Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Petra Unfolding

With no plane to catch, our wake up call is later than usual. Last night, we arrived after dark, so it is this morning that we take in our first glimpse of our surroundings. The views from the spacious decks of our luxury hotel overlook the sculpted rock formations adjoining Petra, one of the wonders of our world. Sadly, the morning skies are grey and there is a steady drizzle of rain, but the carved and weathered canyons unfolding beyond are breathtaking and inviting exploration. I am disappointed when our hike into Petra is postponed. To pass the time, I pay $10.00 to the hotel for internet connection and manage to send e-mail for one hour. The hour passes quickly; the rain subsides and by late morning our group begins the hike from our hotel into the canyons of Petra. Ordinarily, I have a vision of what to expect; but I know little about Petra and I take each step savoring the moment and without preconception. I am a geologist daughter and the hike itself is the adventure as well as the reward. For the first half mile the landscape is an expansive canyon of weathered rock formations on either side, narrowing imperceptibly as we proceed. We walk gently downhill, stopping frequently to listen to our guide explain the terrain and the archeological significance of this remarkable area. We reach a junction where a small and dry dam protects a narrow canyon branching off from the main artery. As the canyon narrows, I am delighted by the colors of the canyon walls; folds of red, black, ochre and grey rock create an abstract painting and I wish for better light and fewer tourists in order too take my photos. I wish that this canyon to go on indefinitely; but 3/4 of a mile further on, at the final snake of the canyon, the architectural splendor of Petra unfolds. The monumental facade of a building, over 200 feet high is carved into the rose colored rock face of the canyon wall. Please don't test me on the particulars of Petras' history; but as I understand, the city flourished in the 1st century B.C. and A.D. Petra was the thriving hub of commerce and trade. Frankincense oil, gold and spices were of considerable value and were stored and traded within Petra. Caravans arrived and departed from Petra.

"The ancient city of Petra was literally carved from the sandstone cliffs of southern Jordan. There the Nabataeans built temples and tombs, houses and halls, altars and aqueducts. And they built a civilization that stood at the crossroads of the ancient Near East, a center for commerce as the spice routes and trading trails of the time all flowed through Petra. At its peak the city of Petra was home to some 20,000 Nabataeans who, in the midst of the desert, built an ingenious system of waterways to provide their city with the precious liquid."

All is utterly breathtaking and unimaginable.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Promised Land

Our wake up call is at 4:30 A.M. for our morning flight between Cairo, Egypt and Amman Jordan. Our group shuffles sleepily through the buffet breakfast and boards the bus obediently for the hour drive to the airport through rush hour traffic. The morning is a blur of waiting in lines; security checks, baggage checks, passport and ticket checks and more security checks. We eventually board the plane and surprisingly, after all the security, are allowed to take photos of our group boarding the plane. My assigned seat is in the last row, middle seat, between two young, well dressed and handsome Arab men. The flight to Amman takes close to two hours and the plane is well appointed. I am very aware of the two bodies on either side of me, and they soon acknowledge my presence. Each passenger has his/her own small T.V. screen, mounted on the back of the seat in front. When I begin to fumble with the remote control the man to my left immediately comes to my assistance. I push a few buttons to no avail and the man to my right leans over to help. I am soon connected to the movie of my choice and thank my seat mates for their assistance. Although the flight is short, I loose myself in what I am watching until a rather elaborate “snack” is served. The man to my right offers me his juice, which I decline, but in turn I offer him the pastry that I have not touched. The man on my left offers me his fruit cup which I accept and I offer him my roll and butter. If only our international relations could be as simple and civilized as this. Words cannot express how delighted I am to be squeezed between these two gracious and accommodating men and for the three of us to be connecting.

We land in Amman shortly after 1:00 P.M. After claiming our baggage, we are herded out to the waiting busses for the three hour drive to Petra. I am stunned at how bleak the landscape is; only vast expanses of hard packed dirt and sand, punctuated by electrical wires and the occasional settlement. The flat topped buildings are without paint, camouflaged within the color of the landscape. There are no trees and there is no visible human presence within these settlements.

