Stories from Abroad: Egypt
MIDDLE EAST STUDIES PROGRAM
September 12 , 2005 - Andrew
For the first time I went to the pyramids... and they were pretty amazing... pretty big. While we were there we got to ride on camels and that was a real blast too, having never done that before, I couldn't stop smiling. I can relate it to the first time I got behind the steering wheel of a car, and I couldn't get rid of the smile on my face. When I got on that camel I couldn't keep from smiling ear to ear.
Then we did the horse rides which I was actually kinda nervous about. Our director asked us to sign waiver for if we fell off and got hurt. Sorry mom, but I went ahead and rode anyway. When we first got on I had no idea what to expect. We got to the edge of Cairo and to where the sand meets the road and stepped into the desert... this is when it got fun.
All of the horses took off, and when I say took off I am not talking about a trot, but a full out gallop. My horse glided over the sand, making clouds behind me. There is no way I can explain to you the thrill of riding on a horse, in Egypt, in Cairo, at the Pyramids... it just can't happen. The wind is in your face and you can't help but yell "YA! YA!" trying to get your horse to gallop faster and faster. The ground passes under you and you simply want to ride off into the sunset.
Can life have any more adventure? I submit that it cannot.
October 3, 2005 - Andrew (more adventures)
Mt. Sinai... Well I am not sure if this is THE Mt. Sinai. The mountain is surrounded by a lot of other mountains that look a lot like it. But all I could think is how can 3,000 years of tourists be wrong? Sinai is the one that Moses hiked up to meet with God, the scriptures claim that the mountain shook with the presence of God and that God descended upon the mountain in the form of a cloud. WOW. God is so amazing. We drove from Cairo to Sinai through the night and after a eight our drive got there at about 1:30am, and then hiked about 2 miles. Once we reached the top it was about 3:00 in the morning. We tried to sleep... yeah it's hard to sleep on rocks.... so we just kinda waited around till the sun rise at 6:30. It was probably one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.
Wow. So at Sinai we went to the Red Sea (which believe it or not isn't all that red). The water was warm and we walked out to the ocean.... I was flopping along in full gear with my flippers and goggles strapped to my face. I kinda jumped off an underwater "cliff" which was just below the surface into water about 20-30feet deep. I kinda just paddled there like a little puppy... afraid to put my face in the water. Eventually my friends encouraged me enough to put my face into the water. I simply couldn't understand in my mind HOW on earth I could possibly put my face in the water and breath simultaneously... But I overcame my fear and shoved my face in the water. It was once again... one of the most beautiful things I ever saw. It was like swimming through the pages of a national geographic.
This past week everyone was at an Egyptian home. I was with a family of four, Ma, Pa, and two brothers. It was a blast. They were a Christian family, evangelical, which is very rare here in Egypt. I went to a service at their Church and with headphones on I was able to hear the sermon being translated. The family was constantly feeding me, which is a sign of hospitality... so I really feel like I'm getting fat... no really. I have not run all summer (working at camp Hebron) and it's virtually impossible to find the freetime to run here. Anyway...
This I saw during my homestay experience and it was a real blast. I have to admit that it was COMPLETELY different from any American wedding I have ever seen. The atmosphere was total casual... during the service people came and left... walked around... a little kid was playing around in the front corner of the service. The bride and groom were seated up front in two chairs up front, facing the crowd, with an arch behind them made up of fake flowers and the lot, and best of all there was a flourescent pink bulb on the group behind them, creating a beacon of pink light shining up toward the top of the church. BEST OF ALL there were two angel dolls on either side of the couple, much like those you would see in the mall around Christmas time. After the service I informed my homestay brothers of what the word "tacky" in English means.
I am looking forward to seeing you all again someday... but until then... MaSalema (peace be with you, in Arabic).