Across the road from dusty high-rise buildings and endless bumper-to-bumper lines of cars beeping impatient horns, we lay our eyes over the vastness of the Nile.
My watch closes in on 4am and we’re dozing lightly on our small bus at Aswan’s bus depot. It feels like we’re waiting for clearance on an airport runway.
“I’m not going in there.” Chris shakes his head and his face says it all. He sees the shop-front crammed full of people.
Our bus casually rolls through Palmyra, an ancient town lying against a backdrop of a fertile oasis and Roman ruins dating back centuries. It’s located in Syria’s central desert and pays homage to its prosperous history as a major caravan stop along the Silk Road trade route.
I boarded my flight at Cairo’s airport with bricks of sadness pressing against my shoulders. My backpack became soggy from the overbearing weight of my reluctance to leave this ancient city.
My driver speeds down a highway that is lined with kilometres of barbed wire to my left (turn-off signs to Lebanon beam overhead) and crumbling sandstone homes to my right.