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Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of

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Abu Simbel....

The Egypt Series

Abu Simbel

Wow! What a day. We get up before the crack of dawn for breakfast and a three hour ride to see the ancient temples at Abu Simbel, the highlight of the trip as far as I'm concerned. On the way we stop to see dawn crack as the sun rises on the Sahara Dessert. Another time we stop to look at a mirage which appears to be water in the distance, but is only a reflection in the sun's heat.

Abu Simbel is actually two temples build by Ramses II in honor of Queen Nefertiti. The statues in front are 25 meters high, however much that is. The temple was built more as an impressive tribute than as an actual temple of worship. The hieroglyphics inside are especially outstanding.

Our guide told us that there are people who still believe in the power of the ancient Egyptians and who come to chant and draw energy from the temple.

On the three hour road trip there and back, I am surprised by the number of times our bus is stopped at roadblocks and papers
checked by police. It seems that every time you cross a zone you have to identify yourself and your reason for being there. I can't imagine why it matters as there is nothing there but sand as far as you can see in every direction. The Sahara is a serious dessert.

It is very strange to have armed guards stopping us as in America we are used to being able to drive coast to coast or anywhere we want to go. It really makes me understand more the meaning of "police state" and appreciate the freedom we have and take for granted.

At one point we are stopped by radar police who have set a speed trap in the middle of nowhere. I honestly don't know why speed matters as there is nothing to run into, not even a cactus. It is the most barren wasteland I've ever seen. But, apparently they have a speed limit. It's okay to drive straddling the white line, on the wrong side of the road, and without headlights at night -- just don't speed.

We wonder if everyone on the bus is going to jail. Our security guard, who is in plain clothes and follows us or goes with us everywhere we go, convinces the police not to give us a ticket and thanks them with bottles of cold water. What a place!

I see some concrete buildings with a wall around them at one spot in the middle of the dessert. It is marked "military installation do not take photos". The presence of police everywhere is very noticeable. They wear black uniforms and berets and carry big guns. In some places they have machine guns which I'm certain are loaded. There are so called "tourist police" at every tourist spot. 

The police never hassle us or ask to see passports as long as we are doing what we are suppose to do, sightseeing and spending money on beads and scarves.

The bead vendors and postcard salespeople are constantly waving their wares in our faces at every place we go. I finally weaken and get taken in by a scarf vendor. I like the scarf, but it is too much. The further away I walk, the lower the price becomes. Finally, it gets so low that I can't resist, so I stop and buy it. 

Some of the crafts are actually quite nice but the aggressive sales techniques are not what Americans are used to and learning to bargain is an adventure of its own.

Copyright 2010 Sheila Moss

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