An hour into our journey, hungry and in need of restroom facilities, we stop at a tourist restaurant and gift shop. The exterior is nearly as bland as the miles of country we have traveled, but there are clean restrooms and the cavernous store is packed full of souvenirs to sell to us tourists. We are not in Egypt anymore. The prices here are two or three times what things cost in Egypt and I spend 5 dollars on a small bag of almonds to tide me over until dinner in Petra. Our 20 minute stop extends to over an hour as our group shops. Some in our group gravitate to the adjoining cafe, ordering plates of lamb and rice, salads and hummus. The almonds quickly loose their appeal and I am soon sharing plates of lamb and hummus with Stephanie.

Eventually we are on the road again. The sun is dipping low on the horizon and I find beauty in the starkness of the landscape, the power poles and the emptiness. An hour and a half later the road snakes up and then winds down into the town of Petra. It is dark when we arrive at our 5 star resort overlooking the sculpted canyons of Petra. ( I will be amazed at the view that I wake to in the morning.) As soon as baggage is unloaded and our rooms assigned Stephanie, Sandy and I, take a taxi, the short distance back into the town. The three of us spend a delicious two hours on our own, enchanted with the brightly lit tourist shops. We are seduced into one shop in particular; by a charming Bedouin man offering us cups of Turkish coffee and a story with every Pashima scarf. He has honed his ability to capture even the most difficult prey and I am soon allowing him to wrap my head with the scarves and I am encouraging both Stephanie and Sandy to purchase one. I too leave his shop with a Pashima scarf, and for $1 we share a taxi back to the hotel and fall into our luxury beds, exhausted.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Cairo Bazaar

Backtracking to earlier in the day; two free hours between our rooftop lunch overlooking the pyramids and actually getting to enter the site, we are promised free time in a bazaar. We have had very little free time and I imagine that I am finally going to be able to step into the side streets of Cairo and loose myself in the tiny shops crammed full of incredible temptations. Von leads our satellite group of about 20 along the sidewalk towards the bazaar. She is not an employee of Young Living, nor an employee of the tour company, but as a strong woman, she has taken on a leadership role in this tour. She is confident and straight forward and I like her. I believe that she is as bewildered as I am, when the directions given her, take us up a stone stairway and into a multilevel "department" store. I have an immediate gut wrenching reaction when I enter the ground floor to see "Papyrus" paintings illuminated, gallery style along the walls of a large show room. This is not a bazaar, but a government run shop and without thinking, I vocalize my displeasure. I exclaim that I do not want to be here. Visions of being trapped in government run stores in China flash through my mind, a horror endured some years ago on a first class tour to China. I head for the door and the freedom of the sunlit street outside, but already, many of our group have been enticed towards the stairway leading to the second floor. Reluctantly, I go upstairs, my intentions simply to tell the others in my group that I am going elsewhere and will meet them later, but I am derailed when I step onto the second level. The second floor is a visual delight of inlaid boxes, jewelry and tapestries. My comrades have already gravitated to the jewelry counters and several are engaged with sales personal discussing a custom design for a cartouche pendant. I lean over the shoulders of a few of my fellow travelers, curious as to what purchase they are contemplating. As a jeweler, I know the cost of gold per gram and I expect the shop to make a reasonable profit on both labor and materials; but I am floored when the prices quoted for the jewelry is two or three times what I might charge. Things are happening quickly within this large showroom and I flit between one counter and another, trying to take in all the action. One man within our group is negotiating with a salesman over a $2000.00 dollar cartouche. Stepping forward, I graciously ask to look at the piece and tell the man that the quality of the gold and workmanship is first rate, but also that the price is exorbitant. The man immediately changes his mind about purchasing the piece and I feel badly. Perhaps it was the significance of the piece, more than the price that was of importance to my fellow traveler and I know that the sale was important to the shop; but I also know that their prices are extremely inflated. The angry eyes of the salesman follow me as I walk over to another counter where a young woman within our group is in the process of choosing another custom cartouch. I like this young woman and want to help her. My expertise is of great help to her and within a couple of minutes she is able to mindfully negotiate the price nearly in half. At this point the eyes of the establishment are all focused upon me and the previous salesman brushes by me venomonisly. I don't remember his exact words, but he hisses at me; about ruining his large sale. I am straightforward and ask if I can see where the jewelry is made? I don't think that this is a usual request but the establishment is anxious to get rid of me. After all, if I am not in the showroom, they may be able to close several sales without my interference.

