To say the least, Egypt is rich with temples: soaring lotus-bud columns, enormous stone portals laced with delicate carvings, elaborate underground tombs, windswept desert monasteries, and richly decorated mosques. But as extraordinary as these sights are, they will probably not be the things that linger in your memory after you return home. It is the rhythm of life in Egypt–-from the Mediterranean feel of Alexandria to the electric pace of Cairo to the timelessness of desert villages–-that is unforgettable. In a world that seems to get smaller and more homogeneous by the day, Egypt, outside a few pockets, is still a place that exists for its residents, not its visitors. It is the real thing. As a visitor you will have to learn how to accommodate Egypt and not hope that Egypt, with 5,000 years of momentum behind it, will accommodate you.

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