Monday, November 7, 2011

Further Reasons My Life is a Farce... or My Unintentional Battle With God.

As I mentioned in my First Guest Post, People always think that I’m being facetious when I say that I truly believe that my life is a farce. As a result of the comedic twists that befall me, twice in my life, I thought it was a good idea to do battle with God over my perception of unfair treatment. The first was in high school… and intentional... and it didn’t end well. My second time at arms was completely one sided. For this entry, I thought we could take a leap to the time I went to Egypt for a month for a study abroad graduate course, and a world of misfortune rained upon my head for weeks. Literally. Misfortune LITERALLY rained down upon my head.

Thanks for noticing me...

The trip started out with such promise. Life had been pretty devastating the five months prior to going, and I was really looking forward to escaping from my current realities. My roommate for the trip, Amanda, and I bonded immediately over our matching J. Crew hair clips and Coach wristlets. I was in photography heaven, and it was fascinating to learn about this new, exotic land.

Oh btw this post gets real-people pictures. Get excited. Also, that's the Nile in the background. Turns out, it IS just a river Egypt.

Within the first week, we went to see the Pyramids.

No, not those.

As a lifelong dream, I was thrilled. Upon our arrival, we first went to the Great Pyramid, and of course, our group couldn’t wait to clamber out of the bus, climb up, and have our pictures taken.

 That's me. Mary. Before climbing the Pyramid. Graceful. Not awkward.

Excited, awestruck, and so excited, we mugged for the camera and gloried in the fact we’re on the Great Pyramid. We climbed up several levels and I, being full of grace, elegance, and cat-like agility, volunteered to take a group shot.

See. I'm graceful. Cat-Like. Not awkward at all.

See, the Pyramid is very tall. And awkward. And not Cat-Like.

The Pyramid is very large. In order to get the photo, I was going to need to back up a little... I really wanted a good picture of everyone, and I wanted to convey that they were on a Pyramid, not just standing by some stone blocks. I backed up again to fit everyone into this group shot... Where-in, I fell off of the pyramid. I FELL OFF OF THE PYRAMID.

Very much like this.

Landing with the full weight on my ankle (my good ankle mind, the other one is pretty lousy), I immediately felt pain and discomfort. I tried to ignore it, and just continued to hope that it was merely sore. No such luck. Do not sprain your ankle in a third world country. 1. There is no way I was trusting an Egyptian hospital to see to it. 2. The only medical treatment available is a whopping dose of Aleve and an ACE bandage. 3. Gypsy Bedouin hustlers with camels will hoist you onto their camels against your will and demand money. Huzzah. Crippled, I limped about for the entire remaining trip.

 For some reason, my fellow travellers found me less adorable.

That same night, we departed Cairo via train to get to our next destination, Sohag. Not airplane, not bus, not stage coach... TRAIN.

Our method of transport can only be described as a MURDER TRAIN. In all sincerity, it was an overnight express train that felt eerily like a cattle car with scary dentist seating. Weird whistling noises, flickering lights, open, breezy windows, freezing temperatures, things that go bump in the night... just your standard Scary-Horror-Movie-Murder-Express-turned-into-slasher-flick thoroughfare. Needless to say, jostling, terrifying, sleepless ride… not conducive to making ankle better.

This is the train station. Crippled, I had to clamber over this mess while lugging my suitcase.

We’ll skip forward a week or so, past more tragic ankle pain, fear of being trapped in a tomb by a disgruntled tourguide, and encounters of racism with scary locals… to our arrival on Mount Sinai.

Pretty mountains, what can go wrong?

Amanda and I were told that we were rooming in small guesthouses, in rooms of 6. We were fortunate to get housed with 4 other girls that we very much liked. Sinai looked to be a respite for a relaxing 4-5 days of reflection. Or so I thought... 

In the middle of the night, I awoke, feeling as though I was dying of stomach pains. Sidenote: Worst places in the world to get food poisoning? Third world country. I literally felt like I had poison, or death, or a nest of aliens infested in my digestive tract.

