I was at a crossroads of decision making today. Should I do it? … or maybe I should drop the whole idea? Laying on my couch while pondering upon this decision, my mind drifted back to an episode that happened a long time ago. To be more specific, about 5 years ago. The outcome of that episode formed the foundation of the decision I eventually made today.
That episode happened in the Land of the Pharaohs. My sister and I were on a sleeping train bound for Giza from Aswan. We had a few hours in Cairo before flying out to Jordan. During the train ride, I had this thought that constantly pushed itself into my conscious mind: head back to the Great Sphinx, without a guide, and take in its grandeur at our own pace for as long as time allowed us. When we were in Cairo in the early part of our trip, we did visit the Giza’s colossal Pyramids and the Great Sphinx. We did it with a guide who was pretty good at sharing the legends of ancient Egypt. On that day, the crowds were quite overwhelming (I suppose this is an expected situation in top tourist attractions of the world). One of my long-held travel dreams was to see the Great Sphinx. I had read about it and seen it on TV shows many times. I still remember it made the cover of my high school history textbook. I was fascinated by the story of the Dream Stele and wanted to lay my eyes on it (if you don’t know about the Dream Stele, ask Google the know-it-all, or read on). However, I was (very) disappointed with the visit to the Great Sphinx for one reason: we did not get to spend as much time as we would have liked to really appreciate the greatness of the monument. Our guide was doing it all too fast. To be more specific, he got us out of there as soon as he thought we had enough photos taken. This was very disappointing because we did not come all the way just to have a few photos taken. We came for the history. I would have liked to have some moments sitting or standing somewhere and just stare at the Great Sphinx and let my imagination run in parallel with the history I had learned. I did not even see the Dream Stele.
Back to our train journey… as we were approaching Giza around 5AM, I let my thought of heading back to the Great Sphinx known to my sister. I was expecting her to say no considering the limited money we had left in our pockets, and of course the logistics of going back there and then leaving for the airport later that day. I remember my sister’s first reaction was ‘you are crazy’ but after some persuasion she finally agreed to do it, on the condition that I would treat her some fancy dinner when we got back home. I then quickly looked for information on how to go about it. After several searches, the mission was all planned out. As soon as we got out of the train, when the air was still filled with mist and some sunbeams crossed its way, we made our way to the taxi station, hopped on one, and we were on our way to one of the rather-high-end hotels near the Giza Pyramids. I can’t recall the name of that hotel but we chose it as it was one of the hotels located nearest to our mission place and it provided assistance with logistics for its guests. When we got to the hotel, we explained to the receptionist what we wanted. I think he was a bit shocked that we were willing to pay for the price of one night just to see the Great Sphinx for a few hours and then leave for the airport. He had to confirm that with us a few times haha! Well…we used almost all of the Egyptian pounds we had left. He asked if we wanted a guide. This time we strictly replied ‘no, just a driver to get us there and back’. So, there we went again, back to the destination of my childhood dream. After we got our tickets at the main entrance, we walked past the pyramids with our eyes firmly set on the Great Sphinx. Souvenir sellers tried to stop us with whatever trinkets they had but we ‘defeated’ them. Camel/horse handlers tried to sell us a camel/horse ride but we escaped their ‘scam’. Finally, we were face-to-face with what we came for, and there were just a few other visitors at that time. We walked through the gate, and ahhhhh what a happy, happy moment!
I felt complete and satisfied. We took as much time as we wanted to enjoy the Great Sphinx in our own way. It was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. So magical. So ancient. So great. This time I saw the Dream Stele placed between the paws of the Sphinx. I was not close to it enough to be able to read the inscriptions on it, but seeing it allowed my imagination to run in parallel with the dream that the young Prince Tuthmosis had when he fell asleep near the Great Sphinx (if you don’t know about his dream, google it or read the caption of one of the photos attached). When my sister and I thought we had seen and enjoyed it enough, we slowly made our way back to the hotel and to the airport leaving this land of great ancient Egyptian civilization till we say our next hello.
No regrets. Just pure satisfaction and happiness for having done it, no matter how crazy it might have seemed when the thought first knocked the door of my conscious mind. Had I not done it, I think I would have the deepest regrets now. So, my friends, sometimes we have to just do it when it comes to our dreams. Make them happen. Take the chance.