Travel

Rekindling a Love of Travel on a Grand Tour of Egypt

“No cherubs, pearly gates, or having dinner with Elvis and Jesus,” says Egyptologist Hala Sayed, my private guide for today. Movie-star glamorous in a crisp blouse and white jeans, she is explaining that ancient Egyptians imagined an afterlife that didn’t look so different from life on Earth. It’s an early morning in September, and we’re standing on the nearly empty main floor of the neoclassical, sensationally salmon-hued Museum of Egyptian Antiquities on Cairo’s Tahrir Square before the tour buses have arrived to disgorge their passengers.

Tombs, Hala explains, were often painted with everyday scenes—people grinding grain, having sex, brewing beer—and depicted the family members and beloved pets the deceased hoped to see again. This prosaic version of paradise was not due to any lack of imagination (these are the same people who dreamed up the wasp-headed, hippo-bodied goddess Ahti) but because “life was pretty good,” Hala says. “Egypt was heaven.” Read more…

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