LUXOR: The Mystery of Chicago House

Nobody bothered me as I stood there. All the touts knew me and knew I had my people. They were nothing but friends and strangers now. I was no longer a source of revenue. I was just a man. I was just Ben standing beside the Nile. I really don’t know how long I was there, but as I did, my life began to pass by in my memories. I was back at Egyptian Treasures with my dad and Donald, talking about Cairo and dreaming of treasure. I was on an ancient computer in elementary school furiously printing pages from the Theban Mapping Project. I was in Barnes and Noble buying discounted books. I was in the Louvre staring at hieroglyphs. I was screaming at textbooks. I was dreaming of the future. I was back on a rooftop in Giza with Lady M. I was wandering through temples with Abdul. I was breaking the Ramadan fast at the Khan el-Khalili. I was dreaming of digging. I was in raptures at the thought of the basements of the Egyptian Museum. I was drinking Stella again with Hassan. I was back by the Nile. And I was an Egyptian through and through.

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THINGS I LOVED/HATED THIS WEEK #184

There are so many wonderful things to see and to do. I will go to every museum, I will eat street tacos, I will sit in the squares and listen to music, I will walk through dimly lit streets and think of danger, I will go to Aztec ruins and climb pyramids, I will sit in my cozy apartment and write, I will shop for local goods, I will figure out what Mezcal is, I will find favorite bakeries and tortilla shops, I will listen to mariachi bands, I will gorge myself on chocolates, I will poison myself with the water, I will have the time of my life. It’ll be great and good and I just cannot wait to hop on the plane and discover a new world.

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LUXOR: The Ghost at Esna

I was lost in reverie when the temple first came into sight. And once my eyes had latched onto the yellow-brown stone, I felt the most inordinate connection. It wasn’t like I had been here before, or anything like what Lady M would have discussed at midnight on a rooftop in Cairo, this was something absolutely new. It was relief. I know that doesn’t make tremendous sense, and I can’t claim to understand the sensations I felt there myself, but I took great comfort in the Temple of Esna.

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THINGS I LOVED/HATED THIS WEEK #183

Still I dared to dream. I didn’t dare tell Jessica that we were almost assuredly not getting tickets because she would have had a meltdown and gone into a psychotic and depressive episode that she might never emerge from. So, when I was bizarrely lucky enough to get a code the night before, I was extra nervous. So many didn’t get codes. I did, though. Then the morning came. Ten o’clock came. Reader, I have rarely been more afraid.

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THINGS I LOVED/HATED THIS WEEK #182

It feels awfully peculiar knowing that I won’t be in dangerous territories, that I won’t be eating Parisian pastries for a month, that I won’t be lost in some horrible city where I don’t speak the language. That is the kind of thing I thrive on…I’m going to start furiously googling colleges and things to do in America that might be a bit off the beaten path. Maybe I’ll hike the Grand Canyon. Or perhaps I will drive to Mexico City! Or maybe I’ll rent a shack on a beach and write a book? Or maybe I’ll do none of this and learn to enjoy relaxation and the luxury of an empty schedule. I don’t know. We’ll see.

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