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Blog 16 - Passionate In Egypt

Is there a journey clue in my scarf or perhaps the exotic necklace and long drop earrings? It may not be obvious but the magic carpet is itching to be off on another exciting journey. The choice was somewhat dictated by two of my birthday cards last week. My sister had custom cut my aquiline profile from a photo to fit the Cleopatra like figure and in the same post arrived the card with two ancient Egyptian figures saying ‘I’m Not Old” with the retort  “You’re in De Nile.” What a cheek! 87 isn’t old and I have never hidden my age! So, it has to be a visit to the Pyramids, the Sphinx and then a cruise down the Nile.  It brings back my memory of that cruise to celebrate a special wedding anniversary, which my husband had booked well ahead from our home in America, including the best cabin on board.

The scarf today shows passion fruit flowers. This fruit is exported from Egypt to UK and I must refrain from buying it on line, lest I get this way of shopping wrong and find I have ordered wholesale one hundredweight instead of a couple of packets.

The necklace and earrings were purchased on my visit to Cairo when I visited a souk on my own whilst my husband was attending a conference. When I think about it now, I must have been quite brave wandering about on my own. Foolish is probably a better adjective.

Foolish we both were on arrival in Cairo. It was late afternoon and we thought we would make our own way to Giza. The trip was on a tight schedule with the conference and a cruise. It was already nearly dusk when we met Frank, a tall Egyptian in a camel coloured overcoat....yes, he had a camel with an attendant as well. We turned down the camel ride but accepted his offer of a private tour with his ‘uncle’ inside the Great Pyramid. We were the only visitors except one young man who showed up on our photos developed long after. The Pyramid was all I had imagined but I had not reckoned on being groped by this aforesaid young man on the ladder whilst on all fours ascending from the depths whilst my husband and ‘uncle’ were ahead out of sight. I was in tears when we came out and NO, I did not want to see another, yet older pyramid.  I felt quite violated, despite my giving him a backward donkey kick and an unladylike oath. Again, I wonder at my grit at returning to Giza without my protective husband two nights later to witness the Son e Lumiere show by the Sphinx with the Pyramids in the  background. Absolutely marvellous, but then I was safely in the company of a tour organised from our hotel. Lessons to be learned there.

And now to the Nile to pick up our de luxe package cruise.  What do we find? Ex US President Jimmy Carter and wife Rosalind have been given our cabin, despite our written numbered reservation? Is there another cabin on this top deck? No, all his security folk have been allocated these. The Captain now offers his own cabin, we inspect it and immediately reject it as he is a pipe smoker and everywhere is nicotine brown!  Now you will understand the title of my blog......PASSIONATE. We are transferred to a sister boat which had lost its top chef, etc to the Carter boat and I am passionately fuming!!! At every antiquity or temple we want to visit, there is Mr. Peanuts, a nice man no doubt, but he has my bed and we have to queue for ages to see each sight as his party had priority. I wrote a note and wanted to pass it to the ex president but my husband was more sensible, waited his time and took the matter up with the cruise company on our return to America. Jimmy Carter was a revered man in Egypt as he had supervised the peace agreement at Camp David, the President’s country retreat in Maryland in 1978 bringing about peace between Egypt and Israel. After two days passionate grumbling to my patient husband, I settled down, bought a caftan for the fancy dress evening, wore my necklace and earrings and danced the night away under a inky-black, starlit sky.

The cruise company paid us compensation some time later. Will I ever return to see at greater leisure the Valley of the Kings, Luxor and the spice market at Aswan? Perhaps I will settle for a walk along the Thames, look at Cleopatra’s Needle and buy my spices at Waitrose. I will no doubt be wearing a silk scarf.

Busy Bee, Scarf Face!

Series 2, Blog 16.

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