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Interesting letter from some friends

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Faster horses

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The following is a personal letter to us from friends. Pretty insightful, I
thought, (especially the 4th paragraph) so I'm sharing:


We're back from the Mid-East. We found Israel enjoyable, Egypt:
interesting. We experienced a cold rain with lots of wind the first
several days in Israel. It even snowed in Jerusalem the day before we
got there. We saw so many exact locations mentioned in the Bible and
truly walked where Jesus walked. Our schedule, especially while in
Israel, was very full - long days. We went in to Palestinian
controlled Bethlehem and Jerico.

Our Israel guide was a 71 year old guy named Shruga, an Israeli Jew
through and through. He named our group the Shrugalites. His parents
were the only ones in that generation of that family to escape the
holocaust. They left Germany in '37, all the rest stayed behind. He
served in the Israel army during the 6-day war. Thought 71, he would
still look like a very formidable soldier if he were to put on a uniform

Egypt was a bit weird. From St Catherine's Monastery, because of
terrorist activity along the direct route, we had to backtrack to the
east shore of the Sinai Peninsula, then follow the coast around the
southern tip of the peninsula and then back north to Cairo. So, we
got a really good lesson on the geography of the Sinai, even though it
was a very long day's bus ride. We experienced having an armed guard
with the group every where we went in Egypt and had a well armed pick-
up following us most of the time in the Sinai. Sometimes an armed
pick-up leading us too. There seem to be way too many policemen and
they've assumed way too much power.

With Egypt's former leader Mobarek awaiting sentencing, having been
overthrown by revolution recently, there's essentially no federal
government. In all the stories we heard about the corruption,
cronyism, federal waste, favoritism, special privileges,
unconstitutional decrees, etc. that took place in Egypt under his
regime, I found that with the substitution of people's names and
country names, we're living the same stories. It's too darned bad that
folks just don't recognize it. I guesss it's sort of like the old
story about raising water temperature slowly and a frog will stay put
and be boiled alive before jumping out.

Tourism is way down, especially in Egypt. Pesky vendors, as
persistent an fleas on a camel, sure took away a lot of the enjoyment
of the pyramids and sphinx.

Of course, we took hundreds and hundreds of pictures so be careful
about asking.
 

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