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Posted on May 8, 2013

RTW Travel Bucketlist #19: Best Friends and Egypt

RTW Travel Bucketlist #19: Best Friends and Egypt

 

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sunflowers, bubbles, sun, wind… feels like a best friend, no?

Throughout high school and well into adulthood, I had a best friend named Shelley. She was everything one could wish for in a best friend. She stole a full-size PC from the school newspaper office so I could finish a paper (pre us having a window-compatible computer at home), stayed all night playing Monopoly the night my baby brother was born, shared her lunch when mine sucked, and spent all weekend cramming into my brain half a semester worth of Chemistry that I was too busy mourning the love of my life leaving me to study. She loved me when I was shining, pitiful, shameless and shameful. We’d cruise through town in my 1977 Chrysler Cordoba screaming the lyrics to Jack and Diane full blast on homemade tapes, including those 80’s DJ’s interrupting the songs.

When Kobi and I were ice cream truck drivers at one of those turn-over-the-couch-cushions-to-find-enough-change-to-pay-the-rent stage, She got married. Since I could not afford buying a ticket to Israel, she bought one for me. “I can’t get married without you Gabi.” When she negotiated a day off a month, guess who drove 5 hours North to see little ole me that first Sunday of every month? You wouldn’t change this friend for nothin in the world.

When I was too pregnant to get up by myself with Baby Number 3, he banking job sent her to Egypt.

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This was after the Sunday visits stopped, after her divorce, after single momhood, but before her second marriage to the man she loved 15 years earlier. She brought me back this sleek black vase-shaped urn with an amazing perfume gel inside and a couple of gorgeous postcards of Egyptian art. Shelley is an artist, always has been, and was magnetized to anything creative in world travels and just walking down the street. She’s the type of person who stops to awe at light filtering behind clouds or a leaf laying on the sidewalk just so.

So, she goes to Egypt and fills my heart with amazing stories of camels, sand storms, and romantic little alleyways. She speaks of rough nomads with toothless huge smiles and mosque prayer chants blaring through too-large speakers. That twinkle in her eye, the sound of her voice describing that tiny cup of black coffee and that fruit vendor has stayed with me. As we continue to dream (always!) and fantasize about where else we’d love to go, I get Egypt.

Though I’ve been in the Sinai, this one super-touristy but still-very-Egyptian-styled strip open for Israelis, I want to go inland. Also, I don’t remember too much as I was too goo-goo-eyes-in-love-with-Kobi to notice things like scenery. Besides the library in Alexandria stood, King Tut’s grave, and just absorbing the land, its art, and it’s people, here are three things I’d love to check out:

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 The Pyramids

 

Duh! A trip to Egypt without visiting the legendary Pyramids is like  a trip to China without seeing the Great Wall.  And even though I’ve passed up some of the coolest wonders on this globe while I was ‘right there’, I think I’d have to hop just outside of of Cairo to see this. In Hebrew, we have some songs about Sharm el Sheikh, which is somewhere around there, so, I guess I’ll have to go there too.  Some take the one hour flight, other opt for the six+ hours bus ride. Either way, the Egyptian scenery and the chance at seeing Aladdin by the Sphynx will keep me going the whole way. 🙂

I totally used to fantasize for a love like Aladdin’s. “Do you trust me?” Oh. TMI. I know. Sorry. I’ll behave.

Visit Luxor

Another day trip, Luxor is around three hours from Hurghada and requires a drive through the desert and over the Nile to get there. The Nile! OMG! I know I will sweat and die of hear exhaustion but who cares, right? Luxor is home to amazing sights such as the Valley of Kings, where Pharaohs were buried alongside all of their personal belongings and a trillion servants (they came in alive I believe). The Colossi of Memnon, also so cool, are these imposing statues that mark the entrance to one of the great leader’s temples. You can usually plan these trips in advance but there are also other operators who offer more extensive packages

Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada in the Winter

Egypt is well-known for their amazing luxury hotels, which of lately we are getting a tiny whiff of, and loving. Most of these fine hotels are all inclusive, and have on-site facilities like swimming pools, restaurants, bars (which Kobi and I haven’t visited since Siem Reap when we were dancing at Temple Bar like crazy!). Some of the hotels have built-in shopping malls, and some (ready, ready, ready?) have lavish spas too. [Ok, I drool and you freak out in three, two, one….] The Kempinski Soma Bay which offers underwater massage has this aqua tonic pool and other treatments to keep you cool from the also-famous Egyptian heat. It’s located in the exclusive Soma Bay too, which is perfect if you’re considering a honeymoon or romantic break away from your three adorable children who will not go to sleep no matter how much you threaten. *cough*

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 Diving in the Red Sea

Israel shares the Dead Sea with Egypt. Now that Jaws is no longer an on-going threat for me,  and now that 4/5 of the family have been PADI Open Water Certified, we’re looking for more scuba and snorkeling everywhere we go. Seeing the beautiful array of Red Sea coral and fish would be unreal. It’s actually a relief to see that even if The Nomadic Family will not always be nomadic, there is the Red Sea for us to explore in Israel.  There are specialist dive schools like the Orca Dive Club who offer a more extensive range of activities for all five of us water-lovers.

Do you have a dream on your bucket list? We’ve got a year biking through Europe, Morocco, and a few others on our list. Do your kids sometimes not got to sleep and you know, you know, you know that though you’d miss them to death, sometimes, you wish you could go on a honeymoon vacation just you and your honey? Or just you with yourself?

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