Blogger recently took a trip to the other side of the Mediterranean tracks, onto the Dark Continent, and into the bosom of the fertile Nile Valley. His oldest friend Jesse and lovely wife Kindra, both employees of two of the top creative advertising agencies in the world, recently moved to the Netherlands. As it would be a shame not to take advantage of the geographical coincidence, Jess convinced Blogger to take a trip while the trippins good.
Blogger arrived in Cairo at around 2am, and as is the custom in most developing countries frequented by tourists, was immediately pounced on by would be taxi drivers and "representatives" from the ministry of tourism. Now Blogger likes to think of himself as a very progressive and worldly individual, who is far above making the type of cultural stereotypes attributed to other, less sophisticated western tourists. But he would be lying if he did not admit to the fact that getting into a taxi by himself in a Muslim country at 2am filled him with thoughts of kidnappings, disappearances and beheadings, the unfortunate repercussions of a televised Global War on Terror gone horribly wrong that has made such occurrences common
place in parts of the same region. Fortunately, it only took five minutes talking to the cab driver (going 100 mph incidentally) to realize that any such notions were completely retarded, and that the Egyptian people are some of the kindest and friendliest in the world. By 9am that same morning, Blogger and friend were in a car headed to Giza to see the Pyramids and the Sphinx, which Blogger jumped over.
It is the first time that a monument has actually been bigger than Blogger expected. For instance, the Statue of Liberty, one of the classic icons of American scale and grandeur is absolutely tiny when you see it for the first time in person, at least compared to the impression given by Ghostbusters II.
Unfortunately for the boys from Oregon, the camel drivers had already headed home by the time they reached the desert, so dreams of a shot on a camel in front of the Sphinx went unrealized. By 8pm that evening, the scenery of the Northern Nile Valley was whizzing by as the two headed south to Aswan and a boat that would take them north to Luxor. It was a sleeping car, and a dream come true for Blogger who has always harbored a soft spot for the romantic mode of travel since he first saw White Christmas with Bing Crosby and Danny Kay. Needless to say, the Egyptian Sleeper with Jesse is a bit less romantic than the New York to Vermont Steamer with Rosemary Clooney. It served its purpose, and by 6am the next morning, the two found themselves in the idyllic city of Aswan, where Pharoahs, Kings and Egyptian Soap Opera Stars have come for centuries to enjoy the clear water of the Nile.
After a wild time finding a guide and a boat to sleep on, the frenetic touring was on. The first stop was the Unfinished Obelisk, which Blogger jumped over.
Next on the list was the fulfillment of another life long dream; riding in a camel caravan across the desert to explore anancient temple like Indiana Jones. Here's are the two adventurers on their camels, which Blogger jumped over.
Unfortunately for Jess, bouncing on a camel for about an hour did not bode well for the old butt cheeks, which rebelled against him for the remainder of the trip, making even the smallest movements torture, let alone those of the bowel persuasion.
Next stop on the Aswan tour was the Temple of Isis, built during the rule of Alexander the Great in honor of Isis, the most beautiful of all Egyptian Goddesses, who Blogger jumped over.
The day ended with a relaxing ride up the Nile on the Faluka, the same style of sailing vessel and sail employed by the Ancient Egyptians to transport goods up and down the river 5000 years ago.
Settling into the boat, the HMS Jasmin, Blogger and Jess enjoyed a beautiful sunset on the top deck before hitting the sack for an exciting day upriver.
Here are the highlights of the rest of the journey.
The Temple at Kom Ombo, which Blogger jumped over.
The Temple at Edfu, which Jess jumped over.
The Valley of the Kings, a truly unbelievable place which Blogger recommends highly,
and jumped over.
The Temple of the Female King, Hathsepsut, which Blogger jumped over....
The Temple of Karnak, the largest temple in the world,
which Blogger jumped over....
And finally, the Avenue of the Sphinxes in front of the Temple of Luxor.
And yes, Blogger jumped over it.
Overall, it was a fantastic trip, and overwhelming in its historic significance. Returning to Barcelona, where the lineage of the ancient buildings in El Borne had once inspired awe, Blogger now finds himself nonplussed by anything less than 1000 years old. Egypt truly puts things in perspective, and Blogger thanks its gracious people, as well as his oldest friend Jesse for an amazing 6 days.