Thursday, November 11, 2010


Oh great, what am I supposed to do now?

Yes, I know there's still Medieval Cairo, the Egyptian Museum, Abu Simbel, the Temples of Karnak and the Valley of the Kings to tick off before I can say with any conscience that I've given Egypt more than a passing glance. But when you're standing in the shadow of the pyramids of Giza - 140m tall, 230m wide and 4,500 years old, their iconic image infiltrating countless aspects of your life since childhood - there's a small but nagging feeling that nothing else you ever see will quite live up to this experience.

Though that could just be the effect of residual cosmic energy emanating from the pyramidal vortices, I often get those feelings confused.

Not the end of the world

Fortunately, just before I threw myself under a camel, I remembered that the world doesn't end where my mental atlas drops off, and that there's plenty more to get excited about when I eventually reach those otherworldly continents of Africa, Asia and South America.

While tediously correct cartographers would point out that I've already skirted across the unfashionable western arm of Asia and am currently occupying the tip of Africa, in my mind it's all been one unbroken journey around the Mediterranean coast. Seeing these defining landmarks of Ancient Egypt feels like the logical conclusion of my backwards journey through Mediterranean history, from the Italian Renaissance to the Roman Empire, Ancient Greece and Bible country, right back to the cradle of civilisation.

Okay, so the Sumerians might have beaten the Egyptians by a few hundred years in that regard, but there's no way Iraq's letting me in with these Israel stamps. Even if the Sumerian creation myth of a god wanking the universe into being takes some beating.

There are 184 countries I haven't visited yet, and many of these seem so far removed from the world as I know it (Tibet? What's all that about?) that there'll probably be no room for comparisons.

And there's always outer space - I hear Cydonia is beautiful this time of year, when the iron oxide is in bloom. Though walking in space has got to be the ultimate enthusiasm killer, so maybe I'll save it til my bitter end.

More enthusiastic account of my trip to Giza, Memphis and Saqqara coming soon. With photos. It was ace!

Novel progress: 10,627 words (21%)

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