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Mideast Maneuvers

July 04, 1993

I have recently returned from a three-week trip to Jordan, Israel and Egypt. I was quite nervous about going there because of the news reports about bombings, targeting of tourists and the general lack of safety there for travelers. I stopped worrying as soon as I arrived. There were no problems in Jordan at all and we were well received wherever we went.

There are guns all over Israel. The army is highly visible and school children we saw on outings were accompanied by armed guards. We were alert, but never felt unsafe or threatened.

We crossed into Egypt over the Sinai and the Suez Canal. We were escorted by two trucks of heavily armed Egyptian soldiers. At the rest stop, they leaped from the trucks and surrounded the perimeter with their weapons at the ready. Very dramatic. All we could see was desert.

There are armed guards all over Cairo, Aswan and Luxor: police, tourist police, army and guards in uniforms I couldn't begin to identify. But the Egyptians were quite friendly and open. I would have absolutely no qualms about returning to that area. Ironically, everywhere we went we were told that the United States is a very violent, dangerous country. The media blitz works both ways.

LOLA A. HAGSTROM

Huntington Beach

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