Published: June 24th 2007June 24th 2007
I worked my last night but was graciously let off by 2am. Still plenty of time for fun. I made it out with friends and played witness to the same party, drunk scene for the last night. I sat, nestled sleepily on Angelo's shoulder, trying to be badass and pretend I could keep up. No chance. So I drank a beer and said my farewells. The very pretty Aussie who worked down the way approached me with a make-out offer on the beach. I paused, almost considering this, than... 1) "don't you have a girlfriend?" and 2) "Did you really just ask me to make out on the beach?" "What was your name again?" Quick realization that Greece is amazing-> in small doses and for the single drinking types, and if you have to have a great sense of humor Thank God I was leaving.
I left Santorini but not after a hard fought battle with the island. I literally had to overcome the relentless travel complications, Greek customs and bad luck bug. The place is all consuming and I never realized how so until I reached Athens. Upon arrival to Athens I took a deep sigh of
relief and regained a refreshed outlook. Just so you know Athens is probably the last place to find peace of mind but apparently I needed the hell off that island. I imagine it wasn't Santorini per say but rather the endless work, averaging 2 hours of sleep a night, uncompromising stress and failing health. Oh, and drinking.... lots of drinking. Working in a bar, you drink. Me, I liked Baileys... until I couldn't fit in my pants and wondered why. Oh, thats right. 1 oz of Baileys donates 117 calories to the daily intake, and 5g of fat. I researched it. Oh, hell no! I went to Santorini in hopes of healing and detox. Yeah right!
When leaving port a unique British chap by the name of Peter left me with the award winning compliment of the trip. I'm really proud of this one! We were discussing learning other languages and travel and such. I told him I didn't speak any other languages and he replies. "But Angel, you speak the language of Love, everyone in the world understands that."
I boarded my ferry, which after 2 tickets, 2 nights of disaster, more than enough $ lost, missing
one already and now barely making this one, I sat exhausted, basking in the glory of my epic battles won. Have you ever been on a ferry trip? I stopped myself today as the hundreds of tourists and travelers alike crammed into the ship as scary Greek men in uniform yell and forcefully guided us through the trenches of the ship. I said I stopped myself, well actually I caught myself laughing as I was about to let out a huge cattle style "mooooooooo" then realized no body would get the reference and think me crazy. I enjoyed feeling like cattle in a heard. The blending made me realize how we are all in the same boat. Great cliche huh? The 5 hour journey to Athens left me with a perma-grin all day. To my left sat a sparkly 8 year old greek girl. Beautiful. In front of me, a Swedish lovely, about 3, wide eyed and curious. Beautiful. To my right.... a stinky old man. Hahahha. so anyway the 3 of us began a beautiful interaction. sparkly would play with my hair and smile at the platinum color. She loved my angel oil soaked prayer beads so I wrapped
her wrist in them. Just like I wore em. Swedish smiles would giggle under her pacifier and point at every move I made towards sparkly so I would mirror my interactions towards her too. We would attempt a few words here and there but all of us just ended up smiling and gesturing as our words were futile. I dressed them in my few pieces of jewelry and shared the best ipod songs I had. Louis Armstrong, "love today" by mika and some happy disney songs I snuck on there before I departed. I left sparkly ordained in my sacred beads and Swedish smiles in sweet sleepy time. Then, echoed in my heart sang
"The language of Love, everyone in the world understands that."
That weird British chap obviously knew more than I gave him credit for. I thought him drunk, gross and old. It's amazing the places you find reflections of God. Today I am humbled.
Athens. June 19th-21st
As I geared thru Greek customs on my way to Cairo I found plenty of doubt. Unfortunate. Cause all I really wanted was the new hope of Egypt. "So miss Acee where are you traveling?"
7th wonder of the world
Okay, maybe it's number 3 but who's counting
shouts Greek custom agent
He looks down in doubt, (long pause...) "okay"
I didn't need his doubt, I knew I could handle anything at this point. I booked a random tour only hours before flying in so I had hopes that someone was waiting on me at the airport.
