Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Passing Out in Eilat

I'm in Israel, I'm sick, and I passed out at the bus station at the border town Eilat. This is supposed to be a life changing experience and so far I've been mostly sick. What is it about Egypt that has made me so ill? I didn't drink the water!

I'm going back to bed.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Letting it all sink in

Yesterday...Thursday, July 12th was by far the best day I have had in Egypt. First things first, I slept in.
I finally made it to the Egypt museum yesterday. I don't know why it took me so long as it is very near by, but I went and the place is ENORMOUS and overwhelming, but in a good way. The first thing we saw was all of King Tut's treasures. The thing about King Tut is that he only ruled for a max of 2 years and was about 19 or 20 when he died and his tomb is one of the smallest in the Valley of the Kings. But seeing all the treasure made me wonder what Ramses II tomb must have had it in because Tut's collection was massive for a person who ruled for so little time.
And I saw mummies! WOW! I saw Ramses II with his gray hair still attached to his scalp. We've been going to see all these tombs and monuments, but seeing these men and women for which these things were made brought everything together. I was staring down into Ramses eyes and thinking....Oh my goodness, I'm looking at a man that lived 4000 years ago. Here is a man, a KING, that lived when civilization was a relatively new thing. I was awestruck. Men that prepared their whole lives for an afterlife to be with their god. It's awesome because we as humans still do it. My life is just a preparation for the afterlife with God. It's amazing how the human spirit remains steadfast and dedicated to the love of God. I know that the ancient Egyptians were polytheistic, but they believed in a God (Ra) that created the earth. The sun god which sustains life and makes it possible for life at all. Don't we as Muslims, Jews and Christians still look for God in the heavens. I don't think we are that much different. We have faith in a God that is omnipotent, just like the Egyptians. I think Ra is very much the same God that we worship today. It's plausible.
Okay, and then after that Annie, Blanca and I took a camel ride out near the pyramids to watch the sunset over the Sahara. It was even better than watching the sunset at the beach. So awesome and I don't mean awesome as in wow cool, but AWE inspiring. The sun still sets in the west as it did billions of years ago. But the best part was this, riding back to the camel stables! Right after the sun set, the entire city of Cairo was called to prayer by thousands of mosques. Allllllaaaahhhhuuu-Akbaru. (Allah Al-Kbar) God is the greatest! I felt God yesterday like I've never felt Him before. God is the Greatest. Like I said before, He is present, it is undeniable. As I sat atop my camel I thanked God for the life that he has given me and for the opportunity he has given me to make a difference in this world. In my life I may never achieve HUGE great things, but every thing I do will benefit the world I live in. That's what is most important I think.
And then later, we went out dancing with some guys that we met here at the hotel and had a blast. Sometimes I just like to break it down.
But that's it for today. I'll write again when I feel inspired.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Walk Like an Egyptian

Salaam from balmy Cairo!

I've been thinking that I haven't really kept my end of the bargain with this whole blog thing, so now I will. I've been in Cairo for nearly two weeks and I've had an interesting ride.
The first night that I arrived, my baggage was lost and I didn't get it for 5 days. I was seriously at my wit's end and had a breakdown in my room about it. Luckily God works in small ways and has lent me a helping hand in more than one way. First of all, He sent me Robert Berg. I don't know what I would have done without him. He stopped me at customs at the Cairo airport and we got to talking and come to find out he went to UMKC and knows Dr. Klausner. If you don't know who she is, she is the professor that introduced me to the Middle lectures anyway. On my third day, Atef (the hostel manager) told me that two American girls had just arrived from Israel to study at the same language center. I was so worried about taking a taxi the next morning that their arrival softened the nervous anticipation. On the second day of school my luggage arrived and I had excellent clothes to wear! I went thrift store shopping by golly!!! (old man slang today...yup)

And now the way exciting stuff. Last thursday, me and the girls from class went on a tour to the pyramids. The day was excruciatingly hot and I saw them mostly from the viewfinder of a camera. When we were in the Temple of Mummification that leads to Kefren's sphinx and pyramid I put my hand on granite that had been worked and moved by ancient peoples. How amazing. It didn't really hit me until last night. As I lay in bed I kept God, I am in Egypt. I went to the pyramids, I touched these things. How awesome. They are so majestic and what is bewildering is that they are SO old and yet still standing. I can't believe how great it is to feel this close to the beginnings of civilization. Wow!
This weekend will probably prove to be just as exciting. We are going to Luxor and Thebes. We will see the Valley of the Kings where King Ramses and King Tut were buried. We will also be visiting the Valley of the Queens where Queen Hatseptshut was buried. By the way, did everybody hear that they just discovered which mummy she is. Fantastic!!!
An my Arabic class is going great as well and I've met so many interesting people from all over the world. I may not become fluent on this trip, but I sure as heck have learned a great deal. I feel enriched.
I'll end on this note...and I'll update again soon. Oh, I apologize for the lack of pictures. The internet connection here is super slow and uploading pictures is time consuming.
Love to all!