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.