Who Needs Paris When You
by Natasha Purington


In the summer of 1998, my mom, brother and I decided to venture to Africa and see what Egypt had to offer. I was really excited, remembering all that I had read of the country in history books, and I couldn’t wait to begin what was to be an amazing adventure. 

The Cairo airport is huge, which means a lot coming from a frequent flyer, and a little overwhelming with all the foreign languages plastered all over the walls, confusing the hell out of me. We quickly gathered our luggage and headed out the doors to a road full of awaiting taxi drivers. 

The first stop on our journey was the Great Pyramids. After watching NatGeo and seeing pictures of the pyramids, I had pretty high expectations, which were met immediately. In the midst of a small market with an Egyptian man trying to sell us some sketchy bottled water for a buck, the pyramids loomed grandiosely over the hustle and bustle. Of course they were eroded and chipped, but the beauty of their structure was undeniable. The inside was even more unbelievable. Before I say anything about the inside, let me just add that Egyptians must have been ridiculously skinny in order to fit through those hallways. And if you thought the heat and musky smell you experience in IV Theater is bad, try walking through the corridors of a structure with no windows, full of mummified corpses. Yes, who am I to be complaining? I was in an Egyptian pyramid, surrounded by bodies that have been preserved for thousands of years. Even with the lack of oxygen and adequate light, the architectural setup of the Giza was remarkable. Who knew that without cranes and caterpillars, humans could build such an exquisite structure? I wasn’t lucky enough to see any actual tombs, but being able to walk through the halls and corridors of buildings built way before the birth of “modern technology” was an experience that will be ingrained forever in my memory. 

After seeing the Great Pyramids and being bombarded by locals selling knickknacks, my family and I made our way to the Nile River.    We arrived at this enormous cruise ship appropriately named The Ritz. The ship reminded me vaguely of some mediocre imitation of the Titanic, but it was spacious enough for me to run around on, which suited my needs. It was a week long excursion down the Nile, which consisted of constant Kodak moments and hopes of seeing a crocodile attack some small naive creature. The first few days of the trip were extremely uneventful, but then I met Ahmed. To my knowledge, he was the same age as me, but he spoke not a word of English, and the only words I knew in Egyptian were “la” which meant “no” and “imshi” which translated to “go away.” Despite the language barrier, we bonded; we played cards, chess, and chased each other around the edge of the ship, while my brother was too busy fretting about accidentally dropping one of his shoes in the Nile. I did learn one last Egyptian word from Ahmed before exiting the ship and making my way back to the U.S., which was “habibi” or “sweetheart.” 

Years later I visited the beautiful Paris, France, but the romantic atmosphere in the air hardly compared to the picturesque feeling gliding down the Nile next to my Egyptian fling.