Egypt - My Bittersweet Love Affair

I wanted to come home and tell you a story that tasted of Arabian Nights.

To fill you with the magic of the Nile, of the river Goddess Sohbek and her power.

To allow you to live vicariously through me, as I tasted the ancient energy of the pyramids on the horizon as the great solar God Ra set in the sky behind them.

A story of the Goddess Nut, as she birthed the fiery orb to create dawn, casting light upon the famous monoliths that had stood the test of time.

This is my own Arabian nights filled with fear, excitement, and a world of ancient history. I bring you the fear within my heart as I quickened my pace every time a strange man approached my friend and I. It was more often than I wanted you to know because I feared a culture I couldn't fully grasp or understand.

I bring you the passion of an Egyptologist tour guide named Amel, that herded us through temples and tombs filled with the wonder of the ancients like a mother bear guiding her cubs along.
All the while encouraging us to drink more water, promoting self-care.

I bring you the disdain that darkened me as I watched dogs kicked, as the cries curdled through the crisp air and rose my hair on end. The hardening of my heart towards an entire culture of people as I walked by horses and camels in Cairo that were nothing but skin draped across bones with open wounds oozing as they were burdened to carry more tourists to earn a quick buck for a master that did not care for them.

Followed by the wonder of a sleek pelt kissed by the sun on a stallion in the streets of Dahab, as he pranced with head held high knowing his worth. The whole while his owner grinned at anyone who became enamored with the chunky creature.

Cats that were watered on the bar behind refrigerators, with bits of scraps laid out next to the water for the next feline visitor. Bastet is known for her feline form, and Egypt's cats have not forgotten the worship they received many moons ago.

I let my face twist into a hateful grimace as I watched plastic and garbage roll down the streets, upset that other tourists like myself disrespected our great mother enough to toss trash upon her.

....followed by my heart soaring as Dahab shopkeepers chasing the rolling trash that didn't belong to them, to gather it into the appropriate containers within their shops that lay on the beach front.

This is the world. She is compassion with a dash of bitterness. Egypt became a lover that I wasn't prepared for. She was wild and full of fire and soul, but she was bitter and touched by darkness. In being there, I had to face my own shadows. She demanded it.

I can't tell you what you want to know because I only grazed her surface, I can't speak of facts and particulars because I only saw part of her face and never her full body. She is complex and full of mystery. How can I commemorate her?

What I saw in Egypt was a reflection of my own shadows. I faced fears I was unaware of, dismantled stereotypes I had over things as silly as food. There was a thrill of excitement about being here, but I wasn't ready. Weeks later I am still unpacking what she has taught me about trusting strangers, muslims, Africa, and about myself.


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