Book: Novel 2

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Here is my fiction second short story novel. It is called:
'Turkey, the Arabian Desert, and Egypt.'
By Vijay Simhadri. All information is copyrighted.
My email is: simhadrisoftware@gmail.com
Refer to 'Books:Author' page on this site, for extra information.
You may view it online for a preview:

Short Story 2:

Turkey, the Arabian Desert & Egypt.

By Vijay Simhadri

I started out in Turkey. The Mosque of Istanbul was visible in the reddish evening skies. It reminded me of the historical Turkish Ottoman Empire of Suleiman the Magnificent.
I was listening at present on the radio to the orchestral version of ‘Alla Turca’, the ‘Turkish March’ by Mozart. The Austrian classical music composer, round that time, composed it in the late 18th century.
I could hear the Muslim muezzin calling out loud from the minaret of the mosque in the background. I wandered through the Turkish bazaars and slipped into various different shops. Theyy were selling various ornaments, artifacts and textiles. I was eating and chewing some Turkish Delight that I had purchased from the bazaar’s stores.
I walked into a shop and there I found a lovely, exquisite Turkish rug. It was intricate in design, and it was beautifully hand-woven. This is what I had been searching for. A rug like this reminded me of those lovely designed Persian rugs sold in those expensive and exclusive shops back in UK. I asked the shopkeeper how much was the asking price for this Turkish rug, and he told me that to weave a design like this would cost anything in the region from five thousand US Dollars to ten thousand US Dollars. It was aproximately six feet by twelve feet in size and it looked truly grand and spectacular.
I read a travel guide that I had picked for tourists.
It said that it was rare to find good Turkish rugs in the bazaars around the Istanbul market place. I read further into the travel guide, and it told tales of the Turkish Ottoman Empire at the peak of its empire. The Ottoman Empire used to spread over the Arabian Desert, Middle East, Egypt and Northern Parts of Africa. There was also a description of the Holy Crusades in the 12th Century when Arab Saladin fought against the British ruler Richard the Lionheart over the Holy Land, who sailed by ship to the Middle East.
Those days were known as the Crusades. The historic impression and Persian influence that it created on Turkish, Persian and Arabic culture could be even seen today.
I traveled far and wide by car, for several days. We approached the Arabian Desert that was nearby to the hotel resort where we were staying. I could see all around the Arabian Desert. Lovely tall, palm trees were present here and there in the desert.
I looked through my binoculars, no one was in sight for miles.
We stopped nearby and hired some camels from a Bedouin for our excursion.
We mounted the camels and then started making our way through the Arabian Desert. It was extremely warm and humid. I was beginning to sweat and perspire a lot.
I was travelling by camel and I could see in the hot blazing sun, golden, yellow sands everywhere on the ground.
I felt hot, warm and sticky. The temperature was very hot in this region and environment. The sun was burning, strong, heated and incandescent.
Water was the key issue here, as it did not exist in any form across the desert. I took out my drink bottle and found that I had a lot of water left. I was feeling thirsty and I drank a lot of water. We traveled for some while.
It was now afternoon and the Muslim pal next to me on his camel, pointed to far beyond and far away I could see a mirage. There was a pool of water appearing in the distance. I climbed up onto my camel and had a look through my binoculars.
“Yes,” I thought, “I could see a distinct mirage in the distance. It looked like a pool of water over the sandy Arabian desert.”
I stopped looking through my binoculars and I talked in English to my Muslim pal next to me. He explained to me that mirages sometimes appeared here and there in the Arabic desert. A mirage was an atmospheric phenomenon, where reflected light created imagery of a pool of water somewhere else. The palm trees in the desert swayed in the wind.
All around I could see lifelessness, and not much sign of plants or other trees. The small grains of yellow sand poured out of my fingers as I grasped some of the sand with my hands. I prepared some tea from my flask that I had in my hand. I drank a warm cup of tea and felt strangely invigorated rather than heated. I had been reading that drinking warm liquids cooled oneself down quicker than cool, refreshing water.
I gazed further and I could see something. I travelled onwards upon my camel and there I discovered an oasis.
Amongst this entire arid desert, there was a lovely oasis. There I could stop with my camel and allow the camel to rest and recover.
I looked at the oasis beyond. An oasis was a rare phenomenon in the desert and there I would be able to replenish my water supplies.
We walked some more and time was passing by. It was only a few more hours till the Sun would set and nightfall would soon commence. I mounted my camel and made my way back home through the desert to my car. I saw the crescent moon in the nighttime, and I compared it with the crescent moon on the flag of Turkey. My Muslim pal and I drove back in the night by car to our hotel. It was a long journey back to Turkey from the Arabian Desert.
I would be spending a few extra days in Turkey and then I would set off to Egypt.
I was glad that I had visited the bazaars of Turkey. It was imperative that I see these Turkish markets. Turkish bazaars were a highlight and a must see. The next day I returned to the Turkish bazaars and I bought a beautiful, ornate Turkish lamp. It was decorated with semi-precious gems. It seemed something typical of Turkish Ottoman culture.
I also bought a Turkish rug that I had really liked. It was a long, rectangular, and beautifully hand-woven design.
Nearby in the bazaar was a gypsy, who said that he was a fortune-teller, and also specialized in palmistry. He called out to me and asked me if I would like my fortune told. He invited me inside his den. I showed him my hand, and he read it carefully.
He closed his eyes and was strong in thought.
“What is he thinking and what does he have to say,” I thought, “Why is he contemplating so much?”
He closed his eyes and was muttering something quietly.
He had a companion known as his ‘aid’ beside him.
His ‘aid’ whispered something into his ear. He told me to leave the tent and he said that he would discuss it briefly with his aid. I left the ‘aid’ and sat on the chair outside. A few minutes passed. He came out of the tent and his ‘aid’ stood beside him.
He told me that my life told an interesting story. He said that the large fate line across my hand, implied destiny would be good, however he felt to point out that there were some strange and troubled times ahead. I must beware he told me, and I would be fine.
I thanked him and made my way back to my hotel.
“ That was creepy,” I thought, “Strange and troubled times… Interesting!”
This perplexed me for a while. The fortune-teller had told me that upon reading my palm that there were troubled times ahead. I talked to my Muslim pal, Inzamam.

