Me not smiling at the Great Pyramid

Me not smiling at the Great Pyramid

The Giza Plateau is where my quest began. Well, not this exact spot, but the pyramids are right up there. First of all (and off topic a bit), like most tourists, I’m trying to fathom what in the heck this building behind me is all about. My husband, John, takes the photo. It’s supposed to be the photo for my book cover…for the book I hope to write. We have neither tripod nor technique. Almost everything we do is by the seat of our pants; Egypt seems to lend itself (almost conspiratorially) to our project.

So this picture is one of those quickly taken ones. I had a great idea and hoped it would work. A one-off thing we’ve all tried. As hokey as it now sounds, when we took that photo, I wanted the sun to be just over my shoulder and coming out the top of the pyramid. But the day turned overcast and gloomy. “It’s hardly ever like this in Cairo,” I complained. We had time for just a couple photos because a sandstorm had suddenly whipped up. The Giza Plateau was nearly empty by 6 P.M. and time for the camels to head home for their evening meal when we got the picture.

“Just get the picture! I need this for the cover!”

“Smile,” my husband replied.

“But I don’t feel like smiling. This is supposed to be a serious cover. Take the photo!” We could both see a nasty storm building. ”We’ve got to go!”

My husband's better shot

My husband’s better shot

All the while, I was thinking about the ancient religions of Egypt. What was the meaning of the Great Pyramid? It’s so impressive; it’s got to be something more than a tomb. “The millennium is soon to arrive,” I was telling myself, “and with it, maybe a time for understanding between religions? But how does one put that together?”

By that time, we’d taken exactly two pictures. One of me with a smile, the other without. The camels were on a fast trot toward home and my eyes were squinting as the wind and sand began to sting. The Giza Plateau was startlingly empty, except for our silhouetted figures against the ruddy sky. We were late and the last tourists to reach the camels’ stables. It was an exhilarating ride on the windswept plain of Giza. The sky turned a dusty beige-rouge, and I could hardly see because sand was blowing everywhere, and stuck especially between my eyelashes and my teeth. But we were invigorated and laughing.

Our camels scurried off to their evening meal. And me, I was truly amazed by the many things that Egypt ignites, fascinating my mind and my soul.

P.S. The shot of me smiling turned out much better…my husband was right!