Once upon a time before the hectic political problems and warnings against traveling to Egypt there was an unsuspecting intern planning her trip to see the Great Pyramids of Giza…
In your internship you don’t choose when you want leave you get given specific times to take leave. My leave was for 2 weeks in August that year (2010). It wasn’t bad timing because it gave me a break from the torture of Pelonomi Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Marc had to work during that time though so we couldn’t do anything together. Luckily one of my good girlfriends, Elri, could take leave during that time so we decided to go somewhere different….Egypt. I was not aware of Marc’s sneaky plan which he got Elri to play along with.
“الناس، مرحبا بكم في مصر للطيران، ونحن سوف تطير في الهواء، وسوف يكون هناك لا ضجيج ولا كحول”
… Anounced the piolet of our Egypt Air Flight. I think he also spoke in english afterwards but with such an accent that I didn’t understand a word! I saw the other passengers didn’t look startled so we were probably not being hijacked. When I built up the courage to ask the not-so-friendly-looking male flight attendant for some water he bought me a shot-glass with a few drops of water. At least I could wet my tongue a bit. (Go to Translate.google.com and type “Welcome to Egypt Air” and hear how it sounds in Arabic. If you are not used to it it’s pretty scary.)
If I had to choose a colour to describe Egypt it would be grey. The airport is very dull and none of the houses seemed painted. The Egyptians I met weren’t too friendly either. Our tour guide, Romany, was awesome though and his friendliness and excitement made up for the rest of the country’s dullness. Maybe they just show their happiness in a different way to what I am used to or maybe they were a bit grumpy because it was Ramadan. It was also very, very hot!
Elri and I had DMCs (deep, meaningful conversations) and made friends with the rest of our tour group. Almost half of us were doctors! You go on holiday to get away from them just to be surrounded by more of them! Elri never mentioned a word about Marc’s plans.
We went hot air-ballooning over the Valley of the Kings in Luxor. It was nerve-wrecking but an amazing experience! There have been a few accidents there- but luckily I didn’t hear about them before the ride. The statues of Ramessess the Great at Abu Simbel was unbelievable. The history of ancient Egypt is so fascinating! That is what makes the place so interesting. It was good to have a tour guide because otherwise we would have missed a lot of the meaning. We slept on a felucca(a traditional egyptian sailboat) on the Nile river. We saw Tutankhamun’s treasures, many mosques, ancient ruins and temples. It was quite amazing to see an ancient temple next to a modern church- the temple is just a few meters below the ground level of the church because it was forgotten about and buried under modern apartments. The Spinx Alley which runs between Karnak and Luxor temples was also only recently rediscovered and has so an interesting story.
Egypt’s history is mind-boggeling. The ancient Egyptians were quite an impressive civilization with so many treasures and hidden secrets… But there was a secret suprize awaiting me as well…
The morning we were going to the Great pyramids and Sphinx (the obvious highlight of our trip), Romany phones our room and tells me I have won a prize from the airport and to collect it I should come to the hotel’s lobby. Confused and with wet hair I did as he suggested. Have I mentioned Egypt is really, really hot? There, in the lobby, was a guy with a thick beard, khaki shorts and a fisherman’s hat. He resembled Marc. I thought I might be hallucinating from the heat so I just stood there and looked at this man who looked like my boyfriend. Romany, probably feeling a bit nervous for Marc, broke the silence with a friendly “Aren’t you gonna give him a kiss?”.
Why was Marc here? And is it really him? I didn’t want to go kissing another man. I did a few reality checks and Elri could also see him so I wasn’t going mad. I can’t believe Elri knew the whole time and kept the secret!
Marc joined our tour group to see Cairo’s oldest pyramid, Saqqara. We then all went to the famous Pyramids of Giza. They are huge! One of the bricks is almost as big as me. We also road on the back of a camel. At the Sphinx you can see all three pyramids from a particular spot. It was there that Marc got on his knee and asked me: “Will you marry me?”
“Of coarse I will!!!” That was one of thee most exciting days of my life!
Marc joined us for a typical egyptian meal and a dip in the hotel’s pool. That same day he flew back to South Africa! He was in Egypt for 8 hours! Wow! What an awesome surprise!