From Chattanooga To Cairo – Its a Small World Afterall

I was recently invited to attend a luncheon at the Ritz Carlton hosted by a trade delegation from Egypt. It was a nice event and all was going fine until a fire alarm broke out just as we were getting ready to meet with the delegates, one on one.

Having spent many years living and working in areas of civil unrest and war, I look upon a fire alarm as more of a nuisance than anything else. I was looking out a window of the Ritz to see if there were any signs of billowing smoke when I was joined by one of the Egyptian delegates.

He wanted to know if I was going down to the lobby. I told him that without smoke, I didn’t feel there was fire, so no, I would just wait for the noisy clanging to stop. After he composed himself and found out where I was from he replied; “I should have known, you Irish are crazy”.

I was wondering just how many Irish people this chap could have known back home in Cairo when he informed me that he had a friend from Northern Ireland who invited him over to Belfast in 1970. “Those were pretty wild times in Belfast”, I reminded him.

He then told me how the two of them would be drinking in the pub and how they had to leave their drinks behind when a bomb warning would be called in telling them they had so many minutes to clear the bar before it was blown up. The Irish must have been starting to rub off on him as he seemed sad at the idea of having to leave the drink behind.

When you travel or when you work with someone from another country, remember that you are an unofficial Ambassador. Don’t have the opinion; “I’ll never see them again” as you never know when your paths will cross again. Let their view of you be positive so that when they come across one of your fellow countrymen in the future, they will have good memories.

It really is a small world afterall.

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