Friendly, gracious and hospitable. An Egyptian Orthodox Christian or Coptic, mid 30’s, single, born and raised in Cairo. He speaks perfect English and has traveled to and experienced more places in the U.S. than most Americans. I receive a daily call (I now have an Egyptian SIM card) or email from him, asking if all is well, if I need any assistance, have any questions, etc.
He is a kindred spirit that by chance I met on the airport bus in Vienna. My only regret is that I did not ask him to sit and talk with me on the nearly empty flight from Vienna to Cairo. We are now making up for my omission.
Two nights ago he insisted that Luis and I join him for dinner. He arranged a Uber driver to meet us at the Pyramid View Hotel and take us to meet him in downtown Cairo. After an exciting drive (every drive in Cairo is exciting) we met at one of the most spectacular restaurant locations in Cairo, on the tip of an island in the middle of the Nile. We sat 10 feet from the river. It felt like home. Moro felt my Ka, somehow. He repeatedly refused our offers to pay for anything.
The three of us had a wonderful dinner, drinks and great conversation. We went to see Moro’s store then he drove us around Tahrir Square (which I walked around yesterday, something I wanted to do on my visit to Cairo – an experience similar to going to Ferguson, Missouri for a lunch of fried chicken soon after the riots). Moro then drove us home to our hotel in Giza.
I will reconnect with Moro here in Cairo upon my return in 2 weeks.
I have been busy. Too bad I cannot upload photos, but I will when there is a solid inet connection.
Yesterday’s tour with our guide included the Egyptian Museum, rated as one of the best in the world. It contains thousands of items from King Tut’s tomb (but not his mummy which is in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor), statues, carvings, mummies and countless ancient artifacts. Went to Saqqara, Memphis and the step pyramid of Zoser, which preceded the great pyramids of Giza (there are several hundred pyramids in Egypt) and the open air musuem. Walked through the oldest large cut stone building in the world. I looked in awe and stood next to ancient carved hieroglyphs that were > 4000 years old.
Spent several hours walking the narrow alleys of Khan El-Khalill, full of souks (shops) selling every imaginable Egyptian item any tourist or traveler, male or female, could ever desire. I saw thousands and thousands of houkas. I repeatedly did the tourist dance but left without a single purchase other than a watermelon smoothie.
We removed our shoes and walked the floor of the Mosque of Mohamed Ali Pasha and the Citadel, which dates to 1126.
Earlier in the long day I purchased several handmade papyrus Egyptian prints, which will be wonderful art adorning a wall in my home, somewhere, among the other traveler stuff I have framed.
Luis returns to Chicago early in the AM and I will miss his friendly smile, companionship and Ka, but another intrepid traveler will enter to fill the void that his departure will create.
I am sure of it.
The Ka (kꜣ) was the Egyptian concept of vital essence, that which distinguishes the difference between a living and a dead person, with death occurring when the Ka left the body. Egyptians believed that Heket or Meskhenet was the creator of each person’s Ka, breathing it into them at the instant of their birth as the part of their soul that made them be alive. This resembles the concept of spirit in other religions.
The Egyptians also believed that the Ka was sustained through food and drink. For this reason food and drink offerings were presented to the dead.