Moss, is humor writer from Tennessee. She writes a
weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny
things that happen to everyone.
She has written for the Daily News of Kingsport, Griffin Journal,
Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton
Advocate, and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News
Journal. She has been
published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks
at Guidepost Books. Her articles have appeared in
numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.
She is a
former board member and past Editor of the Columnists.com, website of the National Society of Newspaper
oldest and largest professional organization
for columnists. She is the Web Editor of
Humorists.com and a founder of the Southern Humorists writers'
organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of HumorColumnist.com.
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Online Since 1999
first impression of Egypt is from the mini-bus we take from the
airport, all of us in the tour group packed inside like kids in a
school bus with our luggage piled on top. Somehow I had imagined that
Cairo would be in the middle of the dessert with rippling sand dunes
all around like in the movie Lawrence of Arabia, but all I see is
Dirt is everywhere -- on the trees, in the air,
on cars, on streets, on everything moving or still. I don't know how
the people stand breathing so much dirt. The buildings are concrete,
flat roofed apartments and houses, all the same color as the dirt that
Most buildings have several stories and more stories yet to be added,
even though people are already living in the buildings. It seems they
build one story and as they can afford it, they add another on top.
Apparently, most people never get the money to finish as there seems
to be few buildings that are complete.
The sheer number of unfinished buildings causes someone in the group
to remark that it looks as if the city has been bombed. Air
conditioners extrude from concrete walls, and television satellites
stand in stark silence on the top of drab concrete buildings, while
clotheslines are full of colorful garments that are strung out of windows to dry.
Is this what is meant by "developing nation," trying to be modern but with the past still stubbornly clinging on?
There is a mosque on every corner. Egyptians are very
religious. They pray five times a day whether they need to or not. The
mosques are also the color of dirt, reminding me of sand castles with
domed roofs and tall spirals reaching to the sky. The mosques seem to
be the only buildings that are finished.
We see many sites that are strange to our western eyes, women
balancing loads on their head, a man riding a camel down the street,
carts being pulled by mules. It is as if we are time travelers, being
pulled back thousands of years to a time and place that only exists in
the Bible or history books.
The Egyptian male is dressed in a long flowing neutral-colored gown
with a turban on his head. The women wear long, loose dresses and
scarves, called hijab, covering their head. The hijab is worn for
traditional and religious reasons, and because Muslim women are very
modest. I cannot help but think that it also keeps the dirt
out of their hair.
We catch our first glimpse of the pyramids through palm trees and
between buildings. Reality blurs when seeing the pyramids with your
own eyes after a lifetime of pictures and movies. Can it be real or
is it only an illusion?
I have always envisioned the pyramids being located in a remote and
desolate area. Unfortunately, the development of commercial property
and urbanization has encroached shockingly close to the ancient
Unbelievably, we could see them clearly from our modern
and lavish motel.
Copyright 2010 Sheila Moss
Nashville, TN 37219
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