“ Do you wish after this to go to Egypt?” Inzamam inquisitively asked.

“ Yes, once I have done all my shopping and sight-seeing I will take the plane to Egypt with you.” I said to Inzamam.

Inzamam was a close friend that I knew from back in UK. He was tall, six-foot, dark-skinned, exciting and a dignified person. The man was strong, full of vitality, energy and character.
He said that there were lots of things of historical interest in Cairo, Egypt.
I did some more shopping. I went into some more bazaars and bought some clothes. I also bought some postcards of Turkey from a tourist shop. They had some lovely pictures of Istanbul, Ankara and various other places around Turkey.
I travelled to Ankara by car with Inzamam, my pal. We saw some lovely Turkish buildings reflective of Ottoman culture. Inside the National Turkish Museum, capital Ankara, we saw the curved swords of the Saracens that dated back a few hundred years.
The Saracens were Muslim warriors from the Ottoman Empire.
The Ottoman Empire was a Turkish Empire that developed from the Holy Roman Empire known as the Byzantium Empire of the Eastern Roman Empire in the early part of the first millennium.
We walked through the galleries, and we could see some bronze figurines, pottery, lamps and various other artifacts.
It took us hours to look through the galleries. I looked around the museum with reverence; as to preserve this place must have taken a lot of effort.
No photography was allowed inside the museum.
We reached the gift and museum shop after some while, and there I bought some postcards.
I had decided that I would send some postcards to my family in UK. Inzamam also bought some mementos and postcards in the shop. He said that he would send it to his girlfriend and family.
His family were somewhere at present in the Middle East, and his girlfriend was in Turkey, near Constantinople.
We walked out of the museum and Inzamam took out a cigarette, and started smoking. A fresh breeze was outside.

“ So you like Turkey, eh?” he said, “You know, you are missing all the fun and excitement that Turkey has to offer. Museums aren’t the highlight and main attraction…”

“ Well, Inzamam,” I said passively, “ I came here as a tourist and I am very much interested in its cultural and historic past. I am no expert. Do you have anything to suggest?

“What about meeting my family. My cousin’s having a wedding next week. We can dance around, party and have fun. We can arrange for you to meet everyone. How‘s that?”

“ It sounds lovely.. but will it be possible?” I asked quizzically.

“ Yes, my family really wants to meet you. We will treat you just like the rest of the family.” he said.