Within 30 seconds, a young man is authorized to take us down to the workshop. Stephanie, the woman who is purchasing the custom cartouche and myself are led outside and down a narrow iron stairway. The stairway is an accident waiting to happen and upon our final descent we wind into a dark basement workshop. A lone man sits in a windowless room surrounded with the appropriate tools of his trade. He is 5 or 10 years older than I am, and is somewhat taken aback by our invasion. It turns out that it is his son who has escorted us downstairs and the elder jeweler quickly warms to us, taking several custom neckpieces from his safe to show us. I soon learn that the symbols for each custom cartouche are stamped, not cast and he shows me the huge press that creates the stampings. The press is archaic, 4 feet in diameter and I am immediately humbled by the authentic process that is used to create the jewelry sold above.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pyramid Power

The filming of the Frankincense Trail is complete, but with just one day remaining in Cairo, we must make another early morning departure. Our group arrives at the Cairo Museum by 8:30 A.M. and the museum courtyard is already crowded with visitors. We are briefed on the use of the head phones and enter the museum just minutes after the 9:00 A.M. opening. The museum is vast and not well lit, but our group follows our guide who speaks into her microphone which is tuned to our head phones. She guides us and explains the masterpieces within the museum. I am especially fascinated with Akhenaten's sculptures and reliefs. The elongated heads and protruding bellies of the royal family seem alien and I wonder if they might have been just that? We have less than two hours within this great museum and I am most interested in the ancient Egyptian Jewelry. I wander off from our group, still connected by the head phones, but able to immerse myself in the jewelry galleries. Recently, in San Francisco, Art, John and I visited the Tutankhamum Exhibit. I was delighted to share the magic of the pharaohs with my family; but the S.F. collection was small. Many more significant pieces are tucked into one display case in the Egyptian Museum, than were in the entire Tutankhamum exhibit in San Francisco. I am impressed and inspired in all that I see. My mind whirls; blending these ancient images with designs of my own. I wish to be a sponge, able to absorb it all during the brief visit that I have.

We depart the museum shortly after 11:00 A.M. and drive to the pyramids of Giza. Lunch is provided at a roof top restaurant overlooking the great pyramids, the Sphinx and the Mena
House Hotel. Have I mentioned that since the storm, the sky of Cairo have been blue? I finish my meal quickly and wander the restaurant taking photos of clear vistas overlooking the pyramids as well as the coffee and hookah bar, backlit in the afternoon sunlight.

After lunch our group has free time to shop at the "bazaar." This experience will require a separate blog entry, but I will now try to focus on the magic of the pyramids.

Our tour includes tickets to enter the grounds of the pyramids. It is a ZOO within the gates; thousands of visitors and hundreds of vendors, all intent on selling souvenirs to the tourists. There is no magic, only chaos as we gravitate towards the Sphinx and merge with the flow of bodies. We are bombarded on all sides by vendors hoping to sell us post cards, t-shirts or jewelry. I plow past, abandoning our group in search of solitude and sanity. The pyramid site will close at 4:00 P.M. and our group will be granted a private entry into both the kings and queens chamber after hours.

The Giza plateau, famous for its pyramids and the great Sphinx, are world renowned for their spiritual power, but the daytime scene is anything but spiritual. Shortly before our private, 4:00 P.M. entry into the King's and Queen's chamber, we untangle ourselves from the chaos of the tourist scene and hike up the road towards our meeting place. The 108 of us have been separated in the preceding hour and our smaller satellite group is directionally challenged. We arrive at the entrance to the chambers at 4:30. P.M. Two of our groups have already entered the pyramid and we wait our turn outside as dusk descends. This is not a bad thing since tonight is a full moon and the Cairo sky is crystal clear from the earlier storms. I am struck by the magic of the fading daylight and the brilliance of the luminescent moon.

We are dwarfed by the immensity of the pyramid. Each stone that makes up this immense edifice is nearly as tall as I am. Simply walking the recently erected stone walkway to the entrance of the chambers is an effort and I ponder on the impossible challenges that confronted the architects and creators of this pyramid.

