A friend just sent me a letter that I'd sent him from Cairo in 1978. I felt so safe when I was there, and it's sad to read my description juxtaposed against the recent bombing of a tourist bus. Here's most of the letter verbatim.
Cairo has been very up and down. Last couple of days things have started to pick up again. The few days before that, I was busy communing with the toilet again. That is I think the worst part. It is very alien to me to get really sick in a digestive manner, but I've done it twice since I've been here. It's been commented that this dorm is beginning to sound like an Old Folks Home with one of the topics being the state of one's bowels. Well, enough potty talk.
Pre-sickness I did attempt to climb the Pyramids. It was a truly great moment in indecisiveness. My friend Michael and I went out to the Pyramids to look for this guy that we had met at the zoo who said that he hung out at either the Sphinx or the Pyramids at 7:30 on Monday nights. Well, no sooner were we off the bus than we were approached by guides to the top of the Pyramids. I was a little apprehensive because people have fallen off while climbing and died, and it was getting dark, and here I had this guide yelling at me, "Don't be afraid. You are with Muhammad." So finally I consented and went up part way at which point, Michael and I both decided it was getting too dark, so Muhammad invited us to go off with him and drink tea. So we hung around the cemetery for awhile drinking tea with Muhammad and some other Pyramid climbing guides----then wandered off (through the town of Giza) and kept getting accosted by people inviting us into their homes and stuffing food down our throats. Egyptians are incredibly friendly people. I feel quite a paradox of feelings about being here and about leaving here. In many ways, I feel totally ready to leave the dust and the aggressive cars, crowds, sweat, broken sidewalks, heat, and diarrhea, but I also feel pressured by time and would like to have more time to get a feeling for the people here.