Thursday, November 15, 2007

Egypt in the eyes of a foreigner: (Part 1) Prelude

I liked Egypt. I loved it. I read intensively about it since several years. I read its ancient history, most notably historic novels of Christian Jacq, including five books on Ramses the Great, books on Nefertiti and Sun King, and the “Affaire Tutankhamun” – Tutankhamun’s affair, the story of how Howard Carter, an English archeologist, stumbled upon not-so-famous Pharaon’s tomb containing riches that still decorate the entire second floor of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

I also read general history of Egypt since Ptolemaic and up to the rise of Muhammad Ali, the first leader advocating the cause of the country as an independent Arab state and fighting for it.

Ever since in Switzerland, I always wanted to make a 2-3 weeks visit to Egypt to visit sites and places I have reading and dreaming about. I wanted to see the riches of Tutankhamun, the Valley of Kings, and three Great Pyramids of Giza; I wanted to have a ride along the Nile river in Feluka or have a donkey or camel passage to the depth of Egypt, to its south where then-great cities of Aswan and Luxor are. I wanted to visit the Great Temple of Abu Simbel and to walk around corridors of Rammeseum. I just wanted to see one of three cradles of civilization where the proximity to Nile and its fertile waters provided much needed food stock and conditions for development of agriculture, eventually spawning a booming economy around Delta, based on which the country called Egypt flourished since 5,000 years at least.

I wanted to visit oases and deserts of Egypt. I wanted to borrow the same path that some 2,400 years ago a young Macedonian Alexander went along in search of stars and in hope of finding himself. Like so many others, he came to Egypt to find blessing, to find light, to find destiny. He left his trace in Egypt. So did many others before and after him, leaving Egypt as always in its state of unceasing convergence of different people from different walks and talks of the world having dreams unimagined by one another, having come to Egypt in full confidence of finding what they were looking for.

I wanted to feel the country, which the greatest of Pharaohs considered his home, and which he built and protected against all peril with his own life. I wanted to be inspired by the country where the Father of Medicine and Builder of Great Pyramids, walked once in. I wanted to see the beauties of the country, whose beautiful queen changed the faith of her country and the world by her charms and enchantment.

Egypt. Egypt; a country that inspired, challenged, beaconed, entrapped, and transformed…

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