Soon it is time for our small group of 30 to enter the pyramid. I am surrounded by stone; above, beside and below. We hunch over, nearly on our hands and knees, in order to ascend the the long and low shaft leading upwards into the Queen's chamber. I am told that this shaft is the length of a football field, but I think that they exaggerate. Nevertheless, I am happy when I can stand upright again and when my eyes grow accustomed to the dim lighting within the chamber. Our group backs up against the cool walls of the room. Some within the group lie down upon the floor. Initially, I choose to sit with my back against a wall, but the room is surprisingly warm with the heat and energy of so many bodies and I too lie down upon the cool floor. We know that soon the already dim lights will be turned out and that we will be in utter darkness. I wonder if I will feel anxious; trapped within tons of stone; but when the lights go out, I feel extremely relaxed in the sensory deprivation. Sadly, someones cell phone alarm goes off during this extremely intimate time within the pyramid. We all try to regain the magic, but the invisible cell phone is set on snooze alarm and it goes off again. We are within this chamber for more than 30 minutes and our group now moves upwards along another shaft to the King's chamber.

Gary Young, (C.E.O. of Young Living Essential Oils and his wife Mary,) are holding court within the King's chamber. Gary emanates a vibrant presence and Mary is an opera performer. He speaks to us and explains the history surrounding us. The acoustics within the chamber are equal to that of Notre Dame. Mary begins to sing, her voice reverberating within the walls of the stone chamber. Christian hymns from my childhood resonate within the walls and I am truly moved. Gary preforms a blessing around the King's sarcophagus and we all circle and hold hands. My emotions are mixed between the spiritual power of the ancients and the spiritual power of Christ, but I allow it to all unfold and drop into the magic of the moment.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Children - Filming the Frankincense Trail

May there be peace on earth.

It's a Wrap!

I am growing tired of our pre-dawn wake up calls, but we must finish filming the final scenes for the documentary today. Today's filming takes place in a different location, the "mud village" where the villagers and families will load the camel caravan and bid adeiu to their husbands and fathers. This site is up a narrow dirt road and the road is soggy from last nights rains and the lead bus gets stuck in the mud and sand and it takes 45 minutes to dig the bus out. The other two buses follow and we too get stuck in the muck. Eventually we arrive at the mud village and prepare for the days filming. We have all retained yesterdays costumes and are already dressed and ready for assignments. Gary gathers us together and explains that a smaller camel caravan will be filmed today with just 4 camel riders needed to lead the caravan out of the village. I have no visions of being a film star, simply the desire to be with a camel and miraculously, I make the cut and am one of the 4 remaining camel riders. I sit happily atop my camel, oblivious to the excitment unfolding as the village scene is filmed. Eventually, it is time for the camel caravan to ride through the village and the scene is successfully filmed on the first take.

Before and after, I wander the site, taking photos behind the scene. Gary has "employeed" may of the local children and dozens of children dance and play, on and off camera. An elaborate noon meal is prepared for us and the medieval feast is set on outdoor tables, both chairs and tables draped with golden cloths. Todays lunch is not a buffet, but is served to us and for most, the portions are too large and wasteful. Those of us who can't consume the massive amounts of food, band togther and take plates of food out to the children.

Gary had planned to film a campfire scene at the caravan encampment last night, but the storm blew in and we had to evacuate. The night time scene still needs to be filmed and we are bused over to the tent encampment. Many of the tents were destroyed in last nights storm, but the caravan encampment set has been repaired as best as possible and we prepare for the final shoot; a campfire scene at sunset. It is only the men who are in the final evening caravan camp scene, (and remember, I have switched genders.) Although we are all exhausted, we light the camp fires, wander on and off camera to tend our horses and camels and mingle and talk about our day over the ritual cup of tea..... as the camera rolls.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Camel Caravan Part 2

