One would be hard-pressed to create a comprehensive bucket list for world travel without including Egypt and its Pyramids of Giza.
As the oldest of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the Great Pyramid is also the only wonder still standing. Imposing and immovable, the monuments on the outskirts of Cairo have come to symbolize human attempts to leave our individual, indelible marks on an unflinching and unconcerned landscape. We struggle to create a legacy so that we are not forgotten. And, with all of our puny attempts, we realize the futility of such an endeavor. How are we ever to be heard within the deafening cacophony?
Yet, standing before the tomb of Khufu, one can become encouraged. Although the pyramid is the mark of a king, it is the mark of a human, nonetheless. And, at least in the scope of recorded history, it has stood resolute and will continue to do so forever.
Perhaps that is the pull of the pyramids, and of Egypt itself. An ancient culture that turns inexorably on daily errands and routines that rush past ancient temples and archaic writings that were laid down in the very twilight of understanding. To visit this place is to slip through the curtain of time and see past, present, and future laid on top of each other, like a series of transparencies. Each at once enhancing and obscuring the other two.
Angela was already intimate with Egypt.
She is a voracious reader and loves a tight-knit, almost formulaic British murder mystery novel. A story with a clear whodunnit that separates the guilty from the innocent and ends with all questions answered. And, more often than not, her setting of choice is Egypt during the early 1900s. So it was no surprise that Egypt was positioned as her number one bucket list travel item.
When she sent me a text with the Egyptian travel deal through Indus Travel, I encouraged her to book it without hesitation. Since the revolution of 2011, westerners have avoided the country for fear of the relatively recent political turmoil (2011-2014), and tourism continues to struggle from a lack of understanding. For us, this only meant that the prices were right, and that we shouldn’t miss this opportunity. The all-inclusive trip would be a whirlwind, but it covered tours around Cairo, a three-day cruise down the Nile, and a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the Valley of the Kings that just happened to fall on our wedding anniversary.
Moreover, the travel dates coincided with Ben’s fall break, so he could join us on the trip and not miss any school. It was as if Horus himself was asking us to come visit. And, as mere mortals, who are we to resist such an invitation?
Although we typically do all of the trip planning ourselves, we turned this one over to Indus Travel completely. They managed every detail, including flights to and within Egypt, tour guides and shuttle buses, and tickets to temples and other attractions. They even made arrangements to obtain our visas and provided guides to help us through airport security.
Part of me resisted giving up so much control over a trip, and part of me reveled in the boutique service and attention to detail. Like I was a celebrity or something. So, if only for this trip, this Number One on Angela’s list, we would relax and experience the ease and comfort of all-inclusive luxury.
Or, so we thought. Follow along with our Egyptian adventure!