From the Melanin Man:
In my case, traveling to Egypt was the most appropriate way to end the 2010 decade. But it was unexpected just as much as it was unsurprising.
My dear friend and mentor, also the man who hired me fresh out of college almost ten years ago, asked only seven months ago if I was game to go to Egypt during the Christmas holiday. My affinity for the Christmas charade has diminished tremendously over the last four years since I began fully embracing my dark side (lol!) and I’ve written about that fact before on this very blog once before. I’d sometimes dream of the opportunity of disappearing during this time of the year, to actually do something I enjoyed besides throwing my money away in the name of American capitalism veiled as the Christmas spirit. But there is a benefit in spending time with the people you love and care for, even if the occasion is based off propaganda. Add in the fact that I descend from Black greatness and I’d be surrounded by Blackness even if it is comatose Blackness and anything and everything we put our energy towards we make it valid, regardless of if it’s bullshit or not, because we are THE ONLY TRUE SOUL BEINGS ON EARTH and we have the element (MELANIN) that is genesis of ALL CREATION and so forth and so forth….
Excuse my rambling, but you get the picture.
Yet, I wanted to be away from the madness just once. I wanted to see what it felt like to break from the norm physically, as I had already done mentally and spiritually. When my mentor presented the opportunity to me, I jumped on it. I was leaving my wife and two daughters, my mom and my in-laws (not such a bad thing lol), aunts and uncles and cousins behind during Christmas for the first time. I was breaking tradition for the first time in my 33 and a half years of existence.
And I was excited!!!
Besides Canada and the Bahamas, I had never been outside of the USA in such a capacity so far away from home. The longest flight I had ever been on was a two and a half maybe three hour flight from Atlanta to Denver. The fourteen (!!!) hour trek from Atlanta to Cairo easily beat that time five times over. And I would recommend to anyone that if you are traveling internationally, invest a little more money and upgrade to business or first class. Traveling economy internationally is asking to be shipped like a canned sardine. When we finally reached Cairo, I felt like I had earned some kind of badge of honor to withstand such a uncomfortable predicament for such a long period of time. The very thought of the plane ride to and from Egypt gives me nightmares. I did not even mention the invasive security procedures one has to endure checking in and out of the airport while flying internationally, the constant checking of the passport and boarding pass every step you take in the airport terminal as if someone hijacked your identity within the HALF STEP you took between checkpoints…AHHHHHH!!!
Redundancy kills a man’s spirit.
(I recall a certain episode from the classic animated show Boondocks where Granddad almost loses his shit as he repetitively goes through airport security for a trip to Costa Rica. Rest in power, John Witherspoon!!!)
In spite of the exasperation we endured throughout traveling endeavors, my mentor and I embarked on a thirteen day excursion throughout the Nile River basin that began with a initial two-night stop in Cairo with visits to the ancient ruins of Memphis and the Great Pyramids of Giza, as well as a visit to a carpet school where we had the opportunity to witness local Egyptian families hand-making cotton and silk rugs.
Side note: Let me go back and discuss the interworkings of Cairo traffic when we first arrived. Words cannot describe the chaotic nature of traffic in the Cairo metropolitan region. There are no such thing as lanes or the respect for them, as motorists maneuver within mere inches of each other and horns are constantly being blown yet not maliciously. Motorcyclists weave through the streets, carrying one maybe more riders and/or big crates of produce, without a worry that they could get smashed between the smorgasbord of moving vehicles. And I could probably count on one hand how many traffic lights I saw. Even more amazing is that I did not see one wreck nor did I see a traffic cop giving tickets; you can’t go five miles down the street in Atlanta metro without seeing one if not both of these situations occurring. In Cairo traffic I saw a high IQ symbiotic organism that would baffle and your average run-of-the-mill American. For perspective, Atlanta metro fits between 6-6.5 million people in 8,374 square miles (land area comparable to Massachusetts!) whereas Cairo metro fits 22 million people in only 660 square miles (holy shit!!) And yet I witness more synergy in Cairo than I ever had anyone else I have been in my life. I realize just how much coddled and oppressed we are here in the States.
Speaking of the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx, they are really a site to behold. I’m under the belief that ordinary human ingenuity was not behind their construction. I don’t even think modern technology could shape the stone blocks that comprise the pyramids to such precision that to this day it looks smooth and clean. The craftsmanship is unparalleled; from an engineering perspective I understand why it is close to impossible to duplicate them today. It would take hundreds, maybe thousands of years to do so. The making of the cotton and silk rugs was a site to behold as well.
The carpet schools mostly use local families (mother, father, children included) to make their carpets; each family works on their own rug, which depending on the size and design can take three to five months to complete ONE rug. The rug makers have such photographic memory that they can take one look at the rug and get right to work. To see young kids, who were smiling as they worked, assisting in the creation of the rugs was groundbreaking. I didn’t sense a sweat shop operation whatsoever (although they could’ve been fronting for the tourists), it seemed like the workers took pride in their craft. That touched my heart so much so that I purchased a rug a tad bigger that a welcome mat for a price north of $350. I wasn’t expecting that at all, but they got to me.
After our initial stay in Cairo, we took a one-hour flight to Luxor where we were to board for our 7-day cruise down the Nile River.
1. The only consistent green fertile land in Egypt is along the Nile River Basin. The rest of Egypt consist of desert and the occasional oasis.
2. 90% of the population of Egypt live along the Nile River Basin, which is where most of the major cities in Egypt are.
3. Over 60% of the 105 million Egyptian population is under the age of THIRTY!!!
4. For those of you who don’t already know, North Egypt is Lower Egypt and South Egypt is Upper Egypt. The Nile River, which starts at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro, flows downhill north into the Mediterranean Sea.
Before we left Luxor to sail down (up!) the Nile River, we made visits to the temples of Karnak, Luxor, Dendera, and the Luxor Museum. The temples were just as extraordinary as the pyramids. Hieroglyphics and various pictures were imprinted on EVERY stone wall (which is limestone) and pillar, which were the tallest and magnificent pillars I’ve ever seen in person, of each temple.
There were mini sphinxes at each temple as well at Karnak Temple; some of the sphinxes donned ram heads instead of human.
The statues of the Pharaohs at the Luxor Temple were absolutely stunning and mind-blowing; they would put the Lincoln Memorial to shame as they appeared to be at least twice its size.
As you noticed in the pictures, there were numerous obelisks (expression of the male principle, “The Big Dick”) at the Karnak and Luxor temples, made of limestone and covered with hieroglyphics, which would put the obelisk in Washington D.C. to shame (which of course the USA stole that from Kemet.) The obelisk in D.C. is taller (which esoterically symbolizes the insecurity of the Caucasoid) yet hollow (which also esoterically symbolizes its valueless-ness.)
It may have been that I was still recovering from jet lag and adjusting to the seven-hour time difference, but the Temple of Dendera was probably the most exhaustive, intense, and impressive temple concerning the amount of hieroglyphics and pictures displayed on the walls, pillars, and even the ceilings which had to be well over 50 feet high with such detail and preciseness.
The temple also contained the Zodiac calendar, which was partially burned in the past by squatter locals who were cooking inside the temple.
The visit to the Luxor Museum was relieving on so many levels. To see so many statues and figures that looked like me and the people of my kind that decended from greatness gave me satisfaction that I can’t describe with inferior language.
More to come….
Peace and Love to my melanated family,
The Melanin Man