We shoot the caravan scene after lunch. I am happy to be atop a camel and not one of the many who are leading the camels for miles in the sand. There are three camera men and Gary and his crew shout instructions, but the sand dune setting is vast and the sound dissipates and there is much confusion about what to do. I simply sit atop my camel, enjoying the birds eye view of the filming and bonding with my camel. There are several takes and retakes of the caravan scene, and a scene where the caravan is attacked by bandits. This scene involves half of the horses with Bedouin riders, charging down from atop a sand dune, swords flailing to attack the horse guards of our caravan. I am amazed that no one is injured in this scene, and after several takes, Gary is satisfied. It is late afternoon and the weather is changing quickly. Black storm clouds are coming in fast and lightning flashes in the distance over the pyramids. The final shoot for the day is to be the caravan silhouetted atop the ridge of a sand dune at sunset. Our caravan proceeds slowly up to the highest ridge as the storm moves closer. As we ascend the steep ridge the saddle on one of the camels slips off the back end of the camel and the rider lies stunned in the sand. The air is charged with electricity and I ponder on the fact that those of us atop the camels are the highest point of the landscape. The crew below us is soon shouting for us to hurry and come back to camp, but those on foot can only walk so fast in the sand and I watch the lightening storm with wonder and excitement. We are no sooner back down in the encampment when the storm hits with gusts of blinding sand. I wrap my head scarf around my face and stumble towards the dining tent, all but obliterated from view by the intensity of the sand storm. The dining tent must be over 100 feet long and the canvas sides flap and snap in the wind. The electricity goes on and off and I position myself near an exit flap, since I fear that the tent may go down and don't want to be trapped inside. People shout for men to hold up and reset the center poles of the enormous tent and electrical bulbs sway above us. The wind and rain continue to pound us and I worry that the tent will collapse and we will be electrocuted when all goes down. After about 20 minutes the storm lessens and half of us are instructed to line up for the catered dinner; a lovely feast of roasted vegetables, hummus, skewered lamb and chicken and an array of desserts. We are the first group to get our food and I wolf down my dinner as the storm grows again in its intensity. The next few minutes are a blur, but the tent is going down and it is time to evacuate. It is dark outside and the storm is raging as we run through the sand to the waiting busses. The busses are a long way off but they have turned on their headlights and we gravitated to the beacons of their lights and are soon safely inside. It is nearly 10:00 P.M. when we arrive back at the hotel, some of our group still without dinner. We have another early morning wake up call to finish the filming, if there is a set to return to.

Stephanies' Recollections

Hi,.....I'm back!!!

I just returned from a trip to the middle east a few days ago. We visited Cairo & Luxor, Egypt; and Ammon, Jordan. I participated as an extra in the filming of a documentary called The Frankincense Trail with the Young Living Oil Group that I introduced you to long ago.

We had privileged access as well as Initiations in some of the most sacred Temples and Pyramids. I rode, led and had my own Camel for a day and loved him! Fortunately my Camel's name was Casanova and he certainly lived up to his name. I was just sooooo happy he liked me! One day our set had 85 camels and many pure bred, feisty Arabian Stallions. The vistas, visions, and experiences were as outrageous as the weather there.

One night as we were finishing the filming of the Caravan scene, with the camels and horses way out on the dunes, with the pyramids in the distance and our tents awaiting us for a Bedouin Feast; an electrical storm came blowing in. It swept in, against the changing colors of the day shifting into night that could have been straight out of a horror movie. While it started slowly, it was soon raging, the bolts of lightening surrounding us and energetically charging the pyramids and those of us within the access of the grid. It was said to be the 1st time in 500 years that a meteorological event of this magnitude had occurred there. When we got back to the tents
(we had many tents and sets established in this area) and in the mist of blowing sands and crackling, electrically charged skies, we began to dine in elegance in spite of the weather. The feast was beyond EXOTIC! A whole roasted Lamb, Buffalo Sausages, stuffed and pickled veggies of too many varieties to mention, many versions of our vegetarian favorites such as authentic hummus, and yogurt dips, spreads, sauces, fresh pita and breads, exotic fruits and sauces, Fish dishes, Chicken, ....on and on with exotic deserts still to contend with. The storm did not let up; the lights were going on and off and then it became inevitable that we had to evacuate. Evacuate we did just in time....our tents and sets were blown apart. The next day when we came back to the location, which was 1 1/2 hr to 2 hr bus ride (for which we had armed guards as escorts that accompanied us throughout our travels), there were just remnants what had been our tent site.

Well...I suggest if you wish to know more about this journey, that you view the blog and the photos of my friend and traveling companion, Marty Magic . She is doing a truly amazing and beautiful job on this! My mind has been scrambling to put our adventure in order, and trying to recollect the order of how everything progressed, and here you have it. Elegantly documented, photographs that National Geographic would hunger for, and personalized with the loving, living spirit of a true adventurer! I am more than impressed. I'm hooked and can't wait to read more myself and I was there. I can't thank Marty enough for helping me to realize how authentic our experience truly has been. I feel that while this is her personal account, it is well worth sharing and if I can create some extra time to add my own insights, it would add yet another dimension.

Well there's a glimpse into my adventures and it's nice to be home sweet home, yet many challenges are waiting for me here as well.

