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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Egypt Beyond The Pyramids | HuffPost


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The Egypt Beyond The Pyramids

07/18/2017 01:13 am ET | Updated 3 hours ago

It would be wonderful if I could embrace what I had been taught about my beloved Egypt. The Bible taught us that Egypt was the land to which the Israelites would find refuge during the famine and the home to the most notable Biblical figures; from Jesus to Moses.

For many African- Americans, Egypt was the historical land where men and women who hailed from Africa as Kings and Queens. These high positions were held in high esteem and ruled the nations empires and had the innate ability to understand what we know today as STEM – science, technology, engineering and math. A land ruled by people of color creating significant monuments to their ancestors who created all that we learn today.

Today, there is another Egypt that can't be erased, it is one of terrorism and a breeding ground for hatred and destruction. The myriad of internal issues that have led to the collapse of their economy and the demise of their middle class.   How could that be? Interesting how history has a way of giving empires a period of time to rule.  Once a powerful empire, today it may be submissive to another.

The people of Egypt still take pride in their past, they still find hope in their future, they still see themselves as a great contributor to the future of mankind.

While some of today's  modern day media may want us to fear this magnificent land they will use whatever is necessary to create more division and fear. While their mission is clear some of us brave, curious souls want nothing more than to quench our thirst for the vast knowledge from the past to help shape the future of mankind by visiting this special place.

I have visited this continent more times than I had planned and still can't get enough of it. This land has fed more than my curiosity, it has fed my soul and it is slowly enticing me to make it my second home with an un-explainable solace that draws me nearer to its heart – its people, by the way they embrace life, their laughter at my excitement for this historic land and its culture.

Cairo, the majestic capital, is in much need of a facelift, but continue to stand regal with character, like a divine woman past her prime, whose beauty can't escape you, every wrinkle tells a story, every line across her forehead a road map to some sort of disappointment.  The calluses on the palm of her hands are reminiscent of the hard work she was put into the care of her family and beloved children.  The curve of her spine, that once stood erect, is from the load she has had to carry for endless years for those who have left her standing alone to carry their loads for far too many times.

Through it all her beauty remains defined for she has not sipped on the sour grapes, or become drunk in her sorrows.  She has massaged her head with the sweet olive oil of her garden and eaten the sweet dates from her trees and has taken shade from the endless rays of the sun.  She has not cursed the beaming of the sun that has browned her skin to perfection.  But has embraced the new shade of beauty that it has bestowed on her, and she has groomed herself so elegantly with the pearls of the Nile and found comfort in its constant flow of waters.

As she looks back at the past all of what once was, she has no regrets, but celebrates, her generation of children that still see her beauty and look to celebrate her.  The countless visitors that  crosses the threshold of her door to preside in her existence.  Yes, Cairo is still alive and deserving of your praises.

Sharm El Sheikh, the sister that likes to party, as I call her, and party we did.  This beautiful city has the most magnificent body of water that flows to perfection to curb your appetite for all things festive.  From the moment we left the airport, there is an amazing energy in  the streets; people scurrying to their destinations, buildings with monumental figures of dinosaurs to Hollywood signs, within a couple of feet from each other, each one celebrating the imagination of its people and raising the curiosity of its visitors.

As we drive up to the dock, the energy begins pulling me, clearly this was going to be a sail to remember.   As we embark we are greeted with a warm welcome by the crew of The Sina Dream, and was led downstairs where we receive our orders, "change into your swimming gear, comfortable clothing and prepare to have a good time. Women's changing cabin to the right men to the left."  Well hello!  Yes, captain.  We all hurry to change and once we reach the top of the boat the music is in full blast.  And the party has begun.  We walk around the deck and are invited to make ourselves at home.  The beauty of this Red Sea drapes Sharm El Sheikh well.  It dresses her very well in a deep blue sea color that sometimes looks turquoise when the sun hits it right, with some spots of dark as you peer closer to look into her bottom, but in some areas where the waters are shallow it seems white from the sands of her beaches.   The land surrounding the Red Sea is nothing less than perfection with its sand castle  views, with beautiful homes in close proximity, perfectly in sight for those passersby's to admire.  How blessed are those who have inherited this promise land flowing with milk and honey.

Some of my shipmate are enjoying the music, singing, dancing.   Others walk the plank, or get dipped into the ocean on a net.  No this is not some sort of punishment for these guests do so willingly for pure please.

As if this is not enough the food was perfectly prepared for us only seems like an  aphrodisiac to our souls to prepare us for the belly dancing show that was about to begin.

We are so intoxicated with the promise of a good time, I don't think any of us realized that we had not been served one glass of wine or spirits as this pleasure was naturally induced by the company with whom we enjoyed this amazing journey, coupled with the music and conversations, who would have thought you could have a wonderful time without being intoxicated with liquor? As our journey comes to an end, we pack up and take our leave and are warmly taken to shore by the owners and bid our sad goodbyes to our new friends from Jordan, Kuwait, Saudia Arabia, Dubai, Egypt, The U.S, Mexico and other parts of the world.