I turned around and I could see that near one of the Turkish bazaars was a musician playing a mystical, melodious, harmonic and yet mesmerizing Turkish pipe.

“Wow, this sounds very beautiful!” I thought.

He told me that Turkish medieval pipe music was very cultural outside bazaars. It was part of their heritage. Even a long time back, one could hear it in Turkish street bazaars.
He said that the wedding was going to be held at our hotel sometime next week. He would expect me there.

“You simply must come. My relatives would love to meet you!
You know we would like you to celebrate with us. We would enjoy your company. Come on, please come along…” he coaxed me.

“Oh, come on, you would not want a boring, uninteresting person like me…would you?” I said teasingly.

“ Well you know you are not from around these regions, you’re a foreigner, and we would be happy to meet you. You simply must meet my family. This is an ideal opportunity to meet them.”

“ Are you sure we won’t delay our trip to Egypt. I am very interested to postpone it…”

“Never postpone the trip… Don’t worry about it we’ll have time.” Inzamam said calmly, and reassuringly.

I went to the bank and exchanged some traveler’s cheques and some UK currency. We discussed it over in a restaurant. We ate typical Turkish delicacies and cuisines.

“Here’s a photo of my girlfriend. She’s pretty don’t you think?” he said.

I looked at the photo. She seemed very pretty.

“Well how did you meet her, Inzamam?” I asked.

“ You know I met her when I was working in my job in the city as an accountant. This was some while back, when I was 25 years old.”

“You never told me that! You told me that you met her in a party?!” I said amazed.

“ Well, I told a lie as I was embarrassed. Anyway, Cairo is a fabulous place. There are the other places: Abu Simbel, the Valley of the Kings, and Luxor to see far away.”

“ What about Alexandria? I heard they have recently discovered the Lighthouse of Alexandria underwater. It was regarded as great monument even in those days…”

“You know Ancient Egypt was an interesting yet impressive civilization that peaked at the same time as the Roman Empire’s civilization.”

We discussed various places and monuments of Egypt whilst in the restaurant. We ate some spicy meat, seafood and various other delicacies. The waiter there was very quick, and served us promptly.

I told him that I needed to buy some sunglasses.

“The heat is scorching!” I remarked, “What is this weather? I am sweltering so much.”

“ Just chill out, my friend.” Inzamam said, “Enjoy your time in Turkey. We‘ll make it back for sure.”

“Well, what did I tell you…” he remarked confidently, after we returned back to the hotel.

I bought some sunglasses outside in a stall near our hotel.They were black and oval-shaped shaped.
He said that looking at my sunglasses reminded him of the Black Sea, which was situated north of Turkey. When he was a child, he had a couple of friends from back there.
I told him that I must do some searching for some gifts for my friends and family. He said that he knew some good shops nearby where we could buy some presents. I wanted to buy a flag of Turkey, for my little brother, for my Mum some clothes, and for my father a precious Turkish, gemstone box. He would like and treasure it. I had purchased an exceptional Turkish rug; it would be a present for my whole family.
I talked to Inzamam’s family over the phone and they said that they looked forward to seeing me at their nephew’s wedding.
A couple of days passed, and we strolled and lazed around the hotel. I unraveled and admired the Turkish rug I had bought.
Inzamam pointed out a weaving error in the Turkish rug, he said that was standard, as perfection was attributed to Allah.

“Turkey is predominantly a Muslim country,” he revealed.

All around the Turkish rug was woven in a pattern that was so beautiful, so intricate and careful. It must have taken ages to create. I felt it, the fabric was so smooth, and soft. I was so proud to be an owner of a genuine Turkish rug. I would never get it at such a price over there in UK. Usually imported goods were significantly more expensive. If I were to buy it from within Turkey, then I would get a good deal.
I asked him if he knew any good clothes shops around here.

“Two streets away from this hotel, you can buy good clothes for your Mum. I can guarantee it! ” Inzamam assured.

“You’re serious…” I said.

“Yep…I promise you…take my word for it. ” he said confidently.

