February 21, 1922, Dear Diary; Today is my last full day in Cairo, and I am at that moment of time between past and future, yesterday and today, dawn and sunset. Tomorrow I set forth on the grand adventure on the Dahabiyya Hadeel, exploring the Nile with Professor Burton, and attempting to solve the mystery of the golden cat.
Right now there is only this moment, this horizon, Akhet. Guarded by Sef and Duau, "yesterday" and "today". I cherish this precious moment, this pause, and try to hold it still, but I know Time is moving forward. The Egyptians often placed lions at the doors of palaces and tombs to guard them against evil spirits and malevolent beings. I hope the lions will guard me on the journey that lies ahead.
February 21, 2009, Dear Diary: There is no mention of the unknown Pharaoh or the cartouche that appeared in her dream of the day before this, or of her discovery. Just that final delicious moment of anticipation and anxiety before setting out on a long-awaited journey. Savoring that sweet moment just before setting foot outside the door and crossing the threshold, the beginning of the journey of a lifetime.
Ah, I sigh to myself. I too would like to set out on such a grand journey. I look up the word in Arabic, and it is "safra" ( سفرة ), from which the Swahili word "safari" came. I learn that this wonderful word was introduced to English by Sir Richard Burton, the Nile explorer, and relative of that (rather shady) professor friend of my great-grandmother's. Although, I like the Arabic word "safra" better, it seems more poetic.
I decide that I will learn a few words and phrases of Arabic in the upcoming days.
Egypt & The Nile with Juliana Coles March 11-22, 2009