The Best Drivers in the World
There is no way to accurately convey the things that we have seen over the past few days succinctly. I will do the level best I can to hit the highlights and ask your imagination to fill in the blanks.
I am writing this right now overlooking the Mediterranean from a beach in Tel Aviv.
We flew from Cairo to Amman Jordan because Israel and Egypt don’t play nice together. Then from Amman to Tel Aviv. It was late when we got in but we were both starving. So we walked down to a restaurant on the beach and had some sea bass at 11:30 at night.
That meant we had lunch on a boat floating on the Nile in Egypt and dinner on the Mediterranean in Israel. But I’m ahead of myself
For 3 days we traveled with our guide, Assem, to a variety of sites around Egypt, some very well known and some that were so obscure there were no people there, literally.
A quick dialog on the driving in Cairo. In the week that we were there, I saw exactly one stoplight and it wasn’t working. Turn indicators are simply wasted electronics on cars there. When people honk their horn (almost constantly) they are not complaining that they cut you off, they are warning you that they are getting ready to cut you off.
Assem is convinced that Egyptians are the best drivers in the world because they have to be constantly alert for anyone from any direction doing something crazy.
All I know is very few of the cars were without some kind of damage and and it was much more akin to chaos than control.
When we started the pyramid tour it began with the oldest pyramid, the Step Pyramid. It is the first structure, surviving, that man created. 4500 years old, give or take. 2500 years BEFORE Christ. Amazing.
We were treated to the inside of several tombs of some minor officials. These walls were filled from floor to ceiling with intricate low relief hieroglyphics. I was astonished at how many there were. Some even still had the paint on them from 4.5 millennia ago.
Assem spoke out loud what I was already thinking; if this is what they did for the minor folks, just think what they did for the pharos.
Then we were on to the Great Pyramids of Giza including a camel ride there, and the Sphinx.
Our guide has a degree in Egyptology and a passion for what we were looking at, in some places it bordered on reverence. We loved it!
Knowing we were Christians, he would enthusiastically connect what we were looking at to stories from the Bible for us including Josephs brothers throwing him in the well and selling him into slavery in Egypt as well as the Flight to Egypt by Joseph, Mary and Jesus.
By far our favorite place though was when we traveled down (North) to lower Egypt (closer to the Mediterranean) to the land of Goshen.
For reasons that are somewhat unclear a couple of things transpired:
First of all we were met at our hotel with an armed guard who would ride with us all day. Then when we got to the beginning of the state where Goshen was we were met by 2 vehicles with 4 more armed guards each that escorted us front and back all the way to 2 different archeological sites, several hours of driving.
Assem was laughing at the overkill and said nothing EVER happened here, it’s just the state doesn’t get many tourists here and the police are bored. But Assem did have to file our travel plans several days in advance, hmmmm.
The highlight of the day came when Cynthia was able to read from the book of Exodus the story of Pharaoh telling Moses to GO! We were absolutely the only people besides the guards that were there at the brink of where the story of wondering and reconciliation began. Assem said this was the spot, they know for sure this is where the Israelites lived and where they left from.
He and I listened with rapt attention enjoying the idea that we were on the very spot. Did I mention that Assem was a Muslim?
It was very powerful.
He asked many questions and even bought a book when we were at the Coptic church that was full of illustrated stories from the Old AND New Testament.
I was stuck by the way we saw how God worked both in a population and a person.
I was worried that this was going to get long and it has.
Just know that God is at work as powerfully now as he was 3500 years ago. Be watchful.
More from the Israel portion later.
Got the stupid pictures to load (finally!)
View from our Hotel
7500 Egyptians worshiping Jesus
Fooling around on Camels
Safest people in Goshen