I said that we could go tomorrow with his girlfriend to the shops. She could help me decide on the clothes that my Mum would like. He said that it would be an excellent idea, and his girlfriend would very much oblige. Inzamam rung up his girlfriend and she said she would make it for tomorrow.
We clocked off early tonight by going to sleep early in the hotel. We would be very busy tomorrow. Inzamam said that he had to make some preparations for his cousin’s wedding.
We woke up at 7 am next morning, and got ready. Inzamam’s girlfriend was waiting in the lobby downstairs. Afterwards, we set off to the shops. She looked very attractive, cute at the same time she was friendly. We went to the shop that Inzamam had stated. There were many fashionable clothes there. Inzamam’s girlfriend also wanted to try on some clothes. She said that the clothes were beautiful in the shop, and she could buy some of them for the wedding. She bought some lovely shoes, and an outfit. I bought a dainty and colourful,green-blue, golden embroidered Turkish dress for my Mum. I thought that she would appreciate it. My parents rang up at lunchtime, to find out how I was getting along. It was morning time in UK, as the longitude was +2 hours ahead in Turkey.
“ How are you getting along in Turkey? Are your Muslim friend and his girlfriend helpful?” my Dad asked.
“ Yes, I have bought some presents for our family. I bought Mum a nice Turkish dress, and for you I’ve got a lovely gemstone box.”
“What about your little brother? What did you buy for him?”
“ I bought him a small Turkish Flag…”
“ Is that all?” my father said in annoyed tone.
“I plan to buy him some more presents today and after the wedding.”
“Wedding?! What are you getting married or something…” my father said angrily.
I thought that my father had nearly swooned.
“No, I’m going to Inzamam’s cousin’s wedding. They’ve invited me over.”
“Oh, well that’s OK then. You know you should keep me informed…It’s no good walking off without telling us on an Arabian Desert hike if that’s what you intend. You must ring us up regularly and tell us how you are doing…”
I slammed down the phone in disgust. I was wondering if I was paranoid or was it them. I was very irritated by their apparent, worried concerns. Inzamam began to talk to me.
“ Well what did your parents say?” Inzamam asked anxiously.
“ They thought that I should buy my little brother more gifts, otherwise he will get upset.”
“ Well that makes a lot of sense. You can go tomorrow and get him something. Some present of some sort will keep him happy and content, otherwise the little kid will get very upset. That‘s how little kids are… you should know that,” his girlfriend said.
“OK …OK…You guys, what do you think I should buy him?”
“ Buy him a board game, or some little toy. He’ll love it,” she said.
A few days passed, and I went to nearby shops and bought some small toys for my little brother, and a small board game.
The board game was simple to play and use. My little brother would find it enjoyable all the same. I wrapped them up in some parcel and the little child would like it as a present.
It was time this evening to go Inzamam’s cousin’s wedding.
All the guests arrived at the hotel and I met his family. I shook hands with his father, uncle and even brother. We talked for a while. They spoke a little English. They asked me how I was doing. They seemed very friendly, and were keen to see me.
Most of the guests were wearing beautiful, Arabic, bright, golden embroidered, Turkish clothes.
Authentic Arabic and Turkish traditional music was played.
Some people were playing drums, and a bewitching, melodious flute was played in the background. Everyone was dancing and having fun.
Inzamam’s cousin asked me to join in the fun, and we danced all night. I danced with his girlfriend. She was a good dancer, and she looked attractive, all the same. The musical beats entranced the audience. I congratulated the bride and bridegroom and wished them happy times ahead. Confetti was hurled over the bride and bridegroom. Muslim scriptures were chanted and the Koran was read. A fakir, Muslim holy man was blessing the couple. Everyone congratulated the couple. It was a dark night that late night. We dined in the night outside the hotel. We ate and drank fruit juices, whilst lounging around. Inzamam and his girlfriend said that they didn’t drink alcohol. There was an atmosphere of pleasance, enjoyment and excitement.

“ Three cheers for the bride and groom! ” I exclaimed, as we dined.

“Hip Hip Hurray!” Inzamam exclaimed jubilantly.

“You know it’s so lovely that your cousin has married his long-time lover.” his girlfriend commented.

“Yes it is. I am so happy for them. They love each other very much. ” Inzamam said.

We took some photos of the event, to cherish and treasure.
Their marriage was conducted so romantically, and appropriately. Everyone enjoyed themselves. They were merry and content at the same time.
It was 3 am when we left the marriage, and everyone were still celebrating. Inzamam reminded me that tomorrow we were going to Cairo. Tomorrow early in the morning, we had to catch a flight to Cairo, Egypt.

