In our very first meeting, the tour guide for the Egypt trek nicknamed the participants “Habu.” In Arabic, “Habu” means the “glory.” After the trip, all agreed that it was a glorious journey indeed.
On the first night, the Habu gathered in Cairo and ate at Sequoia, a trendy Miami beach-style restaurant. As everyone would soon learn, the trek would proceed at lightening speed and this relaxed night on the Nile was a little misleading.
Early the next morning we boarded a coach and headed to the crystal-clear waters and colorful reefs of Sharm el-Sheikh. Taking in the starboard view of the picturesque coastline, some felt nirvana could be reached if Sharm were only 10 degrees warmer. Unfortunately, it was not 10 degrees warmer and snorkeling Habu emerged from the water desperately searching for towels and sunshine.
The next morning we traveled by chartered plane to Luxor, home to the Valley of the Kings, the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, the two colossi of Memnon, and numerous other awe-inspiring tributes to the ancient Thebes. Next, we boarded a cruise ship and headed down the Nile River. Habu entered the new year rejoicing in new friendships and dancing to a mix of traditional Egyptian music and American hip-hop. The next morning was a turning point. Suddenly, our lack of sleep became apparent and the journey accelerated to a whirlwind.
We sailed from Edfu Temple to Kom-Ombo to Aswan within the next two days. In Aswan we learned that many Egyptians have a soft place for American professional wrestling and that Aswan merchants are as lively and engaging as they come. Just as many students started to feel at home in the bustling streets of Aswan, we were back on the road, traveling by sleeper train back to Cairo for the journey’s final destination.
The return to Cairo could not have been more fitting. In one day, we admired the Pyramids, posed by the great Sphynx and visited the Egyptian Museum. It was one of the most remarkable days of the trip and one that left most participants awe-struck at the many accomplishments of this mysterious country during the pharaonic era.
The final day of the trek saw the group begin to splinter. Those that stayed went to see Old Cairo, toured the Mohamed Ali Citadel and had dinner with Riad Armanious (NF) and his family.
Of course, this short article only touches the surface. There were also camel rides through villages at sunset, belly dancing, demonstrations of ancient Egyptian artistic techniques, shopping sprees, clubbing, and much more. A special thanks goes to our knowledgeable and imminently patient tour guide, Riad, who organized the trip and proved to be a phenomenal ambassador for his country, and Kareem Akhtar (NG), who spent much of the trek helping others to understand and navigate Egypt. Their efforts resulted in a brilliant adventure, isn’t that right Habu?