It is Wednesday morning and the 7:30 alarm just went off in our room. Soon, wake up calls will run through the hotel, calling all the weary travellers to emerge from our rooms for breakfast and the days activities. We are scheduled to begin with the pyramids, but may need to change the schedule, due to the weather forcast: heavy wind. With the wind comes sand.
But I get before myself.
Monday evening we began a journey at the Calgary airport. 38 people whose lives have followed parallel paths have now intersected, and we moved instantly from being strangers. People who had just met began taking photos of one another; conversations began about where we grew up, what we had done to prepare for this journey, and details about coping with travel and jet lag and airline food, among other things were wide ranging.
It is always a gift to share your life with others. On pilgrimage, part of the process is opening your heart and mind to others anticipating that there is a reasons your lives have intersected, and that there will be a gift shared and received, from each person to the The other. The key is being receptive, a spiritual habit which always needs to be exercised, in order to be in good shape. Pilgrimage opens us up in a way that this habit becomes much more natural, much less hard work.
Our flights went smoothly and well. Many were able to stretch out from Calgary to Heathrow on a half-full flight. The 5 hours to Cairo were on a full Air Egypt plane.
It was 33C at 9pm last night. Cairo has 18 million people, in what is two cities on either side of the Nile: Cairo and Giza. This morning brings the sound of traffic, horns beeping, honking, hooting and even a few musical sounding riffs. It was a short night sleep, but I was instantly awake. Welcome to Africa! 33 years later, I am home, again.