Tomorrow: To Cairo, Egypt

I woke up early in the morning at 6 am and got all my belongings together. I drove to the airport by car, Inzamam had packed all his stuff, alongside mine.
We entered the airport, and unloaded our luggage from the car.
We walked across the airport floors carrying our luggage. I looked at the departure notices on the TV screen above in the airport. I was reading the information that it was displaying.
The plane for Cairo would be leaving in a couple of hours time.
I looked at my watch, and thought, “Yes, it will be in a few hours time.”
We checked in our luggage and waited for us to be allowed to board the plane. The time soon came, and plane had arrived on the runway. We boarded the plane with our hand luggage.
The plane took off, and flew up high above in the sky. After a while, I could see through the plane’s window the Taurus mountains down on the ground. The Black Sea was far beyond north. I couldn’t see it as we were traveling south to Cairo.
Inzamam was reading a magazine in the plane. The airhostess was very helpful and obliging during the flight. It was a couple of hour’s flight to Cairo by plane.
We arrived at Cairo at midday. We took the taxi and we reached our Cairo hotel. It was a luxury 5-star hotel. The hotel was quite spectacular.

We could see the Pyramids of Egypt and its surrounding sands through the large windows of the dining lounge. They were tall, magnificent escalating to great heights. We could see Muslims riding camels in the background on top of the Egyptian sands, through the windows of the hotel whilst we were dining, and eating our lunch.

“ You know, you are right to read about culture and information. It even interests me now and then…” Inzamam commented.

“We must see Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s treasures, and the Pyramids of Egypt.” I said eagerly.

“Yes, I think we’ll get round to that. I feel that we can do a lot of tourist touring in this place. It is very beautiful and interesting for tourist. There is so much information to see of Ancient Egypt. They are a very impressive civilization.” Inzamam said recollecting through his tourist guidebook.

We walked out of our hotel. I saw the hot, blazing sands ahead.
We walked to the Pyramids of Egypt. They looked magnificent and wondrous in the distance. Huge blocks of limestone, rose up shaped like a pyramid, to great heights. I read that the construction of pyramids was indeed a feat in itself.
They were arranged linearly, three pyramids, Mycerinus, Khufu, and Khephren. The pyramids dated from about 2500 BCE and stood remarkably preserved in the golden sands. The sun was shining strongly, and furiously.
Some Muslims were also riding some camels. I started taking some photos, so did Inzamam. The guide told us that we could not climb and ascend the pyramids, as it was also dangerous.
Inzamam was reading about the Sphinx carved in stone, which was positioned in front of the three pyramids.
The Sphinx was a half-man, half-lion sculpture that guarded the Pyramids. The Khufu Pyramid was the central, Great Pyramid. It looked truly great and splendid, as I looked at it from far away.
We got permission by the person guarding the Great Pyramid to go inside it. We crawled with the guide inside the Great Pyramid Khufu from a hole lying outside. Inside it was tunnel almost like a gallery to the King’s Chamber.
It was dark and lamps illuminated the way inside. We reached the King’s Chamber following the pathway.
There was a stone rectangular box where Khufu’s coffin was supposed to lie. I told him that Napoleon Bonaparte in the 1700’s entered this chamber, when France occupied Egypt.
“Wow!” he said, “This is truly spectacular!”
“Look at the King’s chamber, it’s still intact!” I exclaimed.
There were shafts within the pyramid. The shafts were supposed to point to the stars of Orion. The Pharaoh once he had passed away had an afterlife. In this afterlife, it was believed in those days, that he would be beamed up to the stars, which is why the shafts aligned themselves to specific stars, like the constellation of Orion.

We crawled back out of the Great Pyramid, and looked at the weathered Sphinx far away. I took pictures of the Pyramids.

“What a legend! Khufu’s pyramid is most spectacular and must have taken a long time to build.” I thought to myself.

It must have also taken a lot of time for early explorers to discover the point of entry inside the pyramid. Entry inside the pyramids was a wonder in itself, as there were many false doors, so that finding the right entrance to the pyramid was a feat in itself.
Once the pyramid was constructed, and the Pharaoh’s belongings were placed inside, the pyramid was closed and sealed with sand, in an advanced way from within.

