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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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The Carriage Ride....

The Carriage Ride

Luxor is probably the prettiest city we have seen. Cairo is dirty and ugly with its stacks and stacks of unfinished houses. Aswan is prettier, but still has obvious poverty. Luxor has a glamorous feel with lights along the avenues in the trees, like white Christmas lights. There are spotlights on the temple at night and horses and carriages carry tourists sightseeing on cobblestone streets along the Nile River.
In Luxor our group goes for a ride in a horse and carriage, which, to say the least, is horrifying as in spite of the beautiful appearance, the traffic in Luxor is similar to Cairo. We are in a long row of carriages, one couple and a driver in each carriage. My brother-in-law said later, it was like an Amish funeral procession.
We zoom in and out of traffic between buses, taxies, cars and bicycles, not to mention the occasional pedestrian that apparently has little value for life.  I don't know how the horses do it. They have to literally dodge cars and mini-buses that refuse to give an inch, whether the obstacle is machine or beast, and they still remain calm. I'm sure they are ready for the oat bag after a day of this. I'm about ready for the oat bag myself after one brief trip.
We are taken by carriage down back roads and alleys where tourists seldom venture. There are shops and bazaars everywhere, selling everything from scarves and beads to shoes and underwear. The darkened streets are crowed with shoppers even though it is late in the evening. It seems the people have developed the custom of shopping at night to avoid the heat of the day. Children run beside the buggy begging for coins. I reach in my pocket, but the driver shoos them away. 
We ask our guide later if the horses and buggies are supposed to have the right of way. He says, "Everyone has the right of way in Egypt."  Now I know how the Amish must feel in their buggies with traffic zooming around them. I saw only one vehicle get in trouble for a traffic violation. It was a carriage driving down the white line trying to pass our entire row of carriages and nearly running down a police officer trying to direct traffic. Even so, it was merely a shouted reprimand, not a traffic ticket.
When anyone passes us, cuts us off, pulls into line between carriages, or fails to let us merge, our driver stands up and yells at them in Arabic. They yell back or toot horns and both make hand gestures at each other. It is a free-for-all with a tangle of buggies, horses, and cars all in a competition to stay alive. If traffic was ever frightening from our mini-bus, it is absolutely horrifying from a horse-drawn carriage.
Our driver says our horse is named Casanova. I thought it should be named Superhorse. I asked someone else later what their horse was named and they said "Steve." These are truly brave steeds with nerves of steel to endure the circumstances of their existence, barely avoiding disaster innumerable times per hour. While humans might have a choice in how to make a living, the horses only live to serve.
After this little adventure, I'm certain I could never have made it in horse and buggy days. 

Copyright 2010 Sheila Moss

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