a unique perspective on this crazy world

the key of life

I AM working on some proper travel posts – and promise to relay my adventures in Egypt over the next week or two.  But right now I am sitting in the Four Seasons in Cairo (the first in the Middle East).  Some really cool looking Egyptian or Thai desserts have just arrived even though I didn’t order any because I stuffed myself so full of panang gai (a Thai chicken curry) I don’t need to eat for a couple of days…

One of the A&K guys told us on the bus that this is the best Thai restaurant in Cairo.  It has been one of the best Thai meals of my life.  And not only do I get the ubiquitous cute, charming Egyptian servers, they have seated me so that I can watch the Nile in the dark as I eat, all lit up with dinner cruises and ferry boats passing by.

I have always wanted to stay at the Four Seasons but I am too cheap to pay that much for a hotel room.  But since A&K insists I stay here, I am planning to get my money’s worth 🙂  Have already had an amazing bath (a great bathtub rare when one is travelling) and now this incredible meal.  My room feels like a suite and I have a view of the Nile there too.  Apparently I have been upgraded and I am not supposed to tell the others 🙂  Not sure why I got to be the chosen one but maybe I bonded a little more with Sameh and Riccardo…

Bonding with strangers does seem to be a special skill that I acquired somewhere.  This trip has a number of special people and relationships attached to it.  The most memorable will be Tito.  (And then just before I posted this I had a great conversation with Riccardo… so that will be in one of the next posts…)

Tito and I met the first night on the boat.  Sonia had told us that if we wanted serious souvenirs from a vendor we could trust, we should consider the shop on the boat.

While $1 necklaces are fun, I did want to bring home a more lasting souvenir from my first trip to Egypt.  So I was checking out the shop window the first night of the Nile Cruise when I met Tamer (nickname Tito).  I promised him I would come and shop before the cruise was over.

So I spent a long time one afternoon choosing charms (one of the key of life and one of Nefertiti) along with a gorgeous silver chain so I could wear them before I got home.

Taking home a souvenir like that is so much more meaningful.  Tito and I talked about life, Egyptian politics and personal style.  On the final night I hugged him and left lipstick stains on both his cheeks, marking him.  I think that meant I was due to return to Egypt 🙂

Tito sold me a necklace charm that represents the key of life.  But I think the real key of life is to take chances, engage people and smile a lot – you too could be staring at a beautifully bright neon-coloured ship passing before you on the famous Nile – a river that has provided life to many.

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