We rode on some camels in the desert sands. It was truly a lovely experience. The blue river Nile in ancient times used to flow outwards from the Great Pyramid via the Sphinx and far beyond.
There was a stele ( inscription ) beside the Sphinx. I could read the hieroglyphics. It told of Pharaoh Amenhotep II, stroking the Nile in his rowboat around 1500 B.C. I told him that we should see the Nile Boat that was buried under the sands in front of the pyramids.
There was an exhibit next to the pyramids. We went inside the exhibition next to the Pyramids and saw the Nile Boat. It was primitive but impressive. It was made out of wood, and was existing suspended high up in the air, for all to see in the area. It was supposed to carry Pharaoh Khufu from the Great Pyramid in his afterlife to the River Nile and further on.

I bought an Egyptian golden cartouche of Khufu, which had Egyptian hieroglyphics written on it. I got it from one of the shops nearby. A cartouche was an inscription made up of Egyptian hieroglyphs. The shopkeeper handed me some blue, small, stone-sculpted scarabs (beetles), free as a compliment after the purchase of my items. Scarabs were symbolically supposed to give good luck in the Ancient Egyptian times.

“This will be helpful after what the fortune teller told me in Turkey,” I thought.

I also bought a small sculpture of Pharaoh Tutankhamun in one of the shops. Inzamam said that it was very impressive and beautiful. I would look forward to seeing his treasures in the next few days. We took back all the items that we had bought to the hotel. It was now late in the evening and time to call it a day. We would now rest and sleep in the hotel.

To King Tutankhamun’s Tomb & Treasures.

We decided the next day to visit the Cairo Museum. The Cairo museum was filled with Egyptian antiquities. The Cairo Museum was also holding the all-famous King Tutankhamun’s treasures.

King Tutankhamun was boy pharaoh, who at 1300 BCE ruled Egypt. The tomb was a surprise discovery in 1922 Egypt by British archaeologist Howard Carter who was financed by the British financier, Earl of Carnarvon.
Whilst excavating in the Valley of the Kings, Egypt a place where most of the Pharaoh Tombs were buried, Howard Carter by chance discovered Tutankhamun’s Tomb. He was digging into the sand and there he discovered and intact tomb that had not been tapped by grave robbers. Essentially, most of the tombs prior had their artifacts stolen by grave robbers over the centuries.

We saw in the museum several remarkably fabulous items. Photography was strictly prohibited.

There was the pure gold mask of Tutankhamun, which was placed on top of his face wrapped up as a mummy in the sarcophagus, and there was also beautifully inscribed hieroglyphics on the side of the sarcophagus itself. This was also inlaid with solid gold, colorful enameled work, lapis lazuli, carnelian, quartz, turquoise, obsidian, and colored glass.

There were a number of treasures belonging to King Tutankhamun on display:
lovely chairs, tables, jewellery, amulets, coffers, gilded chariots, weapons, several annexed treasures, various busts of Pharaohs, and many other items.

There was also a golden throne, which had beautiful descriptions with hieroglyphs. It was a gold enameled chair that had belonged to King Tutankhamun.

Inzamam and I decided to visit the museum’s gift shop, having seen the treasures. There we bought some postcards of the artifacts that we had seen.

“Wow, that was pretty remarkable,” Inzamam commented.

“I can’t believe that they have been preserved so well all this time. Isn’t that so amazing?!” I said.

“Well, Egyptians were experts in preserving material. You know like Egyptian Mummies…” he continued explaining.

I laughed and said, “Yes, you’re right Inzamam! Well, I guess we had better make our way back to the hotel now.”

We caught the taxi and went back to our hotel in Cairo. We dined and then rested in the lounge in our five-star hotel.

I could hear in the lobby was a man playing a grand piano. It sounded so melodious, soothing and relaxing. He was entertaining us by playing beautiful music in the background.

“ You know Inzamam, we saw some lovely and impressive Egyptian antiquities, whilst we were at the Cairo Museum,” I said.

“ Yes, people travel far and wide… in fact all over the world to see beautiful antiquities like this.” he commented.
We dined and discussed over all the items that we had seen. Inzamam said that he particularly liked Tutankhamun’s gold mask. He said that he was surprised that the items in the Cairo Museum were preserved so well. It was several thousand years back that the artifacts were buried in the tomb.
I told him that we must visit the Valley of the Kings. This was where King Tutankhamun’s tomb was situated.

Valley of the Kings, Luxor, Egypt & Abu Simbel.

