Friday, July 18, 2008

Tour de Sunshine!

Amy of ‘Soccer Ball and Conference Calls’ was curious about the location of my header (before I ruthlessly trash it). I figured I’d make a story of it since I’m out of ideas for the day and the kids only have three hours in camp.

When my two year Peace Corps stint was over, Chris, Rena and I decided we hadn’t had enough of filtering our water and squatting in pit latrines. I had a cast iron stomach and thighs that could crush walnuts – I should take advantage of this while I have it, yeah? Another few months of hard traveling were in order.
(Nut crushing thighs are achieved by reading mail while copping a squat over a pit latrine for 10 minutes.)

There are plenty of stories, most of which involve drying our underwear on bushes, but I’ll go with my header and tell you about our day at the Valley of the Kings near Luxor, Egypt.

We had done most of our sightseeing on our own, but felt the Valley of the Kings warranted a guide. Oh, and we got a tour guide alright – Mahmoud, who dubbed his tour group “Sunshine” and would call out “Sunshine” on his bullhorn to herd us like cattle to the next site. I’d say that ten times of hearing “Sunshine” yelled over a bullhorn was a mental limit and going back over my travel diary, I have written that the gist of the tour was “hurry up and shut up”.

(from the journal) - Dec. 27 Mahmoud “Sunshine” describing Hatshepsut’s Temple for the billionth time – “You will remember you’re still looking at the very famous temple…”

On our tour, we met a fellow American named Jose who pretty much had everything stolen in Cairo, and turned out to be a fascinating guy. It’s 12 years later and I can’t remember what made him so fascinating, but Jose and I joined ourselves at the hip immediately. We entered our own little personal world of you’re-the-most-interesting-person-I’ve-ever-met and missed getting our ID’s back from Sunshine at one point. Sunshine comes over to lecture us, we laugh it off and everyone just stares at us like we have a third head.

We shuffled with the rest of the group, endured a few more hard stares, saw fascinating things, got lectured on the idle chit chat a few more times and then join everyone walking back to the tour bus. Jose stops to haggle for a carving, and we get on the bus where we have more deep discussion. At least as deep as you can have with a guy that you met 2 hours ago. Which in our case was pretty deep because 10 minutes later I look around and the bus is empty. Jose and I had gotten on the wrong tour bus and everyone else was GONE.

Aw crap. I could only imagine the wrath of Sunshine when he found us missing. We scrambled off the bus and immediately found a taxi to catch up with our group. We attempted to slip back into the herd, but no one was slipping in on Sunshine’s watch. There was a bullhorn lecture from Sunshine and a pissed off Australian added his two cents. If only “talk to the hand” existed back then.

After the tour, we parted ways. Jose – wherever you are – that was the funnest afternoon I ever had. SUNSHINE! SUUUUUNSHIIIIIINE!


Posted at Humor-Blogs.


LceeL said...

a list for you:

Carrighfergus, from 'Elemental' by Loreena McKennitt

Boudicea, from 'The Celts' by Enya

Look What They've Done to My Song, from 'Old Butch Warrior' by Melanie

Oh No, Not I, from 'Turnaround' by Stan Rogers

swampy said...

What an incredible story. Makes my life seem so boring and makes me seems so lazy...seem lazy? Oh wait, I am compared to this.

Kelly said...

That is so cool. How exciting to know a real life seasoned I may need to live vicariously through you, m'kay? :)

Sue said...

ummm....this one time?......I was in this really really dusty part of Connecticut?.......and they didn't have any Diet Coke - only regular. So, I feel you with the whole world-travel thing.

Jenn Thorson said...

I've always wanted to see the pyramids of Egypt, the Valley of the Kings being hugely on that list.

Poor you and Jose, though. Lost in Egypt, missing the bus, and Sunshine acting as an angry dorm mother. :)

sista #2 said...

ok my life is dull. I love the photos.


for a different kind of girl said...

I read this post from my home in the same town I grew up in, so these adventureous stories thrill me! I have a friend who went to Hungary (after his original destination of Pakistan was thwarted three times!) for the Peace Corps after we'd been out of college a year. I imagine it's wonderful, but again, I'm sitting in the my house in the same town I grew up in!

Caroline said...

My dream is to go there someday! What a great trip and experience!

I guess I have to settle for the Luxor in Vegas...

Bobbi said...

I'm going to have to have my 16 year old daughter read your blog. She wants to join the Peace Corp after graduating high school, but we are trying to get her to wait until after college. Since you've been there and done that, what would you suggest? I just feel she needs to get her formal education out of the way before making such a big commitment.

damon said...

Someday I'd looove to go to Egypt. It's on my 'before I die' list. Sound like you had a great time, despite the bullhorn!

Still crackin' walnuts?

Alice said...

Lou - Thanks! Have you ever listened to June Tabor? You may like her based on your list.

Swampy - Actually, I'm pretty lazy too.

