I fulfilled a life-long dream this summer by going to Egypt and really taking some time to enjoy its wonders. As soon as school ended for summer break, I hopped onto a flight from Khartoum to Cairo, then on to Luxor. I spent a week in Luxor and Aswan, staying with my friend Joy at her house in Luxor..the blue ribbon of the Nile, the green palm trees, and the golden desert beyond was just like every description I’ve ever read in books. I visited tombs, temples, and funerary complexes such as Luxor Temple, Karnak Temple, Valley of the Kings, the Ramesseum, and of course the architectural marvel of Abu Simbel, down on Lake Nasser. They were all amazing and I could hardly keep myself from snapping a picture every two feet.
After a week of visiting southern Egypt, I flew up to Cairo and arrived at the same time as Ken, a friend of mine who was just as excited about coming to Egypt as I was. We walked around the city for two days, visiting perfume shops and of course the Egyptian Museum. I wanted to see and touch every one of their 200,000 artifacts but in reality we only made it through a half day visit. We boated around the Nile and got crazy lost in the city, thoroughly enjoying ourselves. We hired a car and visited the pyramids- Saqqara, Dzoser, the Bent, the Red, and of course Giza and the Sphinx. It was a magical day and I couldn’t believe I was really there.
Ready to leave the city, Ken and I headed to the Western Desert for a night of camping, bedouin style. We met up with a group of other travelers, loaded up a jeep, and spun around the desert for a while. We slept under the stars with rugs and carpets beneath us and rugs as walls to block out the wind, gazing at a fire and feeding scraps from our dinner to the desert foxes who came over to check us out.
The day Ken left, Chris arrived from Sudan, and the three of us went to Alexandria. We walked around the western harbor and imagined the city in the days of the Ptolemies. Ken left that evening and Chris and I went scuba diving the next morning. We stood on top of the tumbled granite blocks from the famed Lighthouse at Alexandria and swam among the amphorae spilled overboard from Roman and Greek ships. We saw the ruins of what they believe was Cleopatra’s palace and looked at the Pharoanic, Greek, and Roman columns left in the sea.
After Chris left, I flew to Sharm El Sheikh and grabbed a ride up to Dahab, scuba capital and basic beach bum hang around of the Sinai. Two days of soaking up the sun and the relaxed atmosphere of Dahab by day, sitting in hookah lounges at the edge of the water by night, had me in a great state of mind. I took an overnight trip to St. Katherine’s monastery, built around the famous burning bush, and hiked up Mt. Sinai in the middle of the night to be there at dawn. It was quite a trip and it took two more days of laying around Dahab to sufficiently recover.
My vacation time almost over, I had just enough time to fit in a two day trip to Petra to see the awesome carved rock canyon. I felt just like Indiana Jones as I walked down the narrow path, watching it slowly open up to the chiseled features of The Treasury, an amazing facade carved by the Nabateans around the time of Christ. The natural colors of pigmentation running through the rock combined with the detailed carvings make for a sight not to be forgotten.
By the time I returned to Cairo and prepared for my flights back to Sudan, Dubai, and finally Texas, I was ready to go home and spend some time with my family. However, I loved every minute I was in Egypt and it was a trip I will never forget.