We decided that we would make a trip to the Valley to the Kings. We got into a bus, and when we were closer, we traveled by camel to the Valley of the Kings, Luxor. There was sand everywhere in the valley. There were several tombs present in the Valley of the Kings.
There were small openings in the sand for each individual tomb. I wanted to see Ramses II tomb. It was supposed to be one of the longest tombs in the Valley of the Kings.
Each pharaoh built their tomb during their lifespan. In simplicity, the longer their lifespan, the longer they could build their tomb. Pharaoh Ramses II lived very long reigning almost for 70 years, therefore his tomb was one of the biggest and longest in the Valley of the Kings. Lot of the tomb was dilapidated and worn out, however we saw a number of inscriptions on the walls of the tomb and also hieroglyphs.
I was told that the father of Ramses II was Pharaoh Seti I of Egypt.

We traveled down south of Egypt for several days until we reached Abu Simbel which was north of Sudan.
I had been looking forward to seeing Abu Simbel in Egypt. Abu Simbel was a place near the Lake Nasser, and there were some lovely ancient monuments over there.
Here there was a huge, colossal sculpture on the rock face of the Pharaoh Ramses II. We saw the sculpted monument as we passed through the lake by boat.
It was an international heritage site and it had been reconstructed and raised upwards from the banks of the Lake Nasser, so that it would not submerge. This was achieved at the priceless cost of millions of dollars back in the 50’s and 60’s.

Egypt: To Saqqara

The next day we took rest at our Cairo hotel, and relaxed. We were deciding to go to Saqqara in Egypt where there was The Step Pyramid built by Pharaoh Zoser, who built one of the first successful pyramids, with gradient steps climbing upwards, almost like a staircase. This Pyramid was built in 2600 BCE by the Pharaoh at that time. I took my camcorder with me, and mounted the bus that was waiting to take us to Saqqara.
It was a short half-an-hour drive, and we arrived at Saqqara. The winds were blowing strongly, and my cap flew off my head. I was wearing my ski-glasses in the sun, as Inzamam took some video footage of me beside the Step Pyramid of Saqqara. The Step Pyramid looked golden and weathered, as it had stood the test of time. Inside the Step Pyramid were some inscriptions called the Pyramid Texts. Hieroglyphs and cartouches were inscribed inside the walls of Zoser’s Step Pyramids. The Pyramid Text recounted like a historic chart the dynasties of all the Pharaoh’s over all of Egyptian history.

“Hey, look at the Pyramid Texts,” said Inzamam whilst inside the Step Pyramid, “and you’ll see that King Tut’s name has been erased from the historic texts. That’s why no one could find his tomb for thousands of years. I guess that’s how they found it intact after such a long time.”

“You know his uncle took over from King Tut, when King Tut was dead. He erased traces of Tut’s existence from all the records.”

“That is so incredible!” he said.

King Tutankhamun’s life was very short, he died around 18 years of age, in middle of his adolescence. The cause to this day is still unknown. King Tutankhamun was a Pharaoh and son of Pharaoh Akhenaten.

Return to our hotel.

We traveled back to our hotel by our tourist bus, and then rested for a while.

The next day, I went to some shops nearby. I wanted to buy some papyruses for friends and family. I bought a huge Egyptian papyrus in one shop. I showed it to Inzamam.

“ You can tell its genuine papyrus because it is criss-crossed as a pattern. If it were banana leaf then it wouldn’t be the case and also it would be brittle. Beware of fake papyrus! ” Inzamam pointed out to me.

“Thanks Inzamam, I didn’t know that.” I said.

Sometimes, I wondered how Inzamam was so knowledgeable on Egyptian customs, antiquities and items. He seemed so helpful, and I was most of time so grateful, of his views and opinions.

He got a call from his girlfriend. She asked us how we were getting along in Egypt.

I told her on the phone that we had seen the Pyramids of Giza, and Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s treasures, including the Valley of the Kings, Saqqara and Abu Simbel.

“ Did you find it interesting?” she asked politely.
“ Yes, I also found our time in Turkey fun as well. It was more social, and entertaining.” I told her.
I handed the phone to Inzamam after talking to her. Inzamam had a long conversation with her. Finally, he put down the phone.

“It is very good that we didn’t go to Alexandria which is north-west of Cairo, as there is not so much to see in the way of Ancient Egyptian monuments. It is a sea port and is mainly influenced by Roman architecture.” Inzamam commented.