For several days, I was convinced that my death from Alien eruption was imminent.

For the next week, I was down with the plague: Fever, nausea, achiness, and inability to keep down food. I was unable to make it up the mountain to see the sunrise. All that kept me going was the thought that we would soon be in the Red Sea resort town, Dahab. I pictured white beaches, and improved accommodations, and finally some sun, sand, and relaxation.

The thoughts of white, sandy beaches may have been a hallucination. I'm told that's another symptom of the Black Death, ravenger of peace.

Our arrival in Dahab was desperately needed. Amanda and I rejoiced. We went out to a nice restaurant, and sat out in the sun overlooking the Red Sea. There to my horror, I discovered that flies had attacked me in swarms. I was covered in bites ALL OVER MY FACE. Angry red pock marks covered my features. Dismayed, I wrapped myself in a balaclava, and betook myself to an internet café for some assurance from home.

This happened. UPON MY FACE.

And then the night came. And it rained… and rained… and rained. IN THE DESERT. I was in the internet café, gchatting with people from home when the power went out to the whole city. It was so dark, and the rain, so torrential, that the Internet Café owner had to escort me back to my room. Snuggling under the covers, my roommates and I were relieved the day was over. EXCEPT IT WASN’T. My roommates and I quickly learned that it was not just raining outside the room, it was raining INSIDE the room.  RAINING INSIDE THE ROOM. INSIDE THE ROOM, IN OUR RESORT TOWN ACCOMODATIONS, IN THE DESERT. 

We had but one umbrella for four people. At least it was a cute one.

By the end of the night, we had amassed 6 inches of rain INSIDE OUR ROOM. Barefoot and huddled under umbrellas, we managed to convince the hotel staff (with a great deal of gesturing, angry inflections, and sharp language) to let us move to higher ground.

Not only were we at the Red Sea, but it parted into my hotel room.

For the next two days, we sat tight. With a citywide power outage, we were reduced to eating crackers we purchased at the Egyptian equivalent of a mini-mart. The airport at Sharm el Sheikh was closed, and even if planes were flying, we had no way to get there. The torrential storm had caused major road cave-ins and floods everywhere.

We easily could have gone the same way as the Velociraptors

 me: Katie, we were in a torrential rainstorm that closed the roads while in Dahab
 Katie: hahaha
 me: No, I have pictures.
The roads and electricity and internet were out for days
  we were concerned we would be stuck there
  AND I caught the plague while in Sinai
  like projectile vomiting my guts out
  AND flies attacked my face
me: Katie
  I have fly bites on MY FACE
Katie: awwww
 me: I have had a plague of locusts !!
Katie: hhahah hey
you caught the plague?!

It finally occurred to me. I had gone to God’s Mountain, much like Moses, and He had rained upon me the plagues of Egypt.

 Damn you Charlton Heston...

Katie: hahahaha well you know what they say
 "God helps those who help themselves"
me: I have been
 He's not fighting fair!
Katie: hahahhha

Fortunately for us, we found two gutsy drivers that were willing to traverse across the desert and caved in roads. It was really scary, because the roads had mostly been obliterated… but we made it to the airport and were able to catch flights back to Cairo.  

 These used to be roads...


We spent our last days in Cairo, dreaming of hot dogs and Tivo. Never have I wanted anything more than to return home to my friends, family, and Charmin. I felt like Egypt had chewed me up and spit me back out...

If only the money money part was real...

Someday, I think I’d like to return to Egypt. Now, armed with much knowledge and experience, and an awareness to not fall off of a pyramid, I think I will be better prepared. I have also learned once and for all, that one can never do battle with God. Even unintentionally.

me:  I come bearing gifts!
Katie: mary i love you
me: and the plagues of egypt


  1. I blame being a firstborn. You know that they don't like that.

  2. Someone named Misfortune fell on your head?! An odd choice of name on his (her??) parents' part, but really quite prophetic!

  3. "I literally want to rip your head off"


    "NO. I LITERALLY want to rip your head off."