My start to Egypt began around midnight. Well it was supposed to, but my flight was delayed so I arrived to a smog bowl of a city around 3 am. At first sleepy glance I thought "What a pretty could." Oh no, that was a huge bubble of disgust that I was viewing from the plane. I'm not one to judge on first impressions. I continue on to Egyptian customs, find man holding a sign with my name. I knew everything was going to be fine. It's around 3:30 am, hundreds of people everywhere in the airport. I AM THE ONLY BLONDE GIRL IN SIGHT! I'm helped thru customs, to my private transport, and to the hotel. I thank God every 5 minutes for the guide because even with him by my side I am being lunged at, hissed, grabbed for, kisses, etc. I expected this but in no
way can I describe how bad it actually is here. For the first time in all my journey I was genuinely uncomfortable and scared. The taxi drove me thru the streets of Cairo, my first time in an Arabic country. The prayers were being projected by loud speaker at my welcome at 4am. This was very new to me and opened the doors to Muslim/Christian conversation with my driver. He asks me if its true that most American wives are stronger than their husbands???? I reply, I don't want to say stronger but America try's more so for egalitarian relationships. He replies something or other about strong men and having many wives, their place in the home, making babies. . .
"Oh, well I intend to have several husbands."
I don't think he knew I was joking.
Great intro into the culture
I find a bed at my hotel around 5 am but have to wake early for a tour of the pyramids, the Sphinx and the Egyptian Museum. Any hopes for sleep on this trip were destroyed in Amsterdam so I fuel up on the excitement of seeing one of the 7 wonders of the world and I'm
off. Okay, keep in mind no sleep, stressful travels, no real solution to my card yet and VERY foreign country here.
I arrive at the Great Pyramid, get quick rundown of history by tour guide and off she goes. "see you in 20 mins." I start off for some pictures. Sounds simple enough right??? I'm immediately approached. Let me say um, more like, Bombarded!
"lady." Laaaaaaddy." "Welcome Lady, where you from?" "Pretty eyes Lady, want a picture with my sexy camel?" I walk on saying No, Nooo. NO!!! Nothing really works. 10 minutes later imagine me, American blonde girl, being chased by 3 Egyptian men on camels. There is no exaggeration here! I'm literally running, falling over myself and the rocks from 3 men on camels. Luckily I snapped at least a few photos and struggled back to my tour guide. Jesus Christ Yall! My culture-shocked ass barrels thru the next few sights only to make it to my hotel, learning that I'm off in a few hours to catch the next train to Aswan. I have to make a phone call. Not a big deal, unless your an American blonde girl in Cairo. Courtesy of Rachel Strickland, I used
her advice on the "look like you just killed someone" trick. I walk just feet in front of my hotel, exhausted, stressed, wound tight and ready to snap. I fight every step to make it to the phone. I'm losing to the scary trashed roads, maniac drivers and threatening faces. Keep in mind my usual routine is arrive at new destination, wander streets, meet locals, check out grocery store. HELL NO! Not here. Not even wanting to leave my hotel. Even the front desk people look at me like they could cut my throat or worse. So I make it to the phone, find out my bastard of a phone card is out of minutes so it cuts me off from my very important phone call. I Snap!
These fuckers won't leave me alone, I cower in the corner of my booth and simply start screaming. I do this partially cause I've lost it and partially so they will leave me alone. Not a chance. I run, literally run back to my hotel and cry.
I felt much better after the cry. Next came enlightenment. At that odd moment, I paralleled my journey to that in "The Alchemist" and
felt absolutely invincible. Feeling one step closer to Superhero status I walk my confident, strong, empowered ass to the grocery store, buy dinner and off to a 12 hour ghetto-fabulous train ride to Aswan. Which by the way, when your escorted by a 21 year old Egyptian boy who'll I'll call my bodygaurd, and you try to tip them... When they ask for a kiss instead... Just look at them with the "I'll kill you look." Okay?
I sleep for the entirety of the trip, meet my new husband and checked into hotel. Richard shared the seat next to me, an English chap, solo traveler and on holiday. we didn't talk much on the trip but I shared my dates with him. I didn't get to know him really until after I saw him checking into the same hotel as me. He did his day tour and I outed on my private one. We met up after my tour of Aswan. All and all I got to see the Aswan High Dam (What did the fish say when he hit the brick wall?) Oh my Gawd!! Hahhaha so funny! Okay... and the beautiful Phele Temple, dedicated to Isis. Which
in honor of Isis and Osiris and there love the nice Egyptian tour Guide asked to make out in the temple. Unfortunately I had 2 more hours with him, no other travelers and the temple was on a secluded island. I broke in the "I just killed a bitch look" and he left me alone. I opted out of the tour early (obvious good decision) and caught a Siesta. Richard met me around 5 so. I hooked him up with a frappe and we caught the sunset over the Nile River. I was wanting to swim but something about crocodiles and being eatin' alive.. I'll pass.
