Wednesday, January 5, 2011

& the "Elephant"

Tonight, we are dining like kings... well, the Kings of Egypt, that is!

Mirage of our time in the desert Sand, dodging camel spit.. Krista - is that you?!

It's January-- are you finding yourself dreaming of a far-away (temperate) land!?
Lately I've been thinking back to the extraordinary adventure I had in Egypt with some dear friends, and felt what better way to sink myself in the smells and flavor of a long-lost excursion, than to cook some food we ate!

No, this is not a picture of my prepared meal --but yes! it shall look just this pretty tonight at 6!
               MENU:  Kosher Salt & Cracked Pepper + Rosemary
                                      rubbed chicken breast
                           * roasted on a fillet of carrot coins,
                              sprinkling of chives,
                              topped with thin lemon-slices
                         ~allow melding-to-perfection for 3hrs
                              then add the Olive oil CousCous!

It doesn't feel like 6 years have passed since we boarded a windy aeroplane~

Of course, I would like to believe myself that our time spent it Egypt was just as glamorous as the first picture.. a dessert beauty in a gauzy white dress and the simmering sun of foreign appeal...
but alas - we were broke college kids just bursting at the chance to see the culture and explore a new place. 

Imagine a bumpy little cream van, no doubt from the 80's and of quirky-questionable make, screaching up to the *outdoor airport in Marsa Alam to speed us away to our resort. 
The vast spans of desert along the Red Sea were littered with mini establishments (cannot quite call them towns or even neighborhoods?).  They conjured up enough resemblance to a bomb site that we were all secretly second-guessing our destination choice?  Until, there, lay our gem in the desert!  The strings of resorts began to sew the coastline and we reassuringly whizzed down the chubby-palmed drive of Hotel Cinderella.

Small-statured cabana boys were enthralled with their First American guests, let alone 3 unchaperoned women.  We were treated like queens, eleborate flowers displayed in oragami-like art across our freshly made beds each day ..never mind that they invited the fierce and GNaWing RED AnTs into our beds!  We traded English lessons for free 4wheeling excursions through the sands. 

There is definitely something profoundly appealing about Egypt.
The rawness in the winds and sands, the poverty, the beauty in their culture and oasis, the endless history and mysteries --- everything eludes to this genuine sense of being alive.

I feel such deep gratitude for being able to visit, especially in times like this when my spare laundry money is not going to send me abroad like some free spirited Indiana Jones.. then again, the utility bills can be staved off a little longer right??
Well, you know the answer to that ;)  Next thought, food! Second to traveling, we can pretend and replay instead!

We stood in marvel, walked, and marveled more amongst the halls of ancient Egyptian temples where over 30 Pharaohs held their reign
Temple of Karnak.  16th Century B.C.

Had the spectacular fortune of journeying through the boiling Valley of the Kings,
and down into King Tut's famous tomb. 
Valley of the Kings

Where the echoes of the corridors send goosebumps scaling across your body with hindsight thoughts of all the evil curses that were cast to fall upon those whom dare enter the sacred burial tombs. 
Your mind starts to trail off into frenzied thoughts of un-tripped booby traps waiting to spring their millennia-awaited consequences!
..Luckily, that's about when the tour guide jolts you back to Reality and burbles
"nO picturrres puhLeeeeaze" mundanely brayed to we tourists that it can only be described as such that his manner of "authority" and self-belief in the importance of this request had already lost foreground in the race for his awareness that he will soon be on his 15min break and able to smoke a cig.!

King Tut

I still own the scar, 6 years later, from the metal stirrup that cut my bare-footed ankle while galloping an Arabian along the Red Sea, ..but i will Smile every time I see it!

We three ladies were promised an eternity of great fertility for walking 3x around this Scarab Stone...
lookout honey!
Sacred Scarab Stone at Karnak

souvenier sacred scarab beads, a tradition to carry for good luck

= lots of luck!

Sailing across the Nile in Luxor is such an invigorating experience... I'd watched countless National Geographic and History Channel episodes on Egypt and it's princess Nile before, ...but they cannot relay the feeling of the slight desert breeze rustling at the sides of your hair, just enough to send a few lost strands dancing in the perfect taunting of your nose as you tickle and try to catch the playful tangles.  The harsh squint in your eyes from the high / hot sun and reflections off the riverway, cannot be portrayed through a mere documentary.
The river is alive with people earning their living, teaming with boats and crocodile, "taxi" services of camels awaiting your dry-land transportation needs along the shoreline, the bleeding haze of warm beige spread across the lands.. truly other-worldly!

So, while we might have been on a Smelly, one-tooth Captained boat, it was a priceless moment-in-time I have to *remind myself was ReaL

Sphinxes were everywhere we looked!  There's an ancient following tingling at the hairs on your skin (no, not just the rolling sweat-beads from the 110 degree temps!).  Awe-inspiring artwork and Empires. 
And the juxtoposition of cosmopolitan life weaving about these ruins is boggling.

It feels only like a dream now, but we will never forget our dusty, dirty, eye-opening travels to the land of Pharaohs~

Karine in the chilly pool at our Red Sea-side resort in Marsa Alam, Egypt
So, tonight ~ we dine!   
..what will you feast on?!  Turn on the Travel Channel and try something new!

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