains maybe the only solution.

Please don’t mis-understand me. I am not against Egypt. I am very proud of my heritage and where I come from, but I find it so frustrating that we were once ‘the it spot’ in the Middle East and Mediterranean and now we aren’t when we very easily could be! I guess you could say I am just venting!

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