I now understand a little the writer who remarked that whenever she arrives in Cairo she hates it, but when it comes time to leave she wants to jump off the conveyance and remain. (Or something like that.)
The sun is setting here in Cairo, and according to a weather site it's just coming up in Woodinville. When it comes up here we'll be heading home, when it comes up there we'll be halfway home.
This has been a stay in a very different culture, differences that continue to show up in small things and large. I wonder how home will look when we get there.
11/15: Answer: very different! As a Indian co-worker's mother said when she first visited Redmond, "Where are all the people??" By comparison, our population is sparse. Climate of course is different, but I've not before seen the Pacific Northwest as being such a cold, wet and dark place; I would hate be somebody from Cairo or India trying to deal with this climate -- then again, I would hate to have to deal with their summers. And Redmond? It's so small you could drop it into some district or another in Cairo and nobody'd even notice.
Other things include the realization of the extent of our accommodation to a credit-card culture. Cairo, at least what we dealt with, was mostly cash-based. And as an Iranian friend warned, they are very good at "extracting" all your cash unless you are careful and prepared.
Religion: we were awakened most every morning by a nearby muezzin's call to early morning prayer. (Cairo has a reputation for more mosques than any other city.) Reminded me in a way of a particular church's bells in the small midwestern city where I grew up, serving double-duty of (hourly) clock and announcing their worship services. But it was interesting to see, among our Egyptian Muslim colleagues, how some were very (quietly) observant and others not. Rather like Americans...
I did not make it to the Anglican cathedral there but I got reports of several distinct groups served by the cathedral, including an Anglican Sudanese group.
It was an interesting trip but I'm glad to be home, if only for some three weeks. Checking my e-mail it looks like things are about to get into really high gear at St. Bartholomew's, at least up through Epiphany. Time to put Cairo behind me, if I can...