Last night at dinner, Granuaile said, I’d like to visit the Land of the Dead. She’s precocious, but still far too young to be going through some angsty Twilight phase, so the Cap’n and I, in the level of discourse she’s come to expect from us, said, Huh? and blinked at her. Like Skippyjon Jones—I want to see those triangle buildings and the mummies. I want to go to Egypt.
You realize it’s very hot there, I said gently. Yes, she said. I like it hot. I’d like to go back to Iceland when it’s hot.
I saw the Cap’n preparing to launch into a discussion of climate-change events and basic lattitude, and cut him off before he could digress. Egypt? I said. We could consider Egypt. What’s near Egypt? Is Turkey near Egypt? The Cap’n, unable to resist the geography bait, ran for the atlas. He started finger-measuring the Middle East, estimating mileage, checking nearby borders.
We could see the Sphinx, the Cap’n said, and G immediately wanted to know all about it. We explained about the mythological creature, her riddle, how she ate travelers who couldn’t answer it, and suddenly the Cap’n was brushing parmesan cheese off the center of the table so he could plunk the laptop down where we could all see. We pulled up the Wikipedia article and learned that the Sphinx can be male or female, that it originated in Egypt but the Greeks borrowed and improved upon it, and we found a bunch of pictures of temples, the Nile Delta, and lots of the pyramids and Sphinx (all of which appear to be nicely lit at night).
And that is how we spent the rest of the evening, oohing over photos, wondering about itineraries, talking about Greece, Turkey, Israel, and Jordan. The next day, G told our sitter, the mail carrier, and the lady across the street that we were going to Egypt. Her Critters sailed up the Nile in a pirate ship, where–according to her–a little boy who looked like a cat threatened to eat them unless G could answer his riddle. Do you know the answer? we asked her. The Land of the Dead, she crowed, proud to have saved her boatful of kitties and bunnies from certain death.
The sitter put the Wee Boatswain into my arms. I think he’s ready to eat. And just a warning–I already changed him, but…he really sphinx.
This is how a trip starts for us, with a funny kernel of a plan, a random suggestion, a well, why not? This is clearly not for this year–certainly not until the WB consistently sleeps through the night and is down to no more than two naps per day. And G’s interests will change a zillion times between now and then, finances and vacation time is a factor, yada yada…
But what do you think, Gentle Reader? Do you know anyone who has been to Egypt, especially independent travelers (and not those on a tour) and families (rather than single, 20-something backpackers)? What are the “must do’s” that don’t involve camel photo ops? Is it worth braving sunburn and months and months of Sphinx puns?