Here are some of my thoughts and happenings from the first few “settling in” days in Cairo.
The people here, almost without exception, are extraordinarily welcoming and kind. It’s something we in the United States are so unused to that it takes a while to acclimate to the gentleness and warmth of this people.
At the end of dinner the other night, one of the waiters brought a small rose bouquet over to our table, handed it to my husband and whispered to him “This is for you to give your wife.” It might have been a small gesture, but it meant so much to me that I cherished it. So much so, that when we got back to our room, I filled an empty Evian bottle with water and tucked it away on my bedside table. Every single time I looked at that little bundle or smelled it, I smiled. It meant so much to me that I actually brought that small water bottle with us on the coach to the boat, so I could keep it in our room.
As we were boarding, one of the tour managers said, “You will have another one of those in a moment,” and sure enough, as we walked up stairs, in addition to the fresh fruit juices, sweets and chocolates, there was a silver tray loaded with roses of different colors — one for each of the women on the tour.
15 minutes later when we entered our cabin, I could smell gasoline from the engines, and I was almost in tears as I went back to reception, apologizing and explaining that I could not stay in that room or I would be sick the entire cruise. The men could not have been more wonderful. They smiled, reassured me that they would take care of everything, and they did. Soon four men were carrying our bags to the top tier of the ship, as far as possible away from the engines. Perfect cabin…no gasoline.
I came downstairs to reception to thank them all profusely and give each of them a hug. As I was hugging Jusef (our coach’s guide), the boat captain came up, bowing his head, smiling shyly, holding out his arms and saying “I am the Captain!” So of course, he got a hug as well.
One of the crew at that point, handed me a a peach colored rose and whispered “I think you need one of these in a different color.” Evidently, he saw that I had a red rose earlier and decided to bless me with another.
Roseau: The Mysterious Necropolis of Giza Before the Pyramids
Khufu – In the year 27, Pharaoh who built the largest pyramid in Egypt is Khufu…and the only statue we have of him is smallest statue (about 2” tall)
Khafre: Pahraoh who built the medium-sized Pyramid
Menkaure – Pharaoh who built the smallest pyramid
Mastabas – fields of burial grounds next to the pyramids for the kings
The Sphinx: Built hundreds of years before the first Pharaoh built his pyramid on the Giza Plateau. Originally it had the head of a lion. Later the lion’s head was carved into the face of the Pharaoh (which is why the head is out of proportion with the body of the Sphinx!)
The Kafre Valley Temple (The smaller of the temples at the head of the Sphinx…limestone faced with granite squares) and the Sphinx Temple (Larger of the two temples at the head of the Sphinx with huge limestone blocks)
Erosion: Wind erosion is horizontal, water erosion is vertical. The Sphinx is eroded by wind and sand…you can see the horizontal bands of erosion
I love these people…they are so kind. There is one man in particular on the ship who I absolutely adore. I kid you not, His name is Honey. (I am positive it’s not spelled like that, but that is how it’s pronounced.) Trust me, Honey is as sweet as his name would lead you to believe. Anyway, he walked over to me with a big smile and five more roses in varying colors, saying slyly, “I think you should have these roses to go with your others.” Long story short, I have a half dozen roses making our room feel like a little bit of heaven — and I feel very blessed indeed.