Driving west along the coast road toward Marsa Matruh is a bizarre experience. For kilometers, after leaving Alexandria, sight of the sea is blocked by modern ‘international’ housing developments.
The seeming folly of building on this vast scale along the arid coastline somehow prepares the visitor for an equally surreal sight—a light tank in the middle of the road. However, this is a sure sign that we have reached a point just over 100km from Alexandria and a mere 240km northwest of Cairo named El Alamein. (more…)
At this time of year, much of my attention—as a publisher of books about Egypt—centers on trying to understand what is happening in the re-emerging tourist market.
My weather vanes are not, for the most part, the resorts on the Sinai Peninsula or the Red Sea, but Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor, and Aswan, which attract those who are most interested in pharaonic, Ptolemaic, Coptic and Islamic monuments and history.
The good news is that, this season, things do seem to have been looking up for book sales. I have no doubts now, if I ever really had any, that we will survive the post-2011 slump, and will rise again, alongside the Egyptian tourist trade. This also seems to me to be inevitable given the universal interest in this most fascinating of countries.
So, the book trade will survive, in one form or another, but it is possible that others may not. (more…)