When in the land of the pharaohs, one must try to live(if for a moment) like the kings and queens of Egypt. Renowned for her beauty and her lavish beauty treatments as well has her reputation for seduction, Cleopatra, a captivating, enigmatic and powerful ruler of Egypt has inspired many books and movies. Her suicide after learning of her husband suicide brought an end to Pharoahs ruling in Egypt. This country has such a fascinating history and its ties with Rome made Cleopatra’s reign even stronger as she forged a link between the two empires, having bore children to Roman rulers, Caesar and Marcus Antonius.
|View from room terrace|
Having spent much of my time in the Concorde Al Salam hotel during my stay in Sharm, I was let into a beauty secret of this ancient civilization. Cleopatra’s beauty regime! My body was bathed in oil and honey before being soaked in coconut milk flakes, feeling like the Queen of the Nile, as I lay in a breezy beach cabana getting the full Cleopatra treatment.. The lactic acid in milk is meant to be antiseptic and the humectant properties of honey left Bee feeling like a real Queen Bee. My skin from head to toe felt soft, hydrated and smooth like a baby’s bottom that I returned again on the eve of my flight back to London.
Taking a break from scuba diving and snorkeling we set out to escape the hotel’s compound and head out to the old part of Sharm El Sheikh. Taking the Taxi ride with Osama to the Old Market, Osama and I were fastly becoming BFFs as each time we took a taxi from the hotel it was he who would be available. A young and lively guy no older than 20 I am sure, made sure he had on Tamer Hosny and Amr Diab having impressed him with my knowledge of Arabic musicians. I was actually introduced to Turkish and Arabic music by one of my friends from college and my love for Arabic music grow from there.
Actually my music collection spans Spanish, Latin, French, Arabic, African(Ghanian, Nigerian, Zambian, South African…) and English of course! I believe music transcends and breaks the language barriers by connecting directly to the heart. You don’t need to understand the language to understand and get the emotional connection to the music you are listening to. So the 25 minute drive to the Old Market, through long and extended roads with views of hazy silhouette of mountains with desert lands on the foot of the mountains, was sound tracked by Tamer Hosny and Amr Diab’s ballads professing love to the ladies. Both who are coincidentally Egyptian.
|The Old Market Entrance with Security|
My observations even in the little time I spent in Egypt, and some will go as far as say that I didn’t see the real Egypt having only been to Sharm. I hope to be proved wrong when I return to see other parts of the country but until then, my observation leaves me to wonder what on earth happened to Egypt/the women? It had strong and powerful female rulers in its history in what was and still is a male-dominated society. Cleopatra held the country together and proved to be just as powerful as her male counterparts. Nefertiti, another powerful female figure to ever rule had a husband who went to great lengths to display her as an equal.
Much like Cleopatra’s era as in today’s, women are viewed as inferior to men. Back then still enjoyed great independence. They were free to serve on juries, buy sell properties and receive equal pay for doing the same job as the men while other countries like Greece at the time had women effectively owned by their husbands. So the why do things feel as if they have stayed much of the same or some cases seem and feel like times have not regressed?! It also didnt help having a discussion with one of the waiters in on of the hotels restaurants who told of how he wants to get married, but at 26 he hopes to marry a girl of 15(a child in my eyes) because that way he would be able to instill the values he wants her to have.
I cant help but wonder if he was just threatened but an intelligent and independent woman having mentioned his dislike of how his previous girlfriend chose to study at university than be with him. I realise that not all Egyptians are like this but its this attitude that then means if a women takes any other route that finds them not married by 20-25 there must be something wrong with them. There are deep traditional and cultural roots to this but that’s a topic for another day.
This is the same country that has one of the earliest surviving peace treaty(Egypt Hittie treaty) accords of which a copy hangs above the entrance to the UN’s security Council Chamber in New York. So then why is this great nation still witnessing such unrest and inequality in many of its days with the great and vast history inherited? We pondered on similar discussion as we passed time people-watching in one of the cafes in the old market. Seeing different cultures and learning about the history of different countries as well as how it influences how we live today is what really fuels my need to explore other countries.
Below are some pictures from the Old Market. I am also looking at piecing together all the diving footage into one single video. I will upload this next week sometime.
So have you been to other parts of Egypt? How did that your observations of the places compare to mine in Sharm El Sheikh?