Egypt

Gift of the Nile

I see a sparkling desert and sitting upon it a huge pile of stones rising up to kiss the sun. It is one of three such symmetrical shapes jutting from the nearly flat plateau. I gaze upon a phenomenon -- one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the Great Pyramids of Giza. 

My gaze continues to the sprawling city of Cairo, the largest city in Africa and the third-largest city in all the world. This is a city of beautiful weather, immortal monuments, fascinating people, and history as ancient as writing itself. A city where past and present meet and mingle, where traffic is not only motorized vehicles but donkeys pulling carts and riders perched high on the backs of camels.

 

 

I step through the curtain of time as I enter the world-renowned Egyptian Museum. I travel from one pharaonic period to another exhilarated by the history of those who remained immortal, though their bodies were laid to rest thousands of years ago. My eyes linger over the fabulous golden treasures of a "boy king" named Tutankhamen.

My head is spinning from the marvelous things my eyes have seen as I step aboard my Nile cruise boat. I sit on the deck under the shaded canopy sipping cool drinks and watching "life along the Nile" slowly glide by. Burning desert gives way to a narrow strip of green oasis along its banks. People work the fields, tend their animals, and gather water from the mighty river.

Philae Temple in Egypt

Scattered along its banks are the remnants of a life long ago, the temple remains at Edfu, Esna, and Luxor, the world's greatest open-air museum. Once called Thebes, Luxor is a city filled with awe-inspiring monuments of an ancient civilization from the magnificent Karnak Temple on the East bank to the remarkable tombs of kings, queens, and nobles on the West bank. 

As the sun sets I look out over the narrow fertile strip of green to the ever-encroaching barren desert of this land and I realize that Egypt is the true "the gift of the Nile".