The towers of even the most formidable kings and queens have been known to crumble and fall when built on shaky foundations and glued with questionable principles. Life is like that. Friendships are like that too. It is in New York that I made real friends, where friendships were nurtured and grown that were able to withstand distance, time and change. It is a lucky human who can say I have people in my life that I believe in, count on, trust and can always reconnect with. It is one of life’s most precious gifts.
The journey to Egypt was more a journey of feelings, sensing and of connection than that of collecting brain information. There were places and things in Egypt that let me ‘feel’ so much more than others. One of these beacons was the tomb of Tutankhamun.
The son of Akhenaten, king at age 9, reformer of religion from god Aten to god Amun, youngest Pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty of ancient Egypt, the young boy king was to die at age 18. There has been so much written and said about this enigmatic king and so much of it fails to meet logic.
One thing that was for me undeniable standing in the tomb where Tutankhamun’s mummy was found, despite it being a much simpler tomb than that of other kings, a soft and gentle cloud wrapped itself around the place and a great quiet, a stillness that I feel even now as I write this. The mummy was housed in 7 levels of gold and wood and it was discovered in 1922 in the Valley of the Kings by Howard Carter.
I went to Egypt with hundreds of questions and came back with thousands.
Egypt lives in children’s imaginations as the world of fantasy, of pharaohs, of mummies, of pyramids, of kings, of power, of ankhs, and I am yet to meet a child who hears about Egypt without falling prey to its enchantment.
Ancient Egypt is big, it is massive, it is impressive, and it can make you feel so small if you let it. Everything natural and human has a way of returning to the earth, our bodies do, our waters circle up to the skies and return, our seeds grow only to wither again and nourish the soil. Not Egypt. Egypt was always looking beyond the planet’s cozy atmosphere and towards the heavens. The pyramids are gigantic, pointy, sharp, were covered with shiny limestone that reflected and could be seen from space, the stars were charted in Egypt on every sarcophagus, on every tomb, and bodies were mummified to withstand time and to defy the laws of nature here on Earth. Was it because Egypt had other plans?
There are about 138 pyramids discovered in Egypt, the largest is Giza’s Khufu pyramid photographed above at sunrise, and is the only wonder of the ancient worlds that remains standing.
As a small child our first family home and school were in the city of Byblos. It is daunting to think that the city I grew up in is in fact the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world!
Byblos is said to have been founded by El, the god of Phoenicians, but archaeological evidence of settlements dating back around 7000 years was found on the site of the city. Byblos(Greek for Papyrus) is the name that was given to the city by the Greeks around 1200 BC due to its importance in the papyrus and cedar wood export in the region, especially to Egypt. Egypt had very close ties with Byblos and about 60 letters were found in the Amarna tablets in Egypt that were written by the king of Byblos requesting aid from Akhnaten, the Egyptian Pharao, in matters of war.
On this site the famous sarcophagus of Ahiram, King of Byblos was excavated.
I adore the history of Lebanon and just the thought that most of it remains a total mystery, makes me tingle!