Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Wandering Wednesday

If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success.
John D. Rockefeller, American industrialist (1839-1937)

With tea in one hand and a cigarette in the other we struck out to visit the woodworkers at Hagaza. This wasn't a Travel Tuesday; instead it turned into a Wandering Wednesday as my plan to follow the directions on my TT post had to be changed posthaste. Seems there was clan trouble in Qena and the police didn't want foreigners being in the wrong place at the wrong time and so were turning them back at a checkpoint located miles from the city. I used to get frustrated with this policy but since the shooting of a Canadian teacher, who happened to be passing by on an excursion to visit the monuments near Qena a few months ago, I understand their perspective. However, since we weren't going anywhere near the troubled city, the policy didn't apply to us -- so we took a quick turn off the main highway before the checkpoint and struck out along less traveled routes, wandering through villages along the desert's edge.

The extreme contrast between sunlight and shadow is hard to balance for the human eye and even harder for my digital camera but the photo captures morning life in an Egyptian village: women buying vegetables from a donkey cart and a young fellow walking miles, trying to make a living by selling carpets and market bags door-to-door.

This village seems very green and shady but these giant eucalyptus trees are rare in the scorched landscape. Just outside the boundaries of the photo there is desert to the right (East) and Nile-irrigated fields with few trees to the left (West). The presence of two and three-wheeled motorcycles, delivery trucks, taxi-pickups, bicycles and people afoot shows that our less-traveled path is, in fact, well worn. With no way to explain this wandering alternative route for those wanting to visit the wood craft center, I can only suggest that you strike out in the general direction of the workshop and ask lots of kind people for directions along the way. Perhaps even stop for a cup of tea -- to go.

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