EEM 02 - 14 - 2010

Journal, Even though today was our last day in Egypt, I had probably the most memorable experience during our cultural excursion. Each of us had the option to take a day excursion provided by Isam (our guide) for about 80 Egyptian pounds. The day included a visit to the Luxor temple, a buffet lunch, and a felucca ride. The experiences were all very valuable, but the one that impacted me the most was the Camel trip through the villages in Luxor. We headed to a small rural village and were invited to sit in what looked like a converted lobby on the lower level of a home. We learned that a lot of British families would buy property and houses in the area and convert them into hotels or camel riding businesses locals. I had coca-cola in a glass; I always think it tastes so much better served this way. It was really interesting to see the Arabic translation of the brand name on the bottle. I think a good example of evidence supporting globalization can rely on some level to the amount of westernization and companies that become international on the global market. When the camels were ready, our group proceeded to find our rider and mount on to the animals. (A couple of people had to ride horses instead) My camel guide's name was Ahmed. He was only 11 years old, but he spoke and understood English quite well. "James Bond" was my camel's name, and some of the other camel names in the group included "William Shakespeare" and "Elvis." Of course, I got the camel with the mind of its own and poor Ahmed had a hard time taming the camel in the beginning. We shared the road in our single file camel line with different cars, wagons, mopeds and donkeys. It was really nice to get away from the tourist areas and get to have a feel for more of the local life and conditions. It was very poverty stricken, but there was a definite sense of tradition, community and culture within the people. A lot of the landscape was agriculturally based; growing crops such as sugar cane and vegetables. There was a mosque in the village and we heard the call to prayer over the fields. Children were playing in the streets, and we saw women washing their clothes out in the river water or serving tea to the farmers. I really enjoyed talking to Ahmed and hearing what he had to say about his life. He was friends with a lot of the people that we passed along the way. Ahmed would give me the reigns every once and awhile, or make my camel trot. (Which was quite terrifying sometimes.) At one point, Ahmed went off and broke off some sugar cane for me to try. I had never had it before, and though it wasn't as sweet as I thought it would be, it was still very good. I took some great pictures of the group and one that I really liked of Ahmed. Even though this was still a product of a tourist-driven industry (camel rides), it was really neat to at least get a better sense of how these people live.

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