Thursday, January 20, 2011

Morning of the first day

It's the next day and after breakfast back in my room. After I wrote the last blog, I went to bed to catch some more sleep. I wake to my roommate who is from New Jersey(she has such an accent you can't help but know she is from New Jersey—God Bless America we all sound so distinctly different!!) to tell me that is nearly 7 a.m. and Solara en Ra is going to guide everyone who arrived early in a meditation out on the green in the morning before we start our day. I being the spiritual being that I am thinks of course I want to experience the meditation. So, I get up and layer myself with clothing...I think I failed to mention that the desert is cold---I mean cold. I am sure I will have more to say later. I step outside my room to a beautiful green courtyard. Oh my goodness, who knew there would be so much green. At first glimpse, it reminds me of Florida with the Palm Trees and green grass not the desert that I thought I came to visit.

Solara En Ra had already started the meditation when I joined them. I pulled up a chair and joined in. It was a great alternate nostril breathing technique that we started with that I will take home and teach my students when I get back as it is very powerful and it is more than the yoga definition of alternate nostril breathing as it a pituitary and pineal activation and brings the left and right brain into balance. In addition to making you feel like you are high. I have to say that I enjoyed it. We finished up and everyone said we would meet at breakfast. The people who arrived a day earlier had already caught up on their jet lag and planned a trip to the Cairo Museum as there is a shuttle from our hotel. I being the trooper who never wants to miss out on anything immediately says yes I would like to do that and then ten minutes later as the reality of jetlag set in, said, “I will make that decision closer to noon”.

Breakfast was this beautiful room filled with all kinds of breads and pastries. It was almost like an American breakfast. The first thing I order is a not only one large bottle of water, but two. I need to rehydrate from the last two days of travel. I then order a tea, which there is only one type of tea available. Black tea—so black that I actually was concerned that it was coffee, but it was tea. Really, really strong tea. My roommate and I join others that were having breakfast—all was very overwhelming and I thought how am I going to remember everyone's name. I of course have egg, potato and yogurt for my breakfast as the plethora of bread enticed me, but as you know or may not know I am gluten sensitive. So, I just watched as everyone enjoyed their bread.

I quickly found out that my roommate knew many people there already from previous Solara En Ra's teachings, workshops and trips so it made me feel a little left out. The more they planned their trip to the museum, the more I was dreading the thought of walking around, but I really want to see the museum.

After breakfast, my roommate informs me that we have to give a tip to everyone—well no not everyone (not yourself), but to everyone who apparently walks by and says hello. hahaha But all I have with me are big Egyptian Pounds that look pretty to say the least and to say the most—are much more than the American Dollars I had. I exchanged my money at JFK and the rate was something like $1 US is worth 5.8 Egyptian Pounds (woohoo the first time in a long time that I felt financially wealthy). So we make our way over to the bank across from our hotel. Our Hotel is in Giza so we are not in Cairo and we are far enough away from a city (which I didn't know the night before on my drive because as you may recall it was dark and dangerous. hahaha). So, at the bank is a little man behind a glass wall and a security that looks like he is sleeping, but sitting in a chair with a machine gun gives enough of a presence that hey he could be sleeping. I must say the man at the bank looks bored with his job, but it is his job. We walk over to look at the little shops beside the bank. Wow are the Egyptians salesman. They are quite annoying hovering over you and from what I was told these guys were not as bad as they can get. But, there are things I wanted to look at, but showing just a slight interest gives them more reason to harass I mean sell to you. That was exhausting to say the least.

Well, I met another woman who walked with me and my roommate over to exchange our money. She and I opted to not go to Cairo for the museum and just rest because like me she arrived the night before. We had a couple of hours to make a decision about what we wanted to do so we took a walk around the hotel grounds. It was a very large hotel with a lot of greenery and everything was set up in a maze so it was hard to find our room once you left it because it was a left here, right there and left again. Carol, my new found friend, and I decide to walk over to the hotel's spa and book massages for the afternoon. Yes, they have a spa here. We walk in and immediately are greeted by a man saying “Happy New Year!” Weird, it is January 8th and they are still greeting with Happy New Year.

And, on a side note, I arrived on Epiphany (the holiday that I mentioned earlier in my blog) and apparently for Coptic Christians it is such a big holiday that they have a large festival and celebration. Being a white chick in an Arabic country they seem to assume that I am Christian and keep telling Carole and me Merry Christmas and all about the festivities of Epiphany...the day that I arrived in Cairo there was a huge parade and celebration in honor of the Christ child.

So, we decided to book appointments for a massage for the afternoon. I am back in my room resting until we meet for I best go get some rest now as I am getting sleepy....

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