Life, Relationships, Travel

674 Times…

…That’s how many times Egypt was mentioned by name in the Bible… and that’s probably how many times the country has come to mind within the last week. Egypt and the Middle East have been on my heart like I never anticipated.  The pictures and video clips I see on Fox don’t scare me, but I am sobered as I think of the people there.

I’ve never been big on the news. The other day I had to ask Adam if the man I saw on the news was the Vice-President. Yes, I know, that’s bad. However, when you’re raised watching the “snow channel”, watching the news isn’t something I’ve ever developed a taste for. Besides, even now when I have access to television, why would I watch the news when I could watch Chopped, Man vs. Food, Food Network Challenge, Top Chef, Bizarre Foods, or Iron Chef?

That mentality hasn’t really gotten me far except that if I’m given secret ingredients, I can make a tasty, gourmet dish. On the other hand, in the world of politics, world news, and current events, I’m lost.

Even with all my lack of knowledge about the country of Egypt and the actual issues being fought about on the streets of Cairo, there are a few things I do know about Egypt:

  • Most of their men are named Achmed or Alaah.
  • Pita in the works...

    Pita shops in Egypt are against any and every sanitation law ever created, but boy, are their pitas amazing!

  • There’s a place called Banana Island off the Nile River that is so fun, and the bananas are small but fantastic.
  • The Egyptian children drink from the Nile and play ball in the mud.
  • Egyptian hospitality is something every American could use a few lessons in.
  • Nothing in the whole world smells as awful as the tombs in the Valley of the Kings.
  • Photos and cameras are strictly prohibited in the Valley of the Kings, but don’t worry; the guards there are ridiculously easy to bribe with a little “baksheesh”.

    Inside one of the tombs... I can still smell the odors
  • Don’t be freaked out when men link arms. That’s just the way it’s done.
  • You can live for days there without washing your hands … and no one cares.
  • Avoid small, fresh melons; they’ve been known to give food poisoning.
  • Avoid crossing the main thoroughfare in Cairo. You’ll nearly die.
  • Avoid other American friends. They’ll mess up the whole trip.
  • Go snorkeling in the Blue Hole; it might be the most dangerous snorkeling
    Lindy and I ready to snorkel

    location there with numerous deaths a year but so worth it!

  • Avoid the European tourists at the beach in Dahab; they wear Speedos. (enough said)
  • You can barter for everything and anything.
  • Accept tea and Coke when offered. It sweetens the experience.
  • Riding a camel in the desert near the Pyramids isn’t as cool as it sounds.  Camels are gnarly.

    Lindy's turn on the crazy camel
  • Eat the native food and avoid all appearance of American cuisine. Your stomach will thank you as will your wallet.
  • Learning to French braid is a necessity to avoid washing your hair.
  • Avoid walking the streets of Dahab alone, at night, as a single girl. (Sidenote: Never challenge a tall, Muslim man when you’re a short, American female…even if you’re from NY)
  • Avoid 36-hr bus rides. They’re awful and overbooked; who knows, you just might end up with an Asian woman sitting at your feet.
  • Don’t feel the need to wear a headscarf. Believe me, you’ll stand out enough.
  • Attempt to learn to speak and read the language. You might be laughed at, but it’s so fun.
  • The remnants of our watermelon fight.

    Watermelon seed fights are never better than in Egyptian hotel rooms.

  • Try to avoid watching Egyptian movies or even going to the movie theatre.  The only English option they offer there will be something stupid like 10,000 BC.
  • Don’t be afraid to get dirty. The kids’ noses run, the flies infest, but the memories are rich.
  • Learn to barter with your hotel owner.  You just might end up borrowing his personal snorkel gear, even though part of his business is renting that same equipment.
  • Realize that everywhere you go, you’ll be offered hookah with dinner.
  • Don’t feed the cats that swarm at dinner…. especially off your fork.
  • Order your gallibaya as soon as you arrive in Luxor. It takes about 24 hours to make.
  • Avoid falling asleep in hotel lobbies. You just might wake up to find your
    John, Asa, Alaah, and their friend... while Lindy sleeps

    face covered in hand lotion and the hotel clerks sitting around you taking pictures with kitchen pots on their heads.

  • Don’t buy your tickets to leave the city as soon as you arrive; you might end up wanting to stay longer.
  • See the historical sites as quickly as possible; then, just enjoy the people and culture.
  • Do what the Egyptian people call fun.  Forget being a tourist.
  • Rent the $30/month apartment you find a block away from the Red Sea. You won’t regret it as a reunion site later.
  • After some fun game out on the dirt street in front of our hotel

    Building trust with the adults takes time; building trust with the kids takes a dirt road, a few puddles, and plastic, hardly inflated beach ball.

  • Get to know the Egyptian people.  The memory of them will stand out in your heart and mind more than any history, geography, and/or social studies lesson ever taught to you.
  • Whatever you do, never stop remember the names, the faces, and the people of Egypt. They need your prayers right now.

Lindy and I with our friend Tito

•In honor of Tito, Ahmed, Alaah, Ahmed, Asa, and the other wonderful people we met in Egypt. May God protect you during this time.•


The Red Sea at Dahab

1 thought on “674 Times…”

  1. This is great. 🙂
    Though in some cases wearing a headscarf will cause people to stop speaking english to your blonde friends and start rambling in arabic to you for a few minutes before stopping and saying “You’re egyptian?”

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