2014, A Reflection: Part 3/4


  • [Just a warning, readers, July was probably one of the most important months of my life thus far, and so this post is going to be hella long. Carry on.]
  • The month began in Paris, so how bad could it really be?
  • Jessica and I singlehandedly kept the McCafé at the Louvre open by our patronage. That shit is delicious.
  • Days and days were spent in idle wandering through the Louvre. Nothing better than being lost in the world’s greatest art museum.
  • I spent a day stalking the history of Jean-François Champollion, the man who first translated ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. It was fabulous. I found his apartment, I sat by his grave for a spell, and I found the original wings he curated at the Louvre. Perfect day.
  • We thought we were in the middle of a terrorist attack, but it was just raucous World Cup viewers.
  • I kind of fell in love with Clichy, the Paris suburb where Jessica and I rented an apartment. It was pretty, had a lovely park, there was a fabulous bakery, and the living was much cheaper. Besides, when it was junk day, treasures like this were out for the taking: 10401905_10202389169318812_2276702800996487015_n
  • For reasons that are still a mystery to me, I didn’t know that there was a CHANEL fashion show, so I hauled ass to the Champs-Élysées, but I missed Karl. I did see Jared Leto, though. I’ve never been closer to Karl. Someday it’ll happen. He’s my spirit animal.
  • Man buns were everywhere and I was determined to grow my own. My bold quest began: 13880_10202406700917091_3853388847184761067_n
  • I discovered that many of the museums were free if you were under 26, so Jessica and I hit them all up. We love museums.
  • We dined at Café Varenne, Ina Garten’s favorite restaurant in Paris. I giggled nervously, popped my collar, and said, “How bad could that be?” to everything.
  • We went down to the Bastille Day parade and saw President Hollande. Later that night, I went to see the firework show at the Eiffel Tower. I stood around for ages, but it was worth it. The show was beautiful, but absolutely terrifying as it was made to look like Paris was under attack.

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A bit of opera. A lot of class. #bastilleday

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  • Jessica convinced me to go to Disneyland, and it was the worst experience of my life. EVERYTHING was overpriced. The food was disgusting. The crowds were endless. I want to have that day erased from my memory.
  • Jessica flew back home and I was left alone in Paris for the first time in years and years and years. I had to either fly home or come up with a plan. I took myself to my beloved Mosquée de Paris to do some thinking and get free cake from the waiter that was flirting with me.10474034_10202454274186393_7741418069409892179_n
  • There, it was decided what I would do. I had always known what I was going to do. I WAS GOING TO EGYPT!!!!!!
  • I was very nervous about going to Africa, so I watched Joanna Lumley’s Nile for the millionth time, and she really soothed my nerves. This quote became my guiding light, “Quite a lot of life is like that; just get over it and just do it.”
  • I left my hometown, which I truly think of Paris as, and took off for the first leg of my flight, an evening in Athens. It was a blur. Great feta and hard liquor on the breakfast buffet, so I’ll be back.10479529_10202471620260034_4373023367704866506_n IMG_7593 10452291_10202471615059904_968493698002380790_n
  • Then it was all happening. All of my childhood fantasies were coming true. The plane landed in Cairo and my life became an adventure that even my imagination never dared to dream.
  • An insane old man took me from the airport to a dumpy hotel directly in front of the pyramids. He drove at 100 kilometers/hour, taught me filthy Arabic slang, and swerved wildly around camels. I kind of loved him. 10565167_10202496155953411_5760601780357208654_n
  • It took me a while to acclimate to the culture, but I quickly bonded with the other people who were at the hotel. Two were from Iowa — which is just crazy — and my favorite was my dear Melony from Australia. She was there on a mission to unlock the Hall of Records beneath the Sphinx. There’s a lot more to this story, but this post is already promising to be a long one. The whole experience of being with these new friends was kind of otherworldly, like being put into the middle of a cozy detective novel. I loved it. They inspired me.

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Evening prayer on the Giza plateau.

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  • The Pyramids were amazing, but the hustlers really damaged me emotionally. It was exhausting to be berated and harassed at every moment. I hid myself away in a temple by the Pyramid of Menkaure and bonded with a lizard while I regained my composure. IMG_7688Then I rode on a camel and got the hell out.
  • I remembered Joanna Lumley, and the thought of that wonderful woman reignited my courage to explore. So, off I went to the Egyptian Museum and it was delightful looking into the faces of long dead pharaohs and finally seeing artifacts I’ve studied since my youth. IMG_2407
  • I went walking through the streets of Giza with my new friends late at night and experienced all the culture I had been too afraid of a few days ago. The Egyptian people are warm and charming. I love them.
  • We went wandering through the amazing and disorientating Khan el-Khalili in the small hours of the morning and celebrated the Ramadan feast with charming devotees of Islam. Truly beautiful times. IMG_2420 10453472_10202488706527180_6846342636679755001_n
  • I was going to miss Melony and Nels and Lou. I was going to miss sitting on the rooftop and watching the sun sink between the pyramids and miss watching the feral cats leap from one building to the next and miss chatting about metaphysics and spirituality and history with my new friends. It was time to move on, but not before we had a pizza party on the roof for my farewell dinner. It was perfect.
  • I arrived in Luxor and had some of the best travel experiences of my life. I fulfilled one of my forever dreams by staying for six nights in the famous and historic Winter Palace. IMG_2543It was perfect. I felt just like Amelia Peabody.
  • My luxurious suite overlooked the beautiful gardens where I passed many hours in quiet contentment. IMG_2535 IMG_2464
  • I absolutely loved the Luxor Temple. It was beautiful and easily my favorite site in Egypt that I’ve seen so far. IMG_2470 IMG_2495 IMG_2512
  • Karnak Temple was too chaotic and rambling for me to truly enjoy. I decided to hire a guide, but he was awful. I enjoyed a couple hours alone in the Temple of Khonsu. IMG_7739 IMG_7754
  • The King of Saudi Arabia’s former private chef made me a massive vegetarian feast at Snob’s Restaurant. It was fabulous.
  • Warily, I booked a private tour of the Valley of the Kings and several mortuary temples on the West Bank. I should not have feared, my chauffeur, Hassan, and Egyptologist guide, Yasmin, were knowledgeable and flawless and I had the nicest time scrambling through ancient tombs and temples, meeting King Tut’s mummy, and chatting with my new friends in a quiet café. They even took me yachting down the Nile. It was magnificent. IMG_7797 IMG_7768 IMG_7811
  • I spent the rest of my time in Luxor luxuriating in the Winter Palace, being treated like a minor aristocrat by the staff, and eating too much room service. It was the best. IMG_2538
  • Then July drew to a close and I need a nap after all that.


