NILE SMILE

This day, spent on the Nile, in the tiny Nile Smile, was spectacular for me, although my eager photo snapping greatly irritated the captain, who, it appeared, greatly resented making a living ferrying a white westerner woman on his home surf. But for me, it was magic.

His dislike blasted through his impenetrable Arabic, but, oh, I did not care one bit. An avid chainsmoker, he suddenly started shouting at a boat headed directly at us, ordering his underling to steer the boat directly towards them. At the last second, the boats deftly cleared within inches of each other, allowing just enough time for the second boat to pass several cigarettes to our captain, providing him more fuel to complain. His boat was covered with Bob Marley and Rolling Stones stickers, but when I handed him a “Live Aloha” sticker in an attempt at reconciliation, it had no meaning for him, and he tossed it on the deck of his boat. Oh well.

Back on land, I visited an evening market, where the likes of black paper, ment tea, kary, and hot tchele were sold, while prayers trumpeted out of minarets, and Egyptian shopkeepers professed their love for me, if only I would buy what they were selling.

Egypt. It wasn’t until I returned home from my second visit and read Naguib Mahfouz’s Cairo Trilogy that I finally began to begin to understand the place.

Hope you’re not already over Egypt, cuz there’s more.

Shukraan!

Live all you can; it’s a mistake not to.

Luxor

I’m finding it difficult to describe Luxor. Measly words are inadequate, but here are a few to try: majestic, magnificent, mind-boggling, mysterious, merciless. Please, please know that the images presented here do nothing to convey its amazing self. You really need to go for yourself.

Live all you can, right now, in this very life.

Up, Up, and Away Over The Storied Nile

A hot air balloon from the Valley of the Kings up and over the Nile: this was a day not to be forgotten. The pre-launch drama, the thrill of the lift-off, the terror of looking over the side . . . and then there was the semi-crash landing. Plus dancing, and camels in the backyard. Yeah, not a typical day at all. Enjoy these photos from the safety of your chair.

Live all you can, and maybe try a hot air balloon ride.

A Different Sort of Valley

When I think of a valley, green pops to mind, but not this valley, although the dun colors do subside as one nears the Nile. This valley is hot and dry and also dry and hot, the better to preserve things like kings, apparently. Enjoy the photos. Next Friday, even more Egypt!

Live all you can, in this very life! Because, as per Percy Bysshe Shelley:

I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

Friday Fun as per Mary O

I had planned not to renew my WordPress blog account when it expires, that is until I read this very short poem by Mary Oliver among the tributes after her death in January:

Instructions for living a life.

Pay attention.

Be astonished.

Tell about it.

Since I’m not traveling at the moment (next trip starts in September), I thought I’d continue to tell about some earlier places I was fortunate enough to be astonished by, so back to Egypt! Next Friday: Valley of the Kings!

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Live all that you can.  Life is short.

Mt. Fuji, I Swear

I promise that is a photo of Mt Fuji – it was taken through the window of a Bullet Train, which as you know goes a million miles an hour. Plus, clouds.

Today was taken up mostly by rushing, waiting, traveling, and then waiting again, but the evening was topped off by a ramen dinner with a relative who lives here. Afterwards, he took me to Golden Gai, an area and experience I never would have had on my own. An excellent last night in Japan.

So, yes, sadly, tomorrow I return to Hawaii, but of course Hawaii isn’t such a bad place to have to return to.

What I’ll miss: the warm toilet seats/bidets; the food; the gentleness; the quiet of the forests; the mannerly queuing, the cleanliness, and definitely the bowing.

What I’m looking forward to: my electric toothbrush and WaterPic; soft mattress and pillow; family and friends; those ocean breezes.

I am hopeful that soon I’ll be traveling again, maybe to California soon and then later on a European autumn tour: Copenhagen, Berlin, Thames River Walk, and Ireland, and maybe the Camino de Santiago . . . Wish me luck!

Live all you can. It’s a mistake not to.

Live all you can. It's a mistake not to.

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