Saturday, November 17, 2012

Hurghada,Egypt, Day 1: Cultural differences

Sometimes we don't fully understand what it is that brings us to a particular place, or why we seek the experiences we do. Here I am now, in a Muslim country, yet again I am asking myself-what did I come here looking to find?
Yes, the obvious answer is- I came to enjoy the sun and the beach and have a little getaway. After all, Egypt to Europeans is like Mexico to Canadians. But the deeper question is, why am I fascinated yet afraid of the Middle eastern culture at the same time?

Although I am intrigued by this country's long-standing traditions and ancient roots, I do not feel at peace in a man-dominated society, carrying with it so many restricting rules; I especially find it uncomfortable when it concerns showing my body. That is something I've never given much thought to before- I consider myself quite a modest dresser, I'm not a huge fan of short skirts or cleavages, yet here it's a whole other story. I find it amazing that i can literally look like a shapeless bag lady and still manage to get hit on all the time- no, that's not because my beauty radiates into the Cosmos and gets picked up by the satellites- that's simply because I am a female! It induces a feeling of shame and guilt and discomfort about showing any part of my body, which I did not even know I had...Once again I am reminded how grateful I should be to live in a culture where I am allowed to express my open, free and loving nature-I'm talking both Germany and Canada.

Being here, I love the feeling of the desert all around, I am aching to drive straight towards those dunes, those mountain peaks that beckon me to come closer each time the sun sets behind them,-but I can't. Not without getting a guide and a tour and all that commercialized stuff I am trying to avoid. It is mind boggling for a person like me, who loves to be at one with nature, to not be able to simply walk anywhere you feel like it. The feeling of restriction is overwhelming. It definitely puts simple pleasures of the first world into perspective. That being said, there is something very refreshing about leaving home for a little while, even if the experience is not what you may have expected. Already, I appreciate Germany so much more, I appreciate what I'd left behind-my hobbies, my friends, and all the areas around south Germany still left unexplored.

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