Are you Crazy…You’re going to Egypt???
When I announced to my family and friends that I would be traveling to Egypt I was immediately met with an array of emotions. Some people admired the fact that I had the guts to travel half way across the world with a group of people I didn’t know for two weeks and explore pyramids, tombs, and sail down the Nile River. Others told me that I was crazy for putting my life in danger by going to a place so dangerous. However, I think my favorite response was “aren’t you afraid that you’re going to be blown up by a radical terrorist group or kidnapped?” Honestly, the comments of doubt and fear intensely drove my desire to visit Egypt even more. To some people that sounds crazy, but on the other hand I see it no different than those who like to sky dive, race cars or cage dive with Great White Sharks. Experiencing places you only see in a travel magazine just happens to be my passion and adrenaline rush. Moreover, living in America; a country where people of color can be carelessly massacred because their culture or skin color is scary to me; and the fact that the leader of my country preaches and promotes hatred for African Americans and Latinos scares me more than visiting any third world country that I've been too, and it surely scared me more than visiting Egypt.
So How Was Egypt?!?!
In all honesty if I had to describe Egypt in one sentence I would say that it is a beautiful ghetto. At first glance Egypt presents its self as a third world country with crumbling architecture, desperate beggars, and overly dressed women. However, after touring Egypt for 10 days I quickly came to realize that Egypt is a country filled with plenty of adventure, beauty, and history. It is also a great country to visit if you’re looking to lose weight due to the high intensity hiking and walking one will partake in while shopping in the open markets, exploring temples, or trekking through the Sahara Dessert via camel back. Most of the people in my tour group probably weren’t aware of the fitness level they needed to comfortably enjoy the trip because it definitely showed through their constant pleading for breaks during walking tours, their decline to participate in scheduled excursions that involved long walks, and the look of exhaustion coupled with profuse sweating. At times some members of our tour group ventured off in search of elevators or escalators while the rest of us took the stairs inside airports and museums. I am by no means saying touring Egypt is exhausting, but one must realize that Egypt is not a country that you go to for a vacation but more so for an adventure. And going on an adventure definitely takes some amount of physical energy. Thus, those who have a problem walking a regular city block in America can definitely expect to have a problem exploring Egypt.
Sailing the Nile River
The African sun glistening off the Nile River in Aswan as sail boats float down its beautiful waterways is one of the most beautiful visions that I have ever graced my eyes with. Although, I’m fully aware that the entire world shares the same sun, I swear the sun in Africa looks and feels brighter. I was under the impression for years that I didn’t need sunscreen because the melanin in my skin was built in sunscreen. To my surprise, I was wrong. A few days under the African sun had my skin tingling with irritation which unbeknownst to me was my first symptoms of sun burn. I became immensely happy when I saw a Caucasian gentlemen lathering himself up with sun screen near the pyramids of Giza. I immediately ran over to him and held my hand out; without hesitation he squeezed a big glob of sunscreen into my hand and I immediately felt relief as I rubbed the cool thick lotion on my skin. From that point forward I learned to always carry sunscreen with me when traveling to a hot and sunny climate.
Shopping in Egypt’s Open Market’s
Shopping in Egypt can become a hassle because that’s just what the merchants do… “They hassle you”. However, this can be expected especially when people are living in a country where food and financial assistance isn’t rationed out to them like here in the United States. Instead of seeing people on the streets begging and looking for a handout, everyone in Egypt is hustling from sun up to sun down (Men, Women, and Children). For instance some of the Egyptian citizens stand outside of public restrooms with toilet tissue, it’s free to use the washroom but you have to pay for the tissue to wipe your bottom (LOL). Having 4 year olds selling post cards and key chains that you don’t need warms your heart and makes you want to give them every dime you have. With all the people struggling to survive on a daily basis in Egypt you soon have to tell yourself that it is impossible to help everyone. However, after returning home from Egypt I have a new outlook on the homeless people here in America who beg in the streets without attempting to be a productive member of society. I think of the countless dollars I have wasted allocating to drug addicted bums, when there are people across the world working and begging for their next meal.
How was the Food out there???
From what I observed Egypt has a lot of tasty food however Americans are not encouraged to eat a lot of it because our stomachs are not able to cope with the different bacteria’s that are in it. Drinking the faucet water is also not encouraged. Although I attempted to follow all these rules, myself and other tourist ended up contracting a miner stomach virus known as the Pharoh’s revenge which was cured by a daily dose of antibiotics called Antisal. Those who didn’t have a stomach ache acquired diarrhea. To be honest, myself and other’s only experienced these unfortunate symptoms while on a 3 day Nile cruise. Either way I encourage all travelers to bring anti-diarrhea medicine along with them when visiting Egypt or any foreign country for that matter unless you’re a seasoned traveler whose stomach is use to different seasonings and bacteria’s.
The Essence of Egypt
Amongst hot air balloon rides over the valley of the Kings, Camel rides through the Sahara Desert, visiting families that live in the city of the dead (A large grave yard in Egypt where Mausoleums are rented out to families who can’t afford to rent an apartment), visiting the Egyptian museum, climbing a pyramid, dancing with Nubians on a sail boat in Aswan to touring Egypt’s enchanting street Markets I must say that Egypt is a magical place full of history and finesse. As I continue to explore every corner of the world, Egypt will always remain in my mind as the adventure that humbled me and educated me about one of the most brilliant civilizations that ever reigned, as well as the greatness and excellence of the African mind.