Egypt – “See the Pyramids along the Nile…”

The British Foreign Office has recently put Egypt – back on the holiday map…

After the extremely turbulent upheaval of the “Arab Spring” revolution, which the country had experienced recently.

That is good news for the revival of the country, in general, and its economy, in particular.

Egypt, the land of the Pharaohs – Akhenaten, Nefertiti, Tutunkhamun and Ramesses II…

Along with the massive sculpture of the Sphinx, the awesome Great Pyramid of Giza, and the Saqqara pyramids… have always lured and fascinated great explorers, inspired Egyptologists, Archeologiests, Historians,  as well as fortune hunters, throughout the centuries.

Egypt had an identical effect on… me.

I first visited Egypt when as a college student we travelled by boat to the land of the Pharaohs – I was spellbound.

Many moons later, we were relocated to Cairo, working on a project for a large multi-national corporation.

We lived along the “Corniche” of the Nile, in a magnificent apartment on the fifth floor of a high rise building in the verdant and luxurious district of Cairo – “Al Maadi”.

Our apartment overlooked the velvety-black, compelling, endlessly fascinating – Nile river – which snaked its way down to the the ruins of the temple complexes at Luxor and Karnak, as well as the Valley of the Kings across the river.

That was the beginning of our love affair with the most enigmatic and magnetic “city of cities”…

We were entranced… watching the Fellucas – like graceful swans, with their white sails, floating majestically down the Nile – while having dinner and enjoying chilled wine at our lovely jasmine-filled terrace, making for enchanted evenings.

We also had a magnificent view of the awesome and magical Great Pyramid of Giza on the right, and the smaller stepped pyramids at Saqqara, on the left.

After dinner, we would indulge in our favourite pastime – Painting (historic Architectural sites) – on our huge wooden table, while listening to Classical music, and my favourite song (“See the Pyramids along the Nile”…) “You Belong to Me”, by Patsy Cline, and the spellbinding music of the legendary Egyptian singer “Oum Kalthoum”.

Especially her hauntingly beautiful Egyptian love ballad “Enta Omri” (which means, “you’re my life”)…

“kabli ma tshoufak a’inayah“…

“My love, come

And enough.

What we missed is not little,

Oh love of my soul.

Whatever I saw

Before my eyes saw you – was a wasted life.

How could they consider that part of my life?

You are my life that starts its dawn with your light.”

What with the mysteriously hypnotic music flooding the air, the Fellucas sailing down the Nile, and the Pyramids beckoning us with their majestic magnificence – while sipping on our drinks – the effect was, and forever will be, indelibly etched on our collective psyche….  A Fascination...

Memorable…

Unforgettable…

That was the romantic, poetic, and dreamy aspect of our lifestyle…

The other was the hustle and bustle of – down-town Cairo

Cairo… “The City of a Thousand Minarets”…

The centre of the region’s political and cultural life.

It is not for the faint hearted…

Nor for the shy or retiring…

One has to be tough…

One has to be bold…

In order to communicate well with the wonderful Egyptian people and their delightful sense of humour.

In the morning, we’d head to the city’s major Souk, Khan el-Khalili, where one is deluged by noise, colour, talking, chattering, arguing, and bartering, and the lovable Egyptian idiosyncrasies.

We’d buy their beautiful Kaftans and headdresses, which we loved and enjoyed wearing to the magical soirées we were often invited to by the expat community, as well as the indigenous people – the Caireans, where we would be served their delicious food, and treated to their exquisite Belly Dancing.

Divine…

We were so inspired by our experience in Cairo that our paintings of the Architecture of old Mosques (real works of Art which are unfortunately neglected), the Nile, the Pyramids, their Souks – were so appreciated by prominent people in the Art world, that we were invited to join in an Art exhibition, opened by the then Egyptian Minister of Culture, which was a huge honour and success.

The Egyptian people are clever, fun-loving, music-adoring, friendly, charming, but also wily. Anyone visiting should be well informed and prepared for their idiosyncrasies, and unique ways.

Having said that, it is a most charming, most hypnotic and alluring city.

It is truly inspirational.

Egypt, the land of ancient glories.

Egypt, the land of the magnificent Pharaohs…

Should not be ignored.

It needs our help in its search for democracy…

Its search for freedom…

Its major foreign exchange earning asset is tourism.

Their major future is democracy.

Having had a nodding wink and the green light…

From the British Foreign Office…

It is time for us to start booking

The next flight to Egypt.

“Inshallah”.

a.

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