I'm back from Egypt! Unfortunately my lack of sleep and abundance of things to catch up on will force this post to be shorter than my Egypt experience deserves. Also unfortunate is that our internet connection at the center has been especially slow, so I can't even upload pictures if I try.
Our Egyptian adventure actually started in Israel. Our first night we stayed at a kibbutz about a half hour from the Egyptian border. We played in sand dunes and then had some nice meditation time in the middle of the desert as the sun was setting. No description will do it justice, so just trust that it was amazing! The desert experience was followed by a pool party and a barbeque where we ate hamburgers on pitas and sat on mats on the grass.
The rest of Egypt is kind of a blur, to be honest. I don't really remember what happened on which day, so I'm not going to try to get the timeline right and move on to the best parts. Here are some highlights:
1. The Pyramids! I don't think any explanation is needed.
2. Valley of the Kings. For some reason I was under the impression that this would only take about a half an hour, so I didn't bring my water bottle. Two and a half long, hot, and sweaty hours later, I was regretting my ignorance. Luckily when you live in the same building as your professor he starts feeling like your dad instead of your teacher, and you don't even think twice about drinking his water to prevent your dehydration. Despite the physical discomfort, this was one of my favorites. I absolutely LOVED seeing King Tut's tomb, and was a little heartbroken that cameras were not allowed and I couldn't take the "In Memory of King Tut" picture that I was dying to.
3. Waka Waka. Waka Waka will heal the world. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you should fix that. Look up Shakira's music video from her World Cup song, and then read the rest of this post. During one of the first days after getting to Jerusalem, one of my fellow students decided to make it his mission to teach everyone the Waka Waka dance. When I asked him why he liked the song so much, he replied with "This song healed the world. Can we please just let it heal us too?" We did. Since we were in Africa, we figured Egypt was the perfect place for our debut. We danced in front of the pyramids, in front of Hatshepsut's temple, and on the bus ride home. We shouldn't have done it at the temple, because dancing there is not allowed, but we forgot. Some security guards came to tell us to stop and get us all in trouble, but after seeing the video recording the head guard reacted by saying "Wow, that's amazing! How did they learn that?" and then he let us off the hook. An awesome video should be coming soon. And by soon, I mean not that soon.
4. Sleeping on the night train from Luxor to Cairo. It was fun, except for the part where we didn't actually sleep and it wasn't actually fun. And the bathrooms were really gross.
5. The Egypt museum. There's nothing quite like staring into the face of Rameses II. I loved the mummies the most, but the rest of the museum was amazing as well.
6. Shopping! That's a lie. Shopping was extremely stressful for me. I don't do well with people yelling at me from every direction and trying to convince me I want to buy their stuff. However, I had one delightful experience in the bazaar. In one of the shops, I found a ring that I really wanted to buy. The guy I was with wanted one for his girlfriend, and he bought one first for more than I wanted to pay. After my friend left, I turned to the shop owner and said, "I won't tell him if you give me a cheaper price." He insisted that no, the price is good for Americans. I smiled and asked Canadians get a better price. He gave me a big smile and pointed to his window where he had at least 6 Canada stickers. He told me about how much he loved Canada, made me take a picture with him in his shop, and then gave me a discount. I love Canada!
Welp, that about sums Egypt up. It's weird that Jerusalem now feels like home. The Jewish holiday of Sukkot just ended, so we got back in time to see a lot of cool things related to that. I'll save those stories for another time. Happy Sabbath!