I put on my black sunglasses. It was very warm and humid outside. We ate out in a restaurant and discussed amongst ourselves future plans. We had given everything much thought and we decided that we would take the next flight and head back to UK. It had been an eventful time and quite an enjoyable and interesting experience.

Trip back to UK.

We were still lazing around at our Cairo hotel.

I held in my hands the small, stony scarab beetles that a shopkeeper had given me.

“So far, so good,” I thought, “ I had been very fortunate so far. I had experienced a very good time in Cairo, Luxor, Saqqara, and Abu Simbel.”

I scoffed at what the fortune-teller had told me.

“ I believe that the scarabs have brought you good luck and fortune, my dear friend!”

Inzamam said this giving a grin and a smile.

I smiled back. I felt reassured and confident with Inzamam’s warm remarks.

His girlfriend was very sweet-natured. She even rang us up to see how we were doing and to inquire about where we had been.
We collected all our belongings and gift wrapped all the presents that we had
collected.
I told him that I was excited to meet my little brother, and give all the gifts that I had for him. He would like the board game, he was into those kind of things. My little brother liked toys and he used to play with them very often.
He was simple in his own way. I would meet my family and show them all that I the items that I had bought for them. I looked forward to meeting my college friends to relate to them all the experiences of the travels that I had undertaken.
I rang up Inzamam’s parents and thanked them for the time that we had in Turkey. I also thanked them for inviting me to Inzamam’s cousin’s wedding.
I told Inzamam that I had enjoyed my time in Turkey. It was a remarkable place with lots of interesting items and artifacts. I simply loved my time there, and most important was getting to meet Turkish people, customs and culture.
We had decided that we would both go back to London, UK. It was an eventful trip and quite tiring. I had found that walking though the Arabian Desert was the most tiring and challenging. The heat there was immense, and burning a lot.
I found walking through the Arabian Desert endless. I kept on thinking that it was so unbelievable: There was sand for miles, and there was no one around, just lifelessness and no water was available.
I was glad that we had made the trip by camels. It was a lot easier that way . Traveling by foot through the desert, would have been impossible, and way too tough.
After I had packed all of my belongings, I rang up my parents to tell them that I would be coming back home to UK with Inzamam.

“ Well, how was your time in Turkey and also Egypt? Did you find the Arabian Desert challenging? How did you cope?” my Mum asked inquisitively.
“ Well, I found Turkey an interesting experience. I also enjoyed Inzamam’s cousin’s wedding. I liked all the Ancient Egyptian monuments that I saw. I also liked King Tutankhamun’s treasures. They were ever so beautiful and I simply could not believe that they were so well preserved. Going by camel through Arabian Desert was tough, and hard work. Still I enjoyed it all the same.”
My Mum passed the phone to Dad.
“ Well have you bought some gifts for you little brother?” Dad asked.
I felt Dad was really comical, always concerned about everything. Of course he was right, appeasing my little brother was very important. I did not want to disappoint him.
“ Yes I bought him some gifts. I bought him a board game. I felt that he might like that.” I said.
“That is very good to hear. When will you be coming back home?” he asked.
“ We are leaving today by plane from Cairo, Egypt, by plane and we should be back in London,Heathrow UK, by tomorrow at 4pm in the afternoon. Will you both be able to meet us there?”
“ Yes, that should be possible. Look forward to meeting you in London, Heathrow.” he said satisfied and content.
He put down the phone. We left the hotel and mounted all the luggage into the boot of the taxi waiting for us. We went to Cairo airport. The airport wasn’t crowded, however there were a few people around. We checked in our luggage, got our tickets for the flight and after reclining in the transit lounge for a while, we boarded the plane. The plane took off from Cairo and we were on our way back to England, UK. I looked out of the plane’s window, and I could see down below.
The plane was flying on its route to England from Egypt. I could see the Mediterranean Sea down below. I closed my eyes and rested in the plane. Inzamam was watching a film inside the plane, with his headphones on.
I asked him how it was. He said that it was quite good. He liked it very much.
There were a few more hours till we reached UK. Time passed, and I was relaxing in my seat.
We were now landing in UK. Our plane landed on the Heathrow runway. The pilot announced that we had arrived at London, Heathrow, UK.
We got off the plane and collected our luggage. We had arrived back home.
My parents were waiting for us outside. They waved to us and my little brother was excitedly waving to us. My father and mother hugged us, as they were glad that we had arrived back safely.

THE END.

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