The Color of Pepto

I’ve just returned to Agouza from the Luxor-Aswan Nile cruise and it really was wonderful. There are one million temples to see and approximately 2 billion tourists to see them. I took lots of pictures, don’t worry. But I think I took more pictures of the funny tourists I saw than anything else, I especially love the Asians who go around wearing doctor’s masks over their mouths. I mean maybe I’m not being PC, but I think the Asians have got it right, because I read in a Lonely Planet guide book that living in Cairo is the equivalent of smoking a pack a day, and to confirm my suspicion 18 of the 21 students that went on the cruise last week experienced intense Phaoroh’s revenge and/or bouts of puking at one time or the other. My stomach still sort of hates me right now, but don’t worry I’m on the rebound. Did you know that pepto bismol turns you tongue (among other things) black? Because it does and it might suprise you the first time a little bit.

Thankfully I wasn’t ill until the tail end of our journey and I thoroughly enjoyed my time aboard the M.S. Neptune. One night Cecka, Lizzy, Dena, Jenna, and I laid huddled like little spoons on the top deck (five of us in a space made for three) and we watched the stars go by and we talked for awhile about the cute Lebanese boys, and then about the nature of God, but mostly we were quiet and this is maybe my favorite moment so far. Because I could hear myself thinking and it was good to be close, body and spirit, to these girls that I am coming to love. Then I longed for other girls that I love and for that night in a WDM backyard after puff painting t-shirts for Challenge, the princess bed, that redezvous in Fishers, a mattress on the floor of the room across the hall, a bed lofted high with three girls dangerously giggling on top, our rebellious night in the cornfields, a water drinking contest, “camping” that chilly fall night in Phil’s backyard, and an Egyptian birthday celebration. And so what I’m saying is that I miss you.

Hey, I have something really cool to tell you about. We visited the Luxor temple and it was one of the most interesting sites I have ever seen. Okay so here we are marching through an ancient temple built in honor of Ramses the something or other and dedicated to Amon-Ra (do you honestly think I remember these things?) alongside all those Asians and then we hear the call to prayer and we are maybe a little confused because the call to prayer goes with Islam and we were in a temple to ancient gods. Then, we turned a corner and look up and there was a mosque, still in use, that was built a very long time ago sort of on top of the ruins (built before the ruins were found); that was interesting in itself. But next we started seeing Coptic crosses engraved in the walls and hieroglyphics on blocks that had been turned upside down; we were looking at the ruins of one of the first churches in history. We maybe walked where the apostle Mark walked. Okay maybe that didn’t come out as fascinating as I thought–I’m a nerd and I’m not deleting that paragraph.

Here’s something funny I want to tell you about. According to my ancient ancestors after you die there is judgment, where Osirous (don’t quote my on the exact name our spelling)weighs your heart against a feather and if your heart weighs more than a feather then you’re in trouble if not then you’re in. Okay, but before they do the grand weighing in you make a set of confessions like: I never disobeyed my parents, I never forgot to feed the poor, I never murdered anyone ect…And there is a hieroglyphic associated with this confession and the little picture is of a man shrugging his shoulders in a “wasn’t me” posture. I laughed and thought of all the times we’ve said that and that stupid song it makes me think of.

I am finally begining to feel like I am making good progress in Arabic and that I’m not lying when I tell people on the street that I speak a little Arabic. Mostly I just nod and smile and I’ve probably answered yes to things I shouldn’t have, but really what can I do. And when I come home I’ll have to teach you some Arabic words, because its almost as funny to interject Arabic into English as cussing. Okay I need to be going now, because procrastination is the name of the game and time is running out and hopefully I have all the research I need.

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7 Comments

Filed under the middle east

7 responses to “The Color of Pepto

  1. ek

    “back to campus?” missin you… even when i don’t know how to show it. sent you a letter… hope it arrives. i put a fleece out for it… no not really but i thought about it. love you mar mar

  2. Anonymous

    marica, as i am reading this post, i am listening to that ridiculous song and i laughed out loud when you said “it wasn’t me.” wow, how ironic. haha. just thought i’d tell you. love you beautiful.

  3. J. DeGeyter

    That hieroglyphic should be titled “wasnt me” and it also made me think of your dad at Qdoba when he said “why not” (of course with an Egyptian accent).
    I cant wait to hear Arabic. I got a letter today and it definetly made me tear up. I loved it. Thank you. It made it and the picture is perfect. Its raining. I have a lot of homework. And I had a to buy a new nalgene…Thats all the news I have now. Its already March. Can you believe it? Me neither. I love you.

  4. Bonnie

    Rumor has it there is mucho snow in Upland, IN. I think I’ll go to the beach today. 🙂
    My heart is still suffering from that tech-NO phone call that failed. Let’s remedy that situation a to the sap.
    Ek- that was funny, “back to campus?”
    Marcia, I have a confession: I was missing you and Andrew so bad that I checked flight prices from Sydney to Cairo. I’m pretty sure a $1500 flight is out of the picture. I better start swimming; meet me halfway…

  5. Anonymous

    I guess I’m a nerd to. I practically turned pea-green when I read the paragraph about your visit to the Luxor temple, the mosque, and the ancient church. How amazing it must have been to see the history of the place, and feel part of it, in more ways than one. I love how, while reading your post, I can see you and hear you telling your stories. Love ya’ bunches!!–your Irish Indian Friend

  6. britt

    oh my ragamuffin friend, too many oceans and foreign languages separate us. where were you when i spent two days on a concrete toilet with lizard and fly friends alike? may the temples and pyramids be to you what those nicaraguan people were to me. the homesickness is setting in here too…today marks seven weeks in this place, but my heart knows there are nine more till i see home. be strong, my egyptian princess, and remember that our God has overcome the cultural barriers we never will. i love you, marcia. love, brittany

  7. brit

    may there be many more moments spooning and connecting deeply. As you seek to understand those in your flat and the culture that is very much a part of who you are may you find gold beneath the dirt. Were you wearing your crocs the other day? Maybe you should see if there is any dust from those ruins remaining there, then send it in an envelope to me…you probably won’t even have to fill out a customs form. Press on MarFACE, press on to find that gold, I’m pretty sure it’s there.
    I love you today and a million more tomorrows.
    brit

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