  • I said goodbye to my beautiful Winter Palace suite and decided to retire there when I’m a proper age. Like 30, I think. 1972469_10202527208049694_7406773659083975450_n
  • I jetted to Cairo and then to the worst airport in all the world — Casablanca. They refused to accept my currency, had no place to change money, didn’t accept credit cards, and had no drinking water. I was there for too many hours and nearly died.
  • Finally, it was time to board the plane for New York City and the woman next to me had fleas.
  • I didn’t catch Ebola, which is a real shame, since it would have made such a fun story, and surely Ebola causes you to lose a few pounds.
  • New York was just as fun as it always is. I don’t know why I don’t spend more time there. I was reunited with ALFREDO’S, a place of so many happy memories. I shopped at Muji, ate cookies at Jacques Torres, walked through Central Park, stalked Martha Stewart, and just loved every moment. 10556474_10202542823760077_4800728204568819921_n
  • And then I was back home. BORING. I was joyously reunited with my cats, though, so it wasn’t all awful. 10521386_10202560707007147_1467024192619374515_n10377161_10202588072571269_5615338879955578474_n
  • I finally saw the broadway version of Evita. It was phenomenal, and surprisingly, I wasn’t ejected from the theater for outsinging the entire acting troupe.
  • I nearly died installing a bedskirt. I’m serious. It was the closest I’ve ever been to dying. Whoever designed them was an asshole with a curious sense of humor.
  • I ate one million tomatoes out of my garden. Perfect.
  • The cucumber mafia came for me. 10606540_10202635189429161_1845497843663672651_n
  • The travel bug was still messing with me, so Jessica and I made plans to go to Chicago at the end of the month for a One Direction concert.
  • After hours and hours and hours and a few panic attacks, Jessica and I arrived in Chicago just in time to see ONE DIRECTION perform. They were fabulous. We were unsatisfied with the experience, though, because of our stressful day, so we bought tickets for the next night’s show. YOLO.

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Turnt up for a day of eating.

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  • We stayed at The Drake, one of my favorite hotels, and had a great time getting room service, getting cupcakes, getting smoothie, eating at the fantastic RPM Italian, eating in general, and stalking the boys all over town. 10439036_10202700757148313_7419004435321260603_n
  • Jessica and I were turnt and 1DAF on the floor of Soldier Field, dancing our asses off, singing, partying with women in banana costumes, and ogling my future husband, Harry Styles. IMG_7937


  • Joan Rivers died and it emotionally ruined me for weeks. I loved her more than I can possibly tell you. She is one of my role models and biggest inspirations. I miss her every day.
  • I learned to foxtrot. I’ve not yet had a moment to demonstrate my skills.
  • I attempted to start a fitness regime, but I just couldn’t be bothered.
  • I became inexplicably obsessed with donuts and consumed an unhealthy number of the delicious treats.
  • I discovered that PASSION FRUIT was readily available at a grocery store in Des Moines and fell into a heap of happy, sobbing joy.
  • I finally received a chip card and my life had meaning again.
  • I got an addition to my future tattoo sleeve. 1601299_10202848199754286_6805636226324998864_n

The next installment should be much shorter. It has to be. My fingers are numb from typing all this.

2 responses to “2014, A Reflection: Part 3/4

  1. What a relief to find now and then an intelligent American, with a free mind, and more or less able to travel . Only for that I thank you . But it happens I also have a long personal history with Egypt . So this makes two reasons .
    Did you miss the Cairo Museum ? ( decided by the French, in the Napoleonian expedition when they found the necessary Rosetta Stone ) . With the British Museum and the Louvre, they are the 3 main Egyptian museums in the world . At least the two European are waiting for you ..

    • I enjoyed the Egyptian Museum in Cairo tremendously, and I’m looking forward to the Grand Egyptian Museum they are building on the Giza Plateau. Should be quite a spectacular place when it’s finished.

      I’ve been to the British Museum and the Louvre many times, as well, and they’re always a treat. Next on my bucket list of Egyptological museums is the Ägyptisches Museum in Berlin.

      Thanks for commenting.

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