Kelly - OK, but only if I can cook vicariously through you. ; )

Sue - Making mental note to avoid CT. I don't do hardship anymore if I can avoid it.

Alice said...

Jenn - Hah. I wasn't too sad about it all. Jose was a blast!

Sista 2 - Thanks! And I somehow suspect that your life isn't dull at all.

FADKOG - They had PC in Pakistan?!?! Who knew? And to think that we thought Chad was the worst country to get sent to.

Caroline - I'm partial to the Luxor in Vegas too. Slot machines...*drool*...

Bobbi - She can write to me anytime! Unless she has some kickin' agricultural skills from life on a farm, I'd tell her to finish college first. Peace Corps will only take you with a skill that you can take with you. I had taken enough credits to get a teaching certificate as an undergrad which made me a teacher over there. They also look for business folk, health educators, etc. Check out their site!

Damon - Definitely go! I can't even describe the amazingness. And no, I can no longer crack walnuts. I could maybe smash a doughnut.

VE said...

I love reading travel stories. I mean to go there in the future. I can relate to wrong bus. I've done that. I even got on the wrong plane on two different trips while in Sao Paulo Brazil. Both times I was bound for Argentina and got on a plane for Rio. Talk about Freudian slips...

Ellie said...

I love it. And there's nothing better than that me-and-you-against-everyone-else bond you form when you meet someone like that. The ol' stranger-on-a-plane scenario. It changes you forever; you never forget it.

Sparkliesunshine said...

Wow! That is such an interesting story and it's so cool to hear that you were in the peace corps. I think about that from time to time.

♥Shally said...

I love that you are well travelled... that is hard to find now a days.

Egypt is the one place that I have really wanted to go and haven't. I lived over seas for 5 years, and just never went! How sad!

I hope I can take my kids someday..

Meg said...

I so need to have one of those "you're-the-most-interesting-person-I've-ever-met" encounters!!!!!!!

Alice said...

VE - I'm still drooling over your Belize pictures. As soon as I get my grubby hands on some cash..

Ellie - Yeah, ol Sunshine was our common enemy. He was just so annoyingly funny.

Sparklie - Do it girl! Quite the adventure, but I'll admit that it's not for everyone. We probably lost about 7 people from our group who couldn't handle it.

Shally - Where did you live overseas? I'd love to take the kids, but the world seems to get crazier and crazier.

Meg - They're pretty awesome. Too bad they are few and far between. Luckily, drinking beer helps improve your chances (or at least make you think so.) *going to get beer*

Manager Mom said...

I'm feeling an exercise video in your future - "Alice Presents: The Daily 10-Minute Latrine Routine," guaranteed to get your thighs into cracking shape.

You will make a FORTUNE.

Bobbi said...

Hi Alice!
Sorry about the change in blog address, but in order to have all my blogs listed under the same email address, I had to change the url by one letter. My rants page is now:
http://rightmyerrants dot blogspot dot com.
Sorry for any inconvenience!

Tina said...

Wow - what a fabulous memory to have! Sunshine made me laugh...As for the pie pan, not a clue. It's a total mystery. We'll probably find it when we move unless Buster ate it, but he seems fine.

Steph said...

Oh holy crap, SUUUUNSHINE!

Have you read Mark Twain's Innocents Abroad? I think after reading your story, you might appreciate his take (and subsequent torture of) tour guides for hire.

P.S. - I am so jealous that you were able to visit the valley of the kings. How cool is that?

P.P.S. - Thanks for the link to etsy. I've never heard of it but now I am hooked. Laundry may never be done at my house again for want of time away from the internet.


Jose! He's the star of one of my kids favorite jokes about the Mexican who goes to an American ballgame and gets excited when he hears the national anthem "JOSE can you seeee......" and thinks they're singing it to him.


My only travel stories are stuff like hitting every Stuckey's from Indiana to Texas to eat pecan logs and getting sick somewhere in Missouri on a newly debuted McDonald's McRib sandwich. It was grey. That should have been our first clue.

Amy said...

Thank you soooo muchos for the long awaited answer~ Cole has been asking me, "Mom, when are you going to find out where that picture was taken, WHHEN? When, mom?" OY. So thank you for the cool story and awesome pictures. My sister, Kate, is in Tanzania right now in the Peace Corps, squatting over open holes in the ground, hopefully getting walnut crushing thighs also~ I think you've already left her a comment at Can I Wear Stillettos In the Peace thank you for that~ she has no electricity/running water, so she checks e-mail every 2 weeks or so. Thanks again~ Have a great weekend.

JD at I Do Things said...

So, will the underwear-drying-on-bushes stories come later?

I loved this post. I wasn't quite as adventurous as you in my youth (tho I will admit to having nut-crushing thighs more as a result of hovering over toilet seats in college bars), but I did get out and see a bit of the world.

If you can appreciate the history, beauty, and culture of a new place AND meet amazing people: you've got yourself a memorable experience.

Kylie in Warsaw said...

I love it! I totally know what you're talking about and I love that about you:)!

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