Jeddah (Saudi) to Cairo

I've been suffering from a horrible back "issue" (sprain? strain? slipped disc???) since Dec. 31. I had to cancel a quick trip to Kuwait but kept my quicker trip to Saudi Arabia to meet our NU alumni and parents association AND, while I was there, to get 5-star medical assessment and treatment.

My Lebanese Doctor in the Saudi Hospital, developed in partnership with Cleveland Clinic (yes, THAT Cleveland), with amazing Filipino and Indonesian staff, and whose Executive Director of Operations is Palestinian, all came together for this one American patient - and all this demonstrates the "global village" once again.

The official purpose was our first-ever Alumni event in Saudi. Shout out to our Dean, Georges Van Den Abbeele, and our Alumni office, especially Kirsten Spilker, and mostly dear Samer Abu-Ghazaleh, a "double Husky" (BA & MBA). We had a great turnout of parents of current students plus alumni (and a few of their parents also).

I returned to Cairo early this morning; it's a very quick trip - less than 2-hour flight - yet very different cultures/countries. And it's a place I'd love to show our students - but given the bureaucracy and "closed nature" of KSA (the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), it will take at least a year to plan to have 20-30 students and faculty visit. So, 2013? insha'Allah ...

I've got 3 days left in Cairo. My overall assessment of the safety and security situation here now is that things have settled down dramatically, and settled into a calmness and a great level of safety for foreigners in particular (foreigners of all stripes being a huge source of income for this tourism-based economy, among other things). There remain random crimes (not violent ones as much as car-jackings and such), and these are focused on wealthy Egyptians or people who are perceived to have enough money to "buy back" their own cars from thieves! A strangely Egyptian crime.

My interviews for my book continue. Excited to wrap them up, get home!, and get back to writing ... this 10-day "medical vacation" has not been productive for my book :-(


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