Saturday, October 11, 2014

Egypt, part 4, Luxor(part 2): little moments

Trips to the unknown are built like a body. There are the essentials--the framework, the bones, the home base. Where you are staying. Your trajectory from here to there and back. There is you, and there might be whoever you are traveling with. Their bones and your bones and the big things(where the head rests, points on a map, the sleeping and the being awake) are the essential bodily things.

There is the muscle and guts. The plan, the agenda--the bumpy plane ride, the desert pointed to from above, the destinations of temple, ruins, pool, river. These are the bits you recount for others, traveling and still, who might relate or have their own bits of muscle to share.

The people, the places, the plan--all muscle and guts and bone.

Find the sinew linking it all in little moments. Every journey has them. We had ours.

The wedding photographed at our hotel, up against the Nile at sunset. J went down to catch the sun slipping behind mountains up close and concentrated--I stayed upstairs to catch glimpses of the bride from our balcony. The bride took a picture by herself, and a boat drifted by at the moment of camera snaps, and even from upstairs I could hear all of the men on the falluca singing in unison to her. It was a song in Arabic and I could not catch any of the words. The men sang together, big bellowing lines, some of them standing with arms up, and I wonder if it was playful or mean--I wonder if they wished her well or sang cruel lyrics...I do not know. But with my camera I caught her reaction--she grabbed handfuls of her immaculate gown, hollered something in return and to the photographer, and stomped away with one hand shooing in front of her face. In there, a brief smile or grimace.

Little moments. Like the full moon finding us everywhere, including the Temple of Luxor.

Odd, irrelevant things. Like this dress shop. "Oh where DID you get that dress?" "Oh you know...Santa Claus."

Little details. Like a sphinx missing everything but his toes.

Sinew is the uncaptured. The camera missed or was forgotten altogether. Smoking shisha after dinner, marveling at a spider with the perfect home--a web constructed in an inlet backlit, boasting many flying and crawling creatures to be consumed. She hovered there, letting them fly right into her clutches. Or J ordering room service when I was too ill with a migraine to make it downstairs for dinner. He brought the tray to me in bed and taught me how to pull the whole heads from the body of shrimp. The night I became unreasonably mad at him when we were laying in bed talking about exes. Our housekeeper, who kept us guessing with his daily towel constructions:

Playing slow motion matrix punch-kicks in the swimming pool, the flat tire and flat spare. The incredible smell of the elevator(I know...strange but true. The elevator always smelled delicious).

The big things, of course. Of course I will remember them. The hustle at the Valley of the Kings, taking the falluca across the Nile before the sun was even up. The way J calmed me when my anxiety overrode everything else as our plane landed again in Cairo.

But it is the sinew--the tough tissue marrying muscle to bone. Tendons--some I can show but most I will not. They are the little things in all my travels that I remember most.

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