An hour ago I watched Obama’s speech in India in which he recognized India as the world’s largest democracy and stated how they must work together with the US for with power comes great responsibility. He also welcomed India to one day gaining a permanent seat on the United Nations’ Security Council. I find it fascinating for it comes at a time when China is gaining it’s place in the world arena and with shifts of power, the US must find a strategic partner. This is a story that sounds familiar and one that has been with us since the evolution of humankind. Great civilizations have risen and fall, empires have been built and destroyed, great men have lived and died. It’s not new. It just comes in different forms. This is also the story of Egypt, a civilization that once existed over 3000 years ago and one whose remains still astound us to this day.
I’ve always had a fascination for Egypt since my childhood days in school. I remember being taught about the Great Pyramids of Giza and having to write an essay about it for my school report. Built with rocks that are unimaginably heavy to carry, it is still a mystery as to how these pyramids were built. I remember watching documentaries which transported me to this ancient land and discovering how these awesome pyramids were aligned to the stars above. Egypt is a land of mysteries. A land where much is to be discovered.
I’ve mentioned this to friends and colleagues before, that after having been to Egypt it is very difficult to find a destination that is equally fascinating and one that is equally majestic in all its grandeur. I mean it. It is one I highly recommend for those who love history and something out of the ordinary. Of course it would be best if you did some reading on Egypt and it’s history beforehand. One easy way is to just get a few documentaries and watch them as a primer. I did.
My journey to Egypt was roughly two weeks and included all the main sites: Cairo, Abu Simbel, Aswan, Luxor and Alexandria. Having never once stepped foot on the continent of Africa, I had no idea what to expect and so I went with a package tour. However, for the more adventurous you could just go by yourself. It might require a bit more negotiation with the taxi drivers but beware the modern egyptians can be tricky.
What time of year should you go? I recommend going during the winter months from October to January, if not you could get sorched by the burning heat. I am told that in summer, temperatures reach 40 degrees celsius and your rubber soles literally melt on the hot pavement. I went during December and spent the New Years’ there. Temperatures were quite warm during the day reaching around 25 degrees celsius but it dropped quickly at night and a jacket was required. Desert weather.
Another very important thing I also recommend is to bring an “open” mind. Don’t expect Egypt to be filled with modern bathrooms and modern day life facilities. Instead prepare yourself to get transported back into time and see everything as an adventure, as an experience. You’ll never get it anywhere else. There’ll be crowds, there’ll be haggling, there’ll be tricks to get your money, but hey that’s what makes its fun. Have fun 🙂 Get out of your comfort zone and stimulate those senses.
Everything for me was a journey. Everything was an adventure and one that to this day I still cherish with all my heart. I enjoyed every second of it, from the haggling on the streets to the cruise on the river Nile. Afterall, didn’t Agatha Christie write “Death on the River Nile” ? Wasn’t the great opera of Aida or Shakespeare’s play written about Cleopatra? Such has been the world’s fascination with Egypt and so it became mine. I wouldn’t mind having to go back to it all once again if I had the opportunity.