First Anniversary

Well, we did it! We have officially been married for 365 days – whew! It’s not that I didn’t think we’d make it; it’s just been a rather insane year. Is this what a first year of marriage should be like? I guess every new marriage has its own personal “let’s move to Egypt” issues, just in varying formats.

The night before our anniversary as we were drifting off to sleep, Ron said quietly, “I hope it’s okay, but I didn’t get you a card.” “It’s fine, I didn’t get you anything,” I replied. It’s not that we’re unsentimental cads, there are two factors at work here: 1) Cairo is a card-free zone, they’re difficult to find, and if you do find one it’s often a little strange, 2) we knew this wasn’t going to be our proper celebration. Saying that, we did manage to celebrate our actual anniversary with a nice dinner.

Ron did take the day off from work, but it was for his midterm… not me. ☺ We discussed this a few weeks ago when Ron realized his midterm was due two days after our anniversary, so we agreed to postpone any real celebration until after school, but luckily Ron was able to pack the weekend and most of yesterday with midterm-fun, so we were actually able to go to dinner.

Ron chose the Mena House Oberoi, out by the pyramids. It was built as a royal hunting lodge in the mid 1800s, but was converted to a hotel in 1869 (and has the distinct honor of being the only hotel by the pyramids that has a golf course – so our future outings include getting a photo of Ron “teeing off” in front of Cheops (the Great Pyramid)).

The Mena House has several restaurants to choose from, but the Moghul Room, with its Indian fare, came highly recommended so we opted for that (despite it being the only restaurant that does not have a pyramid view – however, in hindsight this wasn’t really an issue as the pyramids are not lit at night so we had to squint to see them at all).

The other “treat” we gave ourselves (more of a necessity than a treat, but still a treat), was to arrange a driver for the night. We certainly could have found it ourselves (though we don’t have the best history of locating the pyramids, even in daylight), but after sitting in the hoards of traffic, I’m very glad we didn’t drive. Getting there took over an hour (getting home, only 30 minutes). I’m sure traffic is like that every evening, but I haven’t had to sit through it before. At one point, we accidentally tapped the car in front of us, but no one blinks an eye here at that so we just kept going. We did see lots of physics-bending vehicles (see previous post if confused), and at one point I saw a rather ingenious woman who had created her own hands-free mobile device – by wedging her cell phone under her headscarf (well, I thought it was clever).

The hotel is beautiful (probably one of the nicest I’ve seen here), with wonderful arabesque decorations, antiques, gorgeous lighting and luxurious fabrics. Dinner was excellent and we were serenaded with live music (not just us, the whole restaurant – we noticed there was an “Entertainment fee” of 1.21LE per person on our bill, but we were more than happy to add our whopping $0.48 to their salaries and gave a little more in the tip).

We had plans to grab a coffee or tea in one of the other restaurants to relax after dinner and gaze at the pyramids, but in addition to not actually seeing them, we were happily stuffed full of lentils, chickpeas and naan, so we just called for the driver and he took us home.

Maybe not the most romantic of first anniversary celebrations, but there were extenuating circumstances and we are in the midst of planning a true vacation, maybe mid-December to Madagascar (isn’t a first anniversary “lemur”?), where we’ll celebrate it properly.

Regardless of how we commemorated it, we did express great wonder and joy at this past year, and I don’t think either of us would have changed a thing (well, any big thing, that is).

At the close of our first wedding anniversary, as we were reading in bed last night, Ron said lovingly, “You definitely look better than her.” I glanced over to see he was reading the October “National Geographic” article on Neanderthals. Needless to say, he spent the next ten, twenty minutes back-pedaling wildly and claiming it was all a joke. So if anyone asks, this was the moment the honeymoon ended. Let the marriage begin!