Sunday, January 25, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Egypt crisis reaches Davis residents on first-time trip

MarionFranckW

By
February 14, 2011 |

By Marion Franck

“Why are you wishing me happy birthday a day early?” my friend’s daughter asked. The phone call came on Jan. 31; her birthday is Feb. 1.

Nancy hesitated, “Well, cell service has been spotty. I wasn’t sure I could reach you on the right day.”

The answer was honest but incomplete. Nancy Adams, a retired 6th grade teacher from North Davis Elementary, was on a tour in Egypt with her husband and a good friend, Elaine. When waves of fear hit, she tried to stay calm. She didn’t want to alarm her daughter or tell her everything she had heard.

When I exchanged email with her, she didn’t want to alarm me, either. To my concerned email of Jan. 27 she replied, “Yep, we’re just cruisin’ and lovin’ every moment here in SOUTHERN Egypt.

“Don’t worry about us,” she continued. “We won’t be in Cairo until Monday and by then……we hope it will be very peaceful.”

I should have paid more attention to those dots. They stood for the unspoken part, the part I only learned about last week. Unsettling things had already happened where she was, too.

“One night, we were supposed to pass through the locks to Luxor,” she told me recently. “When I awoke at 5 a.m., the boat wasn’t moving. I looked out the window and saw we were parked in the bulrushes. I got dressed and went on deck.

“Somebody told me too many boats were trying to go north, so we were stopping for a while.

“That wasn’t the whole story. We learned later there hadn’t been security at the locks, so our ship of 100 people and its sister ship, hid together in the reeds for the night.”

When they reached Luxor, their group of 19 Americans watched as fellow passengers from England and the Netherlands left on flights arranged by their respective countries. They saw riots on CNN. They learned the American Embassy in Cairo had closed.

This seemed ominous. Their tour company, Gate 1, was arranging for them to leave early, but the international flight had to leave from Cairo. They would fly on short notice: Luxor to Cairo, Cairo to New York.

As I listened to the details of their ride to the Luxor airport, I got a strong sense of fear. A bus came for them during curfew. They drove with no lights in complete darkness on dark streets. They could have hit something or someone, but they didn’t.

At the Luxor airport they felt enough relief to take a picture of themselves in front of a poster of pyramids, the closest they ever got.

Then they flew to Cairo where they spent a night in the airport, trying to find a place to sit. All night, no flights posted. In the morning, flights went up on the board and almost as quickly were marked “canceled” in red.

Then their flight, EgyptAir 985, went up and instead of “cancelled’ it had a gate. This seemed hopeful, but they had no tickets because the computers were down.

Flight 985 stayed on the board and an hour and forty minutes late, it left. I tracked it using the FlightTrack ap on my phone. For the next 8 hours I could have told you within a few hundred miles where over the ocean that plane was located. I worried that my friends weren’t on it. I was thrilled when I learned that they were.

“It almost seems as if we weren’t even there,” Nancy said to me in our first long phone call. “We missed the pyramids, but that did not seem important. I don’t think it ever will.”

Food could have run out. American tourists could have become targets. Egypt Air could have shut down.

“I think a lot of people were flapping their wings to get us across the ocean,” Nancy said.

These days Nancy’s grief and concern pulses around her tour guide. Here are her words from an email.

“Rasha is a highly intelligent and educated young woman who loves her country and its rich history. She has (or had) her own weekly documentary program, with episodes on history, culture and travel in Egypt. She would film six episodes over the course of a month and then head out to do a tour. How incredibly lucky we were to spend every hour of every day with her when we were in Egypt.

“I remember that when the peaceful demonstrations began, she said, ‘Oh, we have freedom of speech, all right.  It’s just that nothing ever comes of it.’ She spoke to us about the educated, young middle class people, who want a better life for all. They know that reform will not succeed unless wealth is more fairly distributed. Today 40% of Egypt’s population lives in poverty.

“We sit here at home in America, safe and sound,” Nancy wrote, “but I wonder about Rasha. The bottom floor of her TV station was ransacked, and all computers were stolen. Will she have a job again? I remember her tears when she heard that parts of the Egyptian Museum were ransacked. This is her life, her history. What now?

“Rasha brought Egypt to life for us, and especially for me, after teaching about Ancient Egypt for all those years. I only wish for her safety and livelihood to be returned to her.

I can’t stop thinking about her and wondering where she is today.”

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Red Cross honors community heroes

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Bridges of Yolo County: Wear, tear … repair?

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Four days of unusual, adventuresome music

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Spanish police arrest 4 suspected members of a jihadi cell

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Rockets kill 30 in Ukrainian city as rebels launch offensive

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Abe ‘speechless’ after video claims IS hostage dead

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    GOP presses state bills limiting gay rights before ruling

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Abortion opponents express renewed hope at California rally

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Winter produce available at Sutter market

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Vote for your favorites in Readers’ Choice poll

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Share your love (story) with us

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Sip wines at St. James’ annual tasting

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Fake schools draw federal scrutiny

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Donations to be distributed during homeless count

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

     
    Speaker will share computer security tips

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Logos Books celebrates 5 years, offers language groups

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Australian olive oil company opens U.S. headquarters in Woodland

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Explore at the YOLO Outdoor Expo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Yolo animal shelter seeking rawhide donations

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A5

     
    Woodland Healthcare employees take Great Kindness Challenge

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    At the Pond: Nest boxes give birds new homes

    By Jean Jackman | From Page: A6 | Gallery

     
    California ranks worst in nation for guidance counselors

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    Words and Music Festival events

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A12

     
    Davis, Woodland are saving water

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A12

    .

    Forum

    Family isn’t keen on relationship

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A8

     
     
    Caring for the aging mouth

    By Samer Alassaad | From Page: A8

    Rick McKee cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

     
    Big utilities’ nightmare begins to play out

    By Tom Elias | From Page: A10

    Mayor’s Corner: Let’s renew Davis together

    By Dan Wolk | From Page: A10

     
    We have the right to choose

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    We don’t have to suffer

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    City helped immensely

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    When measles spreads from Disneyland, it’s a small world after all

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A11

     
    From innovation parks to innovative buildings and planning

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

    .

    Sports

    Lady Devils hold off Pacers, stay perfect in league

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Wildcats’ inaugural kids development league exceeds expectations

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggies get top 2015 gymnastics score, but fall short

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Loud crowd sees DHS boys win

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Watney in ninth at Humana Challenge

    By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B8

     
    UCD men take two tennis matches

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Davis man focusing on cannabidiol business

    By Will Bellamy | From Page: A9

     
    Marrone Bio’s Regalia approved for new uses in Canada

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

     
    UCD grad makes insurance ‘hot 100′ list

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    Yolo County real estate sales

    By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Thomas George Byrne

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, January 25, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8