I went on a college alumni tour to Egypt – without my husband – in 2007. Despite being on my own, I quickly became part of the “singles club,” a revolving group of us who were traveling on our own. Each night one of us would either take a bottle of wine from our private stash (we hit the liquor store at the airport on our way into the country) or would order an extra bottle at dinner to take up to our nightly after dinner gathering.
In Cairo, we ended each night on the deck outside my hotel room, with the Nile, far below us.
It was amazing to sit out there, suspended far above the street in the calm evening air, the sounds of the city swelling up and around us. The dinner barges that ply the Nile would slowly move past, sound blasting toward us as each passed by as if in competition with the sounds of the street. . . and then the call to prayer would begin, the broadcast song of dozens of muezzins growing in strength and complexity as it rose from all across the city.
At that time, Cairo was the loudest city in the world, (maybe it still is.) but from my perch high above the street, that was the sound of the exotic music of a magical city.
We stayed at the Nile Hilton (which I’m guessing is now the Hilton Conrad Cairo), an older hotel very near the Egyptian Museum and Tahrir square. It was a fabulous place to stay and I hope to go back some day.