Thursday, August 31, 2006

Walk Like an Egyptian

While writing this, we are cruising the Nile River in non-Peace Corps fashion, enjoying the luxury of hot showers, air conditioning, and sumptuous food served elegantly—all of this insignificant compared to the beauty and majesty of the ancient monuments that are scattered up and down the Nile. We have Dustin and Julianna (son and daughter-in-law) with us, which is making the trip absolutely perfect. (Daughter Claire will visit us later in Togo).

The Nile is flanked by a narrow strip of lush vegetation and we can see desert and sand dunes just beyond. We are viewing small fields of sugar cane, corn, groves of palm trees, mud brick homes with farmers going to and from their fields in donkey carts, children swimming along the shore, tall reeds which make us imagine how Moses might have been found as a baby, mosques, Coptic churches, egrets, water buffalo, feluccas (small sail boats), fishermen in rowboats….and other cruise ships. Fortunately for us, this is the low season for tourists and we are getting exceptionally attentive service as we are 4 of 12 guests aboard a ship that usually carries up to 90 passengers. We are south of Cairo which we visited before the cruise. The cruise is taking us from Aswan to Luxor.

We have seen many ancient temples, some very early in the morning to beat the heat (it was 106 degrees yesterday—no question we are in 'low season'), one at dusk when accent lighting came on to make it a dramatic visual experience, and other times we have just taken refuse in the shade of the ancient lotus and papyrus-carved columns that have withstood the test of time and nature for thousands of years.

As you will see by the attached photos, we took the mandatory camel ride to view the pyramids and got into the cruise spirit with Egyptian dressing (and dancing) like corny tourists. We could write volumes on what we are actually seeing and perhaps we will later for those of you who are interested, but we wanted to get this off to you now while we have the opportunity to use the Internet on the Nile, where thousands of years ago Egyptians first created the written word and recorded it in stone still legible today as hieroglyphics.

More to come in a report on the visit to Togo by Dustin, Julianna and Cate's brother Karsten. Great memories were created and Togo may never be the same!