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Meet the Columnist

Columnist, Sheila 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 Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern
Humorists.com
  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of HumorColumnist.com

    To carry her weekly column in your newspaper, or to republish an article, please contact her. It's that easy. 

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First Impressions....
   

First Impressions

My 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.

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 penetrates everything.

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 pyramids.

Unbelievably, we could see them clearly from our modern and lavish motel.


Copyright 2010 Sheila Moss
 
 



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