Travel Weekly's Michelle Baran is in Egypt for one week following the country's 18-day revolution, which prompted the evacuation of hundreds of U.S. citizens out of the country last month. Her third dispatch follows. Click to read Michelle's first and second dispatches.
This week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and I both made a visit to Tahrir Square (separately). And clearly, we were both inspired by the events that took place there.
"Like so many Americans, we have watched with great admiration and inspiration not only the activities in Tahrir Square but the outpouring of support for a new future where Egyptians take control of their own destiny," Clinton said at a joint press conference on Tuesday with Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Al-Araby.
"We congratulate you on embarking on what will be a very important next chapter in the storied history of Egypt," added Clinton.
Indeed, standing at the center of the what has become known as the heart and soul of the Egyptian revolution is a moving experience. In fact, it moved me to buy three revolution T-shirts from one of the many stalls that have been set up around Tahrir Square selling Egyptian flags, pins, stickers, hats and T-shirts with phrases such as "I heart Egypt, Youth Revolution January 25," written in Arabic across the front.
The T-shirts and my desire to witness not only Tahrir Square but other indications of the revolution, such as the tanks now stationed outside the Egyptian Museum, led me to realize that the revolution has now become an integral part of the tourism experience.
At the Egyptian Museum, I visited the famous findings of King Tut's tomb, but I also wanted to see the figurine made famous because it was found in the trash (likely discarded by looters) by a young boy who brought it home. Only later did his uncle think that it might be a museum piece.
I found myself snapping photos of revolution banners and children wearing Egyptian flag headbands.
This is history. And yes, Egypt knows a thing or two about history, but history in the making is a new experience for many modern Egyptians, many of whom are heading to the polls Saturday for a referendum vote on constitutional amendments, another step for this young democracy.
An event that initially drew tourists away, will eventually have an appeal for tourists as they start returning, asking their tour guides and bus drivers to swing by Tahrir Square and let them hop out and snap some photos and buy a couple T-shirts.