As you learned from Nia’s post yesterday, we just returned from a 7 day trip to Egypt. And I definitely agree with Nia, it was a pretty fantastic trip. It’s just impossible to do anything but marvel at these magnificent, GINORMOUS structures that were built thousands of years before. Seriously, the engineering feats they accomplished were unreal!
Today I thought I’d tell you more about Nia’s experience of Egypt. This destination was on the bucket list for all 3 of us. We had previously shied away from historical “learning” vacations because we didn’t think Nia’s attention span was long enough yet. We gambled on this one though because she’d shown a lot of interest in Egyptian culture and books. We thought that given how much she knew about it already, it might just hold her attention. She’d also shown a lot of interest in photography so we gave her an old camera to take her own pictures with. We crossed our fingers that between her inherent interest in the topic and the fun new use of a camera that we’d make it through several days of multi-hour tours in the hot sun.
For the most part our gamble paid off. She LOVED the camera (took 300 pictures). I’m pretty sure she photographed every item at our first stop, the Egypt museum. She’s also been doing a lot of writing in school (so far she’s done a non-fiction book, a fiction book, and a graphic novel). She is very proud of being a writer and decided she wanted to be like Mom and write her own blog post and illustrate it with her own photos. I thought that was a splendid idea, so throughout the trip we talked about what story she wanted to tell and how she was going to convey it. Midway through the trip she wrote out a table of contents by location and then went through her photos and selected the ones she wanted to include in each section. And finally, on our plane ride home, she dictated out her post to me. It was actually a fairly painless process. She knew exactly what she wanted to write about, which pleasantly surprised me. I have no doubt there will be more “Nia Posts” to come… :)
Overall I thought that Nia held up really well. She had loads (and I mean LOADS) of questions for the guides. Her class has also been talking a lot at school about being scientists and using your 5 senses to make discoveries. It was fascinating to watch her little brain take in new information and then compare it to what she already knew and make an inference or conclusion. She also found creative ways to keep herself engaged. For example, she learned the hieroglyphic symbols for her name and would look for those in all of the temple carvings. In the photo above she’s pointing to the squiggly line that represents an N.
She had 3 very distinct favorites, all of which included living (or once-living) things. The first was her camel ride around the pyramids. And I have to agree, that was way cool. If she were writing this she’d tell you that you get thrown backward and forward when the camel is standing up (kinda freaky feeling) and that it’s VERY high off the ground. Like way higher than a horse.
Next up was a horse ride that she got to do at one of our hotels. They walked her around for as long as she wanted and the kicker was that they added a little baby goat to ride with her. Was hilarious. Good, old-fashioned fun for sure.
She wasn’t so sure about the mummies at first and had talked about not even looking at them (and squeezing our hand as we went by them) but she succumbed to her curiosity and eventually checked them out. Creepy and cool is a good way to describe a mummy. In the end she decided that she really liked them and was going to take pictures to show the boys at school and “freak them out”. :)
I am pleased to report that tourism numbers are recovering in Egypt. Tons and tons of Germans and Chinese and a handful of Americans and other Europeans. The odd thing was that there were no children. Egyptian children were around with school tours, but as for tourist kids, I saw less than 10 on the entire trip. It really surprised me, especially given that it was spring break. The downside was that we couldn’t find anyone for her to play with at the resorts for most of the trip. But the upside was that she was oh-so-popular, which she loves.
The photo requests were non-stop. It got so excessive in places like the museum though that our guide had to start fending people off in Arabic. It was quite amusing. And she would have happily posed all day . . . but then we would have never gotten through our tour!
At our last stop we had the good fortune of meeting two lovely Egyptian girls who were close in age to Nia. We made the most of our 24 hours together, fitting in a couple swim sessions, a hotel room playdate and a night out dancing in the lounge. Here’s a picture of Nia and her new friend taking over the dance floor to showcase their awesome moves.
And that was right before she sang “Waka Waka” solo. Never a dull moment with this child. We are grateful for the excitement she brings though. I really enjoyed having her along on this trip. I feel like she helped me notice things that I otherwise would have overlooked. Children’s innate curiosity is such a gift.
More to come about the sights we saw in my next post…