Egypt

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Please Don’t Throw Toilet Paper at the Toilet

This sign is posted on my bathroom door at the Pharaoh’s Doki Hotel on Lotfi Hassouna Street in Giza-Cairo, Egypt.  Because of my competitive nature, I can visualize players throwing wads of toilet paper at the commode in hopes of scoring a basket.  Oh, well…

My Nile cruise begins tomorrow.  I will be joining a tour group.  Yesterday I ran into an Australian woman traveling alone.  We had an Egyptian lunch at the Internet Café and then explored some of the city’s Mosques.  I much prefer this kind of spontaneous interaction but am pleasantly surprised when I meet our small tour group of ten, an elegant boat, and a friendly crew.

The magnificent river Nile runs north – home to the sea.  We fly south to Luxor, travel against the current to Aswan, fly to Abu Simbel, and leisurely float the Nile back to Cairo.  One of the highlights is a camel ride at the Pyramids of Giza.  Actually, the ride is quite easy.  It is the getting on and off the camel that is the true adventure.  I pass the test.

An excursion on a hot air balloon at sunrise over the breathtaking Deir el-Bahri, Queen Hatshepsut’s impressive temple and the gigantic statues of the Collossi of Memnon is the most memorable experience of the trip.  We have a soft landing in a field of alfalfa.  The farmers wearing their galabiyahs and headscarfs (the Traditional dress) come bounding towards us on their donkeys.  They are yelling obscenities, I think, in Arabic.   Our balloon pilot says, “They will be receiving Egyptian pounds from heaven.  It is worth it to have a safe landing.”  Our crew has been chasing us down and upon arrival; they play drums, tambourines, and sing.  We all dance in the fields of fresh green alfalfa – even the farmers, happy now, join in the Traditional Egyptian folk dance.

The Temples of Queen Hatshepsut and Ramses II are my favorites.  Queen Hatshepsut was the First Woman King of Egypt and had an impressive, prosperous forty-year rule.

Her temple, I believe, has inspired our contemporary designs.  The Temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel is alive with the morning sunlight.  First light hits the inner statue of Ramses two times a year – on October 22nd, my birthday, and on February 22nd, my sister, Carol Jean’s birthday.  There must be some significant meaning here but what I am not sure…

After an evening of dressing in Egyptian fashion and dancing with the wonderfully attentive Egyptian men, I will be joining another tour group in Israel for the holidays.

Here’s wishing all of you a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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