RIchard and I were buddies and we reeked of tourist, alas there was no getting past that. The harassment was beyond painful. You couldn't carry on a conversation more than 30 sec. without being approached. You were followed into restrooms and small children would grab onto you. "Welcome pretty lady, you spend your money here!" My favorite of all was when a boy around 10 years old came up to my side.
"Fuck you lady, fuck you. Welcome, fuck you... you buy! Fuck you!"
Acee--->"Excuse me? Oh Fuck You very Much, no, Fuck
My Cairo hotel
I was staying in the nice area
you too" (big smiles here)
On to me actually wanting to shop. HA! I decided to embrace it all. Richard became my adopted husband which consequently did nothing for the harassment.
"How many Camels?"
Just in case you were wondering "How many camels" is asking how many camels to purchase me. I'd say I'm worth at least 500 or so.
I end up having a blast in the streets of Aswan, smelling the delicious spices, being dressed up in authentic Egyptian garb, drinking fresh papaya juice with Richard and calling it a night. Next I was off to days on a Felucca for a Nile river Adventure.
Whew! Wipe that 100 degree heat from my forehead!
Creatures of Comfort beware! I boarded the Felucca at 9am where I caught first glimpse of my home for the next 2 days. A small sailboat looking contraption that held about 10 people. No toilets or such just a sail and a flat sheltered area for sleeping. I was thrilled about all this cause I so desired an out of city experience. We started our day on a tour of the Botanical Gardens, Oh thank God. I napped till
Authentic "kill a bitch" look
Self-photo was for the reality of where I was at. This is moments after fleeing the phonebooth!
around noon where the 2 Argentinean boys, around 28 years old and the younger American couple boarded for the day. Off we went, sailing the Nile for hours, doing everything I had hopped for. Nothing. We park our midget of a boat on the banks of a Nubian village. I take a lovely opportunity to bathe in the Nile. Fuck you Mr. Crocodile! Your not gonna stop me... for long. My hours on the Felucca left me with few options and one of which was reading. I finally opened an Egypt tour book. wheras it told me: 1) Don't swim in the Nile! and 2) Don't drink the tap water! I realized since I had accomplished both of these successfully, or rather without dying, that it meant one of two things. I had either reached superhero status or was the next victim of natural selection. After gallons of Egyptian tap water I would say I might as well be swimming in the pool of idiocricay. You decide. Later in the evening our Nubian guides cook us an amazing feast we eat with our hands. Pass around the Sheesha. (marijuana yall) and just wait... I should of guessed as much when
I just found out I would be spending the next 12 hours on a ghetto train with no sleeper
I arrived to a ship decked out in Bob Marley flags. I pass on the offer but not the rest of the crew. So half the tribe joins the tiny ship, break out the drums. Oh sweet! The next few hours turned into an all-out, authentic Nubian Drum-fest with me and Norah, the other American girl, dancing the night away on the deck of the Felucca. I was given a new Nubian name, Aziza, I like. This was Tribal intensity at its best and a much needed release for me. While the moon began its decent home we all crowded into our makeshift bed. I was the first to fall asleep, only to awake to Argentinean boy with hand on leg. Okay, not much room to move anywhere here so I gracefully hide, fully submerged into my sleep sack and back off to sleep. Warning to all. This next event was quite the tummy turner. I have been beyond exhausted recently and because of Greece, sleeping 10-12 hours a day. I was zombie worthy on this trip and failed to awake when Nubian monster/tourguide decided to make his way (Very Intrusively and forcefully) onto my crotch!!! I awake abruptly, finally
realizing I was being molested by this dirty asshole. He jumps, lightening quick back to his sleeping position. I, near vomiting, squirm my way between the 2 Argentinean boys. I figure them a little less harmful. I was wrong. There was no escaping the sexual prowess of this trip but my boat has been literally and metaphorically rocked.
