This is the latest in a series of travel photos inspired by #FriFotos on Twitter. The theme of this week’s Photo Friday is WINDOWS.
This shot of the Nile was taken from my room at the Four Seasons at Nile Plaza. The luxury hotel is in an area of the city known as Garden City – and it happens to be where the American Embassy is located.
When I was in Egypt covering a Nile cruise last October, things weren’t exactly hunky dory in Cairo. On my last night, the government army had sent tanks into the street, killing up to 40 protesters. The hotels handled the violence by giving guests a slip of paper telling them the neighborhoods to avoid. On Fridays – the usual protest days during Arab Spring – the pools at luxury hotels were full of the well-to-do, who avoided the chaos by having spa days.
Despite the protests, I felt perfectly safe visiting Egypt last year. After this week’s attack on the American embassy and the riots that have raged in Garden City, I know I wouldn’t feel that way now (although I also know that the headlines we see on the news don’t always reflect what’s going on in the country). I can’t help but think how the current situation is going to hurt the country’s already shaky tourist industry.
When I was on the Nile last year, there were only 12 people on a river ship meant for 82. Tourism has traditionally been a big part of the Egyptian economy; guides and vendors were hurting for customers throughout 2011 (and becoming more aggressive out of desperation). The Nile river cruise season traditionally begins in the fall. With the images of Molotov cocktails being thrown outside the American embassy being broadcast on CNN, I have a feeling it’s going to be another lean year.