Thursday, December 13, 2012

Egypt: some decisions

The Rough Guide doesn't include Alexandria among it`s top twenty-eight things not to miss, and its entry for the city is less than positive. I`ve used Rough Guides extensively, in Italy, Chile, Brazil and Tunisia and  although I`d quibble with specific entries on hotels or restaurants, say, I`ve found their recommendations to be prescient. Any romanticism I feel about the idea of visiting the city of Cavafy and Durrell has been tempered, and given the time restrictions on my Egypt trip, the proposed itinerary will be:

Cairo-Luxor-Aswan - possibly Abu Simbel- Cairo

Thus I am following a very standard touristic itinerary, albeit one in which i spend more time than usual in Cairo.
The risk of traveling to a "new" place is that I get sucked into tourist painting- a feeling of obligation to paint what is known or espected, rather than responding to my actual experiences. I think that I became somewhat trapped in the Italian trip by romantic expectations. I hope to avoid this in part by the longer stay in Cairo, and by spending long enough in the other places to overcome the obvious. 

In truth, in planning painting trips, I always get it wrong, as. Surprise, the basis of inspiration, cannot be planned. And expectations distort, as does research, and it is very hard to predict if a place will really lend itself to inspiration or not. tourist sites are often cleaned and ordered to the point of sterility, so that their local character is lost to the demands of a massive international industry.


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