The next day leaves me dirty and disgusting, again, literally and metaphorically. Say goodbye to Argentinean boys (Thank God) and the American couple and I take off for village where we are invited for a feast. When the tribe offers food you have to eat it.. Damnit. So I have ate myself sick this trip. Great food and the experience is not worth missing. Now the fun part, me and Norah are taken to private home where our bodies are ordained with henna. This time alone, sitting on a hut floor, holding a beauty of a Nubian baby, painting my body, no men in sight, --> Worth It!!! There was a little lovely of a Nubian girl who played with me for what seemed like hours. Oh the sweetness of her innocence and smile! Then she asked me for money. I asked
for authenticity. Goddamn did I get it.
I trekked the dirt road with my pack after bidding a VERY fond farewell to the Fucking Felucca. My face, hands and ankles decorated intricately in patterns of henna and mosquito bites. Is Malaria a problem in Africa? I rode solo in the back of a rickshaw monstrosity while breathing in the fresh gasoline and clouds of dirt and pollution. I have decided that you could dip me in a bat of toxic waste at this point and I could walk it off. So off through the scums of poverty and shanty towns. I have to say this was amazing for me in every way. I thought about the reality of this situation. Me, traveling alone, leaving my life up to the next Egyptian stranger after the next. Jumping in cars and trains and rickshaws, not having a clue who these people are and most the time having no clue where I was going. Those were the times I was glad to be alone and void of great criticism for my carelessness. Truth be told, I know if and when i am in danger. I have been permanently uncomfortable in
This is the fruit stand
Egypt. If I have I felt in danger, I know when to run. Anyway, I ended up in Edfu visiting the well-preserved temple dedicated to Horus the Falcon God. Then on to Luxor. A casual, police escorted convoy was my choice means of transportation. Gots to love me some men with machine guns. Arrive Luxor. More importantly, arrive at a hotel with a shower. It had been 3 days since I saw one of these. You would be amazed the amount of sweat produced by 100 degree temps. Okay, you might not be too shocked here but the point is, I was Naaaaaaaaassssty!! Visit Luxor Temple and Karnak Temple.
-Second try for redemption
An exhausted Acee made her way back to hotel around sunset. After closing the door a Godsend of a pamphlet drew my attention. Massage-1hr-$30. I called almost instantly knowing I was in dire need of some relaxation. Call front desk. Adamant request for female therapist. "yes, yes, at room in 30 min" I was already feeling the wave of relaxation take hold. Knock on door... I answer to younger Egyptian man holding small bottle of baby oil. !!! fucking foh2@#$%^sojs[dfoi shit ass damn, mother of a
sonofabitch!!!! Arrrrrrrrrghhhhh. I think to myself. Optimism christy, just be optimistic. Breath. The massage began as the best and worst massage ever. By far the physical touch was needed but in no way did this man have a clue. He spoke no english and stood in my hotel room waiting for me to undress and get on the bed. Took me a while to figure this one out. I'm not modest but Egypt has given me a thick film of "cold-hearted-bitch." I head to bathroom, undress, wrap myself in a towel and modestly make my way to bed. All and all things are going okay other than the drenching of baby oil and unconscious, thoughtless touch. I point to the places that hurt (everywhere) and instruct him how to massage. I think he should have payed me! but whatever. I point at my lower back, next thing I know I'm butt-ass naked on my makeshift massage table. Sooooo, relaxing is obviously out of the question. I cinch my legs tight where he begins to pry them apart. I say no, gather my covers and whatever's left of my dignity. All of a sudden he knows some english and asks "Breast
massage?" Huge Sigh and crash into burning flames here. With a defeated and helpless "no" I say thank you and he leaves. As I'm cleaning myself of the slimy thought of him touching me and now the added bonus of baby oil I receive phone call. It's the front desk wanting their money. "yes, I'm coming, let me get dressed.." I arrive 5 minutes later to hotel ass telling me I owe $40 cause the massage fake went longer than an hour. I asked him how I was supposed to know and if it was my responsibility to watch the time? Futile arguments. But NO!!! I'm not gonna take this shit. I argue till I win the battle over 10 measly dollars. This is all on principal now. Afterwards I sit Nile side to try some yummy sweet something or other to distract myself but only to have waiter haggle me for date. As I sat, defeated, I knew this Egypt trip had revealed to be one of the truer tests of my journey. In defeat I am constantly finding the endless supply of hope that exists in me. Thank God for that bottomless well of love and light. Today.
Today is a day I am thankful for.
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