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We are now escorted to our magnificent home for the night,  The Four Seasons Sharm El Sheikh.  Though this is not my first time seeing this beautiful hotel with acres upon acers of land.  I am still mesmerized by her beauty!

We are greeted with wet hand towels to clean our hands before we are served a welcoming beverage and check into our rooms. The magnificent lobby takes your breath away only to suck the life from you with her magnificent view of the ocean side when you walk towards the back of the hotel to see the prime real estate she sits on.  Superb. This is in fact what I will describe as heaven. I am ushered to my room to rest for a bit and freshen up to prepare for the night's festivities with the local Bedouins. 

HIlton Luxor Resort & Spa

Wow the room with the view of the Nile River is where my chambers will be, if only for one night.  I will be intoxicated by her beauty!  Thank you God for such magnificent creations. I quickly explore the room only to find myself sunken in face down in the bed that has wrapped my aching body into her clutches and threatens not to release me until I have reached complete ecstasy.  The bed felt amazing.  I didn't realize I fell asleep until I was awakened by the phone and the voice of our host asking if I was joining them for dinner.  Lord what happened?  Where am I? I rushed into the equally magnificent boudoir, with the state of the art shower and amenities fit for queen Nefertiti herself and hurried to join the others, prepared for what promises to be an enchanting evening, a night in the desert under the black skies, with food, wine and music. What have I done to be deserving of such royal treatment. Come to Egypt the land of Kings and Queens.  What did I expect!!! The food. Did I mention it is fresh, well seasoned and prepared by Egyptians that have gone to the best culinary schools?  God may have taught them the art of cooking directly, because I could not stop eating. Again.

The night was perfect, but when you add a fire breathing, young sexy man playing fire on a stick you are asking to get burned.  Bravissimo! Now I am not known to cat call anyone but in this situation my goodness the howling at the moon was a call for action.

Don't worry gentlemen  they prepared a special show for you too. The belly dancer.  And dancing she did.  She moved her body like a snake and we felt the music move our souls.  And our Argentinian traveling mate found great pleasure, enough to join her on the stage and make a spectacle of himself for our entertainment.  It was magnificent.

As the night came to an end our transportation took us to our quarters, I was terribly excited about the evening and revisiting my bed. But not before getting the private tour of the grounds and engaging with the staff and the best part the Chefs!  Lord you can't begin to understand the level of excellence I'm attempting to describe to you.  You have to see this for yourself. Come to Sharm!

Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa

Luxor

Luxor the middle sister that is in time with her spirituality as you will describe it.  This lovely city has a calming peace about her.

The city by itself still seems a bit simple.  Its locals seemed not of the privilege class.  Merchants on the streets selling goods, buildings seem a little dilapidated and in desperate need of repair.  But the people seemed at peace.  As we drove by I saw various forms of transportation from cars, motorbikes and to animals, all working together for the people with no road rage, surprisingly.

We enter the grounds, just beyond the walls is a perfectly built Oasis that awaits you. The staff greets us with wet towels to clean our hands and a drink as you wait your turn to check in. You are then escorted to your room and to prepare for the outing planned for you to visit the West Bank. As I chose not to take that journey this time around, I explored the property and engaged the staff and enjoyed the beauty of the view of the Nile River and sampled more of its food and enjoyed the intimate moments with Chef Mohamed. What fun.

I then found my way to the infinity pool and laid there and enjoyed the rays of the sun as it baked my skin to perfection and when it got too hot I just basted it in the cool pool water with a sigh of pleasure. I was indeed in paradise. I made my way back to my room by force because I was reminded by the manager that my group would be returning and I would need to join them for dinner since I had missed them for lunch on the boat. I complied and felt refreshed and prepared for the tour of the light show in the Valley of Kings and Queens to be reminded of its magnificence and the brilliant history Luxor has made for herself. 

Although this was not my first time to the show I listened intently to the narration with a different set of ears and learned greater details about its rich history that influenced all of civilization as we know it. When the light show comes to an end we head over to the Winter Palace where we will be dining with the Mayor of Luxor and our host and its dignitaries.  Good food, wine and conversation makes for a joyous journey. What a way to end your night and see a country that has so much to offer in history and culture. I implore all of you are reading this; please don't take it for granted or be dismissive of its history. 

Egypt has much to offer in so many different ways.  If you love adventure, learning, fine dining, great music, culture, and art, you haven't lived until you come to Egypt.  This is my Egypt!

Things to do in Cairo:

Visit the Museums

Visit the markets Visit the Pyramids Take a catered lunch ride on the Felucca (The Four Seasons Caters)

Visit Irs Grand Mosc Party on the Top of The Four Seasons in the Mall.  The music is diverse and amazing.

Things to do in Sharm

Get a cruise on the Sina Dream!!! Hands down you won't regret it.

Have a magnificent, romantic night in the desert with the Bedouins.

Entertainment is wonderful and food magnificent. Go diving in its oceans it said to be the best in the world.

Things to do in Luxor

Must go to its temples and valley of kings and Queens.

Walk around the locals and mingle with the people.


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