Posted | Comments Off
Social Encore: Walk like an Egyptian
BY JERMEL-LYNN QUILLOPO / Special to the Star-Advertiser
After an unforgettable time in Israel, I made my way into Egypt. I was greeted with a smell that reminded me much of the Philippines. It’s a smell that has all sort of things mixed together. It is sort of hard to describe, but I know the smell of heat, sweat and gas are amongst the contributors.
It was exciting to know that I was in another country — being in Egypt gave me a sense of familiarity but at the same time encouraged me to explore the unknown.
Egypt is known for its history of pharaohs and so it was only fitting to go to the Egyptian Museum. There I was able to see prized possession of the luxurious life of the kings and queens that ruled the dessert and the Nile. It was also amazing to see the prized possessions of King Tutankhamun, the young king that ruled during the 18th dynasty and received worldwide press when his tomb was found untouched by discovers Howard Carter and George Herbert.
Security was really strict, not allowing any cameras to enter the museum. However, I snuck in my iPhone (of course) and was able to snap a few photos here and there. The great thing about the museum was seeing King Tuts gold mask — also known to many as the face of Egypt, real mummies on display and the intricate jewelry of the very fashion forward queens — they were honestly to die for.
Egyptian culture reminded me of my Asian culture because like me, they have many superstitions, beliefs and traditions. There was a Golden Eagle Crystal shop that is located in Giza and it was shop that specialized in essences. I honestly didn’t think that having essence oils would help improve anything of the human form, but it was interesting to hear.
For example, many of the consultants said lily of the valley and roses help with hair growth, orange blossoms help with baggy eyes, and sandalwood and mint both help combat stretch marks and encourage weight loss.
In Egypt, may are Muslim. My cousin and I were there in Egypt to experience many of Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha, also called the Feast of Sacrifice. It was insane to see thousands of people stop what they are doing, park their car on the side of the road blocking traffic and leaving their herd of horses within the roads medium so that the herd can munch on grass.
However, it did show me how devoted these people are. In Muslim religion, devotees pray five times a day. When I roamed around Efypt, you could tell very well who prayed because many would have black marks on their head from prayer.
You can’t go to Egypt and not visit the pyramids. Visiting the pyramids in Egypt had always been a bucket list of mine. So I went to see what the pyramids in Giza. While touring the pyramids, I was able to buy a beaded head dress which helped me get into the spirit of Halloween, pretending to be Cleopatra.
In Egypt there are also camels. I seriously love the camels in Egypt because I felt like they were friendlier than the camels that I had met in Jordan. My cousin, her boyfriend and I decided to hop on a camel as we toured the third Giza pyramid. A photographer was able to snap a photo of me riding the camel with the pyramids in the background. If I honestly died after that picture was taken, I could have died a happy woman.
After I toured around the Giza pyramids, my cousin, her boyfriend and I made our way further down near the Sphinx. It was about noon and there were kids nearby that asked many tourists if they wanted someone to take their picture. Being an avid traveler, you learn to be very cautious about your surroundings in regards to your belongings and your safety. Some kids that are near tourist destinations in Egypt try to sell you little trinkets or ask to take your picture with your own camera, then in exchange for your camera back, they ask you for some sort of payment.
There was an 11-year old girl near the Sphinx site and she suggested some poses to my cousin and I. As I started to converse with her, I was able to get to know her. Her name was Jameale, born and raised in Egypt. She was very talkative and spoke very good English. She had no problem comprehending what I was saying. It seemed like she didn’t mind hanging around because she loved being around tourists that spoke English, allowing her to practice her communication skills.
I asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, and with hesitation she replied, “I’m not too sure because my family and I don’t have much money and I don’t think that I’d be able to get a really good job here. To get a good job, you need to go to school.”
It was sad to realize this girl already viewed her future as dim, I told her that she was a very sweet girl and that anything that she wanted to do was possible. I asked to take her picture, I showed it to her on my camera and her smile was just priceless.
As I walked away, she asked a kid that was selling Egyptian postcards for one postcard. She tapped me and gave the postcard to me. I asked her what the postcard was for and she said, “This is a thank you for our talk. You take this as a remembrance of Egypt and me.” As the bus came around to pick us up, she watched me board the bus and walked all the way to the window where my seat was.
As she waved at me, I couldn’t help but think about the millions of other kids in this world that thought just like her; a child with so much potential but are faced with circumstances that are out of their control. I’m glad that I met her because I truly believe that she inspired me to find more ways to be the humanitarian that has always been in me.
AS WE SIT at our table today to eat and give thanks for the many blessings we are fortunate to receive, may we also give back to the community and world around us this holiday season. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, and I thank you for your continued support of the Honolulu Pulse and my blog, “Social Encore.”
To show my appreciation, I will be giving away prizes every week, starting next week Thursday, Nov. 29 through Dec. 13. The last giveaway will be the biggest prize, which includes things like gift cards and a bottle of Harvest Vodka. All you have to do is follow me on Twitter and like my page on Facebook for a chance to win. I’ll pick a random follower and announce the winner in upcoming blogs.
Jermel-Lynn Quillopo is a multi-faceted, energetic individual with experience in both print and broadcast journalism. “Social Encore” aims to tell diverse stories about Hawaii’s food, events and people; share your tips with Jermel via email or follow her on Twitter.