In 2011 I received the opportunity to travel to Cairo, Egypt, one of my most memorable trips even to this day. I was only given a small window of time to prepare before the trip and I didn’t know when I’d ever return, so I hired a tour guide/ driver to take me and a couple of my co workers at the time to see the things you are supposed to see. Our hotel was directly on the Nile River, with the most incredible views that immediately gave me the warmest feeling. It’s been 6 years and I’m still pinching myself about this opportunity.
A few things that surprised me:
1. The Sphinx and the Pyramids of Giza are located right dab in the middle of Cairo. No joke. When we were flying into it, I saw a huge city with bare land in the middle like an abandoned dusty golf course and upon closer look I spotted the pyramids and the Sphinx from above. It still blows my mind.
2. Now, I had a certain expectation of camels when I came to Egypt… I figured I’d see one… but I really didn’t think I’d get to interact with them. They are really the oddest looking creatures and call me crazy but I couldn’t stop looking at their weird butts.
3. I’ve now stood in front of the giant stones that are the base of the pyramids and I really do question how they got there. ET? I’ve crawled underneath the smaller pyramids, touched the hieroglyphics, and was thankful for the shade of any shadow from the torturous sun. I came as close as possible to the Sphinx and she’s entirely much smaller than I anticipated, which doesn’t happen often to me based on my size. But all of it is a wondrous marvel.
4. I learned to not judge a book by its cover in Egypt because no house is finished. They never finish the top floor or roof of the house in order to avoid paying taxes. I was told the dirtiest looking places can really be the most valuable palaces inside. From the street you really get a different perspective on things.
5. After a necessary food stop for street-side doner Kabob, a voice came over the public loudspeaker chanting in a religious tone and the entire city paused in the most eerie way. No one made us feel uncomfortable for not practicing the way they did. We just kept quiet and reserved to the side out of respect until it seemed ok to continue our journey.
The video is long but I’m so grateful I have it after so much time has passed.
I had plans to return to Egypt to visit Alexandria before things became tense… I’ve lost some of the memories. But I still wear my cleopatra cartouche, display my papyrus paintings with pride and can’t wait to explore the rest of this incredibly mysterious country.