The Conundrum of Baksheesh

Baksheesh, or tipping, is a pervasive part of daily life in Egypt. It's expected for any service or favor performed, no matter how small, for tourists and locals alike. It's more common than a handshake. Westerners are generally amazed at how extensive it is. Tips are a big deal to the average Egyptian whose income... Continue Reading →

The Splendid Temple of Hathor (Dendera)

Calling a woman a cow nowadays is asking for trouble, but the Egyptians of yore depicted Hathor as a cow, a woman with cow's horns or woman with cow's ears. She was one of Egypt's most important deities, a primordial goddess, daughter of Ra and Nut, goddess of joy, female love, sex, destruction and rebirth,... Continue Reading →

Do Me a Fava, Pass Me the Falafel—and More

I ignored it in Egypt for the first few days, not so much that I don't like falafel (I do), but I can get it in Seattle where I live. How many ways can it be made, I figured. That's before I knew there was a distinctive Egyptian version. How is it different? Instead of... Continue Reading →

The Valley Temple and Osireion: Echoes of a Bygone World Culture?

Seeing is believing. It was deja vu all over again, as a famous American Yogi once said. I gawked at the Valley Temple of Khafre in Giza and the Osireion in Abydos. Though they are in Egypt, they reminded me of monuments I saw in Peru, halfway round the world. Cyclopean blocks of unadorned stone... Continue Reading →

Temple of Karnak (Luxor)

The Temple of Karnak in Luxor rivals an amusement park in size. The grounds are so big that it can easily surround the great cathedrals of Europe: Notre Dame, St. Peter's, Milan and more. Started in the Middle Kingdom and added to over a period of 2,000 years into Ptolemaic times by thirty pharaohs, it... Continue Reading →

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