By the time I can publish this I am sure it will all be old news, but basically I need to write as a form of therapy for myself!
I have stayed at home most of today, ‘Friday of wrath’ as they are naming it on CNN.
I thought I would spend a lovely day dancing with my house guests here from Holland and China... keeping myself and them far from the riots and protests and potential dangers.
But the Chinese decided they wanted to risk and have a wander round the area, since it was their 1st day in Egypt. I warned them the areas to avoid and they left. From then on, Dominique (Holland) and I sat wondering what was happening and eventually decided to go for a look too.
We just walked to Medan Mustapha Mahmud and saw very little (this was about 1.30pm), then up Syria street. Walking into Berts Cafe we discovered they had al Aljazeera on and we sat to see the news. Then we realised the sounds of protests were coming from outside, not form the TV. It was a very small group of about 10 young men- shouting for freedom for Egypt. Obviously marching towards the town centre and trying to gather a crowd with them as they went.
When we got home (all safe and sound) we switched on CNN and began to realised the full extent of what was going on downtown. Then I discovered that I was still able to make landline calls, although unfortunately I know now only one landline number in Cairo. It’s shown me how much I rely on internet and mobile phone to contact everyone I know!
So, via a friend in Sharm I was able to pass on messages to my family that I was safe and avoiding the volatile areas.
Just now from my balcony I can smell and see smoke- I don’t know what is on fire, but I suspect it is something in the main street of gameat al-dowal al-arabiya.
I can also hear many gunshots.
I don’t know from who and if they are live shots or not, and since the internet is down then there is no news coverage from my area at all... and my bowab quite rightly refused to let me go to the main street to see. That makes it sound like I intended to- I didn’t! I went downstairs to ask him if he had heard what was happening two streets down from us. He said there were demonstrators and police and shots fired and that is was very dangerous, but that even he hadn’t gone there to look... and he thought this might last up to a week.
Watching CNN is my only link to the outside world just now... I will post this as soon as internet comes up again..... whenever that will be.
On a dance note- I have NO IDEA if the Nile group dance festival will go ahead from Monday as was planned. I have 4 house guests will me who were planning on attending and we have no idea what will happen.... so we might be dancing at home for a few days! I also have no idea if my boat, the Pharaohs will be working or not. From the TV footage today they were NOT working today- since the whole of the Nile seemed to have been covered by tear gas for most of the day. I guess tomorrow is another day... and we will just have to sit and wait and see. We did buy in enough food to survive a few days if need be!
How do I feel now? Well- my nails are bitten to the quick. I feel extreme sympathy for the protesters. I really hope it does somehow end in a fairer society. But from hour to hour things seem to change so it is so hard to guess. Especially when Mubarak hasn’t spoken to the press or people yet.
The people of Egypt just want basic human rights. I hope they get them....... without too many casualties in the process!