Archive for July, 2006

Israel/Egypt Travel 2006

Time machines do exist. Sunday morning I had breakfast in Cairo and dinner that night in Marietta.

Saturday night we dined and watched a stunning sound and light show recount the history of ancient Egypt at the Great Pyramids in Giza. Thus concluded a fifteen day visit to Israel and Egypt. We traveled on six different planes, four boats, camels, horse drawn carriages, busses, a tram, desert jeeps, and walked a lot. Counting our own we traveled on four continents, drove over the Mountains of Sinai, and through a tunnel under the Suez Canal.

We sailed the Nile for four days visiting temples at Aswan, Philae, Kalabsha, Edfu, Komo Ombo, Luxor, Karnac, Isis, and Memphis. A number of the 62 Egyptian Pyramids arrested our attention. The Step Pyramid of Sakkara, the oldest stone structure on earth, evidences early genius. The tombs in the Valley of the Kings, the Necropolis of the Princes, and the Cairo Museum are captivating.

We ate off the ground in an ageless cave in the Ramone Crater in the Negev and enjoyed fine dining at the Mena House by the pyramids, one of the top ten most romantic hotels in the world.

This was our 31st visit to Israel and 8th to Egypt. Every trip is a learning experience and an inspirational upper. Some of the things I learned in Egypt were the Sahara Desert really was once a forest and all female rulers during the Greek period in Egypt were called Cleopatra. Cleopatra VII, the friend of Mark Anthony, was the last.

Some questioned our sanity in going. Security is tight —- at the Atlanta Airport. Therefore, it is not unreasonable that it is in Israel and Egypt. It is not however imposing or alarming.

Nearly one half of the population of Egypt makes a living off tourism. Therefore President Mubarak has rounded up all known suspected terrorists. Tourists are treated like celebrities. A police car preceded us and another followed with sirens on to open the road for the bus. An armed safety officer wearing a business suit sat in the jump seat on the bus. Egypt has a tourist police force that wears uniforms very much like our sailors. They only purpose is to accommodate tourists.

Israel has perhaps the best internal security of any country. With all we have heard in the last five years about suicide bombers not one tourist has been involved. They also value the worth of tourism to their economy. It is the second leading source of income.

One of the most interesting things I have learned from visiting Israel relates to the hometown of Jesus, Nazareth. In the time of Christ the historian Josephus listed 240 towns and villages in the region of Galilee. Tiberius having a population of about 10,000 was the largest. Most, however, had a population of between 200 and 300. Nazareth was so small and inconsequential it wasn’t even listed. It was about 300 yards long and dwellings consisted mostly of caves.

If you know anything about gossip imagine an unmarried pregnant teenager in Nazareth. Everybody would have known. It increases ones compassion for Mary and respect for Joseph.

Travel is educational. Most of all it educates you to the blessings of home. We have much for which to be thankful.

Intermittent Explosive Disorder

In recent correspondence a friend told of how two usually civil friends erupted in a “cat fight” at their bridge club.

Later came the story of two persons who verbally engaged in egregious behavior at a meeting of their civic club.

Then came the question, “What is going on? Is there an epidemic of some sort of “people rage’ like “road rage’?” The answer is “yes.”

That same day I read an article originating in New Orleans regarding a diagnostic term getting increased use there. It is “Intermittent Explosive Disorder” (IED). It is used to describe normally compatible persons who, out of character, suddenly become explode. The aggression may be physical but is most often verbal.

It is caused by undue stress. In the area impacted by Hurricane Katrina such stress is common. It has resulted in increased incidents of explosive conduct by rational people.

Susan Howell is a professor at the University of New Orleans and a reputable pollster. Throughout March and April she and her staff interviewed 470 people in and around New Orleans. They found people in the area are having trouble sleeping. Nearly 2/3 say they are stressed over what is going to happen in the next few years. Twenty percent say they feel tired, irritable, sad, that they have difficulty concentrating and that everything is an effort. Summarily those are signs of stress.

At best the poll is skewed. The pollsters used conventional phone lines and many of the residents hardest hit still don’t have phone service. Had they been included the depression rate would have likely been considerably higher.

Our entire culture is stressed. Social, economic, business, political, and family pressures are at an all time high nationally. Those who are “news junkies” don’t help themselves in that the accumulative effect of events not directly involving them bring pressure on them.

Being made aware of this condition might well cause a reader to recall a recent incident where they nearly boiled over. If so it is good to realize this and pre-prepare for such a moment concluding in advance the proper response when next tempted to erupt. Plan a cooling down attitude and a positive reaction. A predetermined rational response to the conditions that might precipitate aggression can mentally help control potential rage.

It is also wise to realize other persons are experiencing similar pressures and therefore avoid a tendency toward retaliation. Tit-for-tat responses produce road rage. You never know what is going on in the life of the other person. You can be the “ice man or woman” to help chill out a potentially explosive situation. It takes character to “walkaway” from mounting unnecessary hostility.

Self-control means you are in control. If you aren’t someone else is. That means the other person wins by controlling you. Don’t let another’s intemperance control your temper.

For years I carried in my wallet a little note given me as a teen by my mother that still works. It reads, “A soft answer turns away anger.” Try it.

Follow the wise council of Barney Fife, “Nip it. Just nip it.”