Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sheesha and Graffiti

A few odds and ends from our trip to Egypt.
You may recall the prolific scrawlings of The Great Belzoni.  But he is far from the only European to take chisel or ink to ancient structures in Egypt.  It seems rather gauche to us, but slapping the equivalent of "Kilroy was here" to indicate that you were the first Westerner to see something was once considered a form of exploring.  Now the graffiti has become a part of the historic record.  There are extensive websites devoted to this topic: http://www.travellersinegypt.org/archives/2005/01/graffito_graffiti.html

Here is a quaint image:
Note the pyramids of Giza in the background.  At times it is difficult to tell the officials from the hucksters.  Wandering around the less touristed back side of the pyramid complex we encountered an officer in full uniform who in very friendly fashion offered to show us the inside of one of the subsidiary tombs.  Once we had seen it he stood astride the exit with palm outstretched looking for baksheesh before we were able to leave!
Here is the picture that once dredged up off the internet will put paid to any nascent political career I might be considering.  But it is nothing illicit.  Puffing on a waterpipe full of some kind of flavored tobacco is a major social pastime in Egypt.  I seem to recall it was referred to as "sheesha".  Not a habit I have any notion of continuing.

My son juggling by the Nile.  We did not see much in the way of street performance other that a couple of rather unenthusiastic snake charmer guys.  I got the impression that you had to have the permission of somebody-maybe the police, maybe the street person guild-to do stuff in public, so he kept his practicing to private spaces.

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