What would you do, where would you go, if you could travel into the past? I like to imagine what it would be like to go to the places on my vintage postcards, a kind of poor person’s time-traveling that allows me to visit and experience a time and place that is now out of reach.
Just think what it would have been like to explore during the golden age of travel when the nascent field of archaeology began to bear the fruits of a rich, tapestried past in Egypt. I would go on early morning rides on camels to the pyramids of Giza prior to the stifling heat of the day and climb as high as I could the large mason stones so expertly cut and fitted to this 7th Wonder of the World. In the afternoon, I would have tea at Shephard’s Hotel in Cairo followed by an excursion into the colorful market of the suk with vendors hawking wares from fake scarabs to copper tea kettles to severed mummy hands, the smell of incense hanging in the air competing with that of the hookahs.The call of the muezzin to evening prayers for the faithful would give way to an evening of music and gossip in the coffee shops and cafes, patrons spilling out onto verandahs and outdoor tables.
I would also take a dahabiya (houseboat) down the river of life that is the Nile. I would visit Luxor and Thebes and explore the Valley of the Kings which would gain worldwide attention with the discovery of Tutankhamun’s Tomb by Howard Carter in 1922. I would happily climb into tombs to revel in the incredible art and hieroglyphics that would tell the story of the owner and their perilous journey to the underworld where Anubis would weigh the heart of the deceased against a feather to decide whether or not they deserved to enter into the afterlife. Woe to those whose heart was heavier than the feather for they would be devoured by a monster and cease to exist for all time.
I would walk along the Nile in the evening, smelling the cooking fires as the feluccas sailed home with their daily catch, a blushing sunset kissing their sails. I would eat with the fellaheen and learn to converse in Arabic. As twilight set in, I would close my eyes and listen to the river as the sounds of the night came alive with the chirruping of insects. When the constellations peeked out of their velvety blanket above, I would look for Osiris striding across the sky, his wife Isis faithfully following her husband.
This is one of my vintage dreams. What about you?