Negotiating Cairo’s Khan el-Khalili Market

Entrance to the Khan el Khalili market.

I am beginning to feel a little uncomfortable. My self-appointed guide -- he introduced himself only as Mohammed, which is not helpful in a country where Mohammed is the name of most of the male population -- keeps urging me just a little way … [Read more...]

Sailing on a Felucca at Sunrise through Cairo, Egypt

Felucca on the Nile

What is startling is the silence in the middle of a city that normally assaults the senses. In mid-day Cairo, cars honk through the main roads, businessmen stride to work, vendors vend, ladies covered in the mystery of head-to-toe robes shuffle past … [Read more...]

Paying Respects at Egypt’s El-Alamein Battlefield and Museum

Egypt's El Alamein Miliatary Museum

To one side of me is the deep, oversaturated blue of the Mediterranean. To the other, the beige sands of the Sahara glare in a sun suitable for neither mad dogs nor Englishmen. Every once in a while there is barbed wire fence, less often, a sign … [Read more...]

What to Buy in Egypt: Souvenir Shopping Among the Ruins of the Nile

Saqqara Carpet Workshop

"When you come out, you must walk like a camel," says Mohammed. We are getting ready to tour the Valley of the Kings, and Mohammed is telling us where and when we will meet after we split up to explore on our own. Apparently, there is a souk we … [Read more...]

Visiting Egypt’s Ruins from a Nile River Cruise

sunset over Nile

Look at a physical map of north Africa -- a map with brown mountains and green forests and beige deserts -- and you will see thousands of miles of sandy beige, and, then, a thin green line. The Nile. Life giver. In ancient times, the rising and … [Read more...]

Hot Air Ballooning over Luxor, Egypt

Egypt balloons

We are standing in the cool morning air of a pre-dawn Sahara. We can just make out the colored patterns on enormous balloons that lie deflated on the ground. Men scurry about, lighting  fuel tanks that first roar into life, then send bright orange … [Read more...]