Love, Peace, Blessings, & with special appreciation to those of you who truly inspired me to go-go-go!!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Camel Caravan Part 1

We have a 4:30 A.M. wake up call so that we can be on the film location early. Our buses depart the hotel at 6:00 A.M. and drive the the hour and a half to the film location. I am delighted that during the night, the camels and horses have arrived! There are 85 camels and 35 Arabian horses on site and we learn that some of the camel drivers have traveled several days to arrive at this destination. Several nights ago, during one of our group meetings, I documented that I had "moderate horse experience" on a paper that was passed around our group. The horses on site today are young and spirited; the stallions not gelded and I fear that these horses are more than I can handle safely. Gary gathers us together and chooses the horse riders first. Many of the experienced riders chosen are women, who will need to dress as men since it was only men who rode in the caravans. I am near the front of the circle and when Gary asks who feels competent to ride a camel? My hand is instantly up and I am one of the 8 chosen. I too will dress as a man for the caravan scene and I head for the costuming tent where I will be outfitted. Numerous tents are in place to accommodate the costuming, the makeup, the changing rooms for both men and women plus one extremely large tent erected to accommodate all of us for our meals. It is utter chaos as 108 of us cram into the costuming tent to choose appropriate costumes. The horsemen/women, and the camel rider costumes are all the same; black polyester "Ninja Pajamas" and I am soon dressed in my unflattering costume with time to wander the film location. I gravitate towards the camel encampment and am approached by several young men, asking if I want a ride on one of their camels? I try to explain that I am to be one of the chosen camel riders, but they don't understand and within moments, I am positioned atop a camel and ordered to lean backwards. I am thrust forward as my camel rises, unfolding its awkward legs and I am grateful that I have not been thrown to the ground. I am in bliss; all of my senses delighted. Visually, the scene is exotic, 85 camels adorned with colorful tasseled blankets and tended by Bedoin camel drivers. The scent of the camels connects with a nostalgic part of my brain; my youth and time spent around horses and stables. I stroke the neck of my camel and am surprised that the grain of the hair upon its neck faces upwards, not downwards like a horse. The camels in the encampment snort and chew their cud and deposit rivers of pee into the sand below. I could not be happier.

Eventually, everyone is costumed but it is nearly noon. A elaborate catered lunch is provided within the magic of the main tent; over 100 feet long and decorated within by colorful tapestries The meal is mindfully catered and we all enjoy roasted lamb, skewer chicken, grilled vegetables and an array of sweets to culminate the meal. We are all in costumes and I feel transformed into the character that I will soon portray.

At lunch, we are given the script for the caravan scene and it is now time to film the re-enactment of the Frankinscence Trail. The caravan of 85 camels will ride along the sand dunes, guarded by the horse guards. Between each of the 8 camel riders is a string of 8 camels, laden with goods. Each camel is led by one of our group and as the day wears on, I am grateful that I sit atop a camel and am not leading one and trudging through the sand.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Close Encounters on the Sand Dunes

The 108 of us on this tour are all distributors or users of Young Living Essential Oils. The focus of this tour, as far as Young Living Oils is concerned, is to create a documentary-infomercial about the frankincense oil trade route. This afternoon, our three busses depart from the Zoser Hotel to drive to the film location. Cairo traffic is terrible and although the distance is not far, it is a 1 1/2 hour drive out to the desert location for the filming. We drive for miles, along a canal, polluted with garbage and the occasional dead donkey or camel, bloated and decomposing in the murky water. Groves of palm trees line the banks of the canal and sheep and goat herders prod their livestock along the embankment. Eventually we arrive at one of the two film locations; a mud village which is so authentic that initially, I assume that it is. The second location is a caravan tent encampment, inviting and exotic and I wish that I could spend the night here, under the stars, sheltered in the protective circle and warmed by imaginary camp fires. Gary Young divides the 108 of us into groups and assigns us roles for tomorrows filming.

Three pyramids are silhouetted in the distance against the hazy sky and the sun casts long shadows on the sand. We have not yet been called to board the busses and a few of us are still out on the sand dunes above the tent encampment. Seemingly from nowhere, a magical influx of children and young men appear. They are curious about us and we about them; young boys on foot and with bicycles and older boys with cell phones and rhythm. There are times of the day that allow magic to happen and this is one of those times. The older boys sing and dance and we clap to their rhythm, celebrating this golden moment at the end of the day together.