Hey guys! I’m back to my regularly scheduled program. I’ve just returned from a 2 week vacation in Egypt and Kenya. Surprisingly, I adjusted easilty to the time difference once returning home. My normal sleep patterns resumed by the next day. I had some very interesting happenings on vacation, one out of the ordinary. As I was dressed appropriately, I wasn’t expecting any unusual attention.
Each country was unlike any place I had ever visited. So much to soak up and try to burn in my memory. Egypt and Kenya are so different from each other, so I had unique experiences in each. As usual, I had some familiar experiences as a Black female traveler, but there was one interesting happening on vacation that I’ll discuss later.
While in Egypt, I received many stares (similar in China), none making me feel uncomfortable. I attribute the main factor to me being Black. I think the other factor was that I had an uncovered head, topped with light colored faux locs.
Many adults would say ‘Hello, welcome to Egypt my sister, or Rastah is not dead’. I would reply hello or thanks and keep it moving. One woman said that she hoped she wasn’t being rude, but if it was my real hair. I could tell that her question was coming from a good place, so I answered that some was and some wasn’t. She replied that it was very beautiful and moved on.
The response from children was a little more dramatic. In many pyramid and temple ruins, there would be school field trips. There were large groups of kids of all ages, staring, pointing, and waving at me. I think my hair probably looked like worms or snakes to some little kids, because they were in awe. One in the group was brave enough to walk up and politely ask, ‘Hello, what’s your name?’ It was so cute. I’d say that my name was Melanie and ask hers in return. Then I’d say it’s nice to meet you so and so. Next, she would ask if she could take a photo with me.
That’s where the adventure began! Once I said yes, she pulled out her phone for a selfie. Her friends join in on the photo shoot and pulled out their phones and iPads as well for their own photo with me. This could potentially go on for a long time if I never cut it off. I had pyramids to see, so gave it about 10 minutes. This went on at every ruin I visited, except Valley of the Kings. That site probably isn’t exciting for kids, as there are mainly tombs there. I tried to oblige the requests, but not so much to hold up my husband and others in our tour group.
Next was Luxor Temple. This temple was just as beautiful as the last, of course with multiple status of Ramesesses II. That guy really loved himself.
There were only 5 of us in this group: my husband and I and grandmother, mother, daughter trio from Oregon. They were a nice, friendly. Needless to say, they laughed as well at the children’s response to me and their daughter. She was brown haired and blue eyed, so the kids liked that too.
I saw the daughter taking a picture with a family. As I approached, a man who spoke no English, just handed his baby to me! HUH? What is the proper response to someone that you don’t know handing you his baby? Do you turn and walk away, fold your arms to decline or stare? It was so awkward, so I just took the baby. The father, baby and I posed for a photo, taken by the mom. She did not look pleased at all! I guess she was not mesmerized by some strange foreigner holding her baby. Sorry ma’am. Blame that one on your husband! The baby was a beautiful girl, dressed in all white. She seemed about 6 months old or so. I wonder what they will tell the family or the child when they show the picture. I bet that would be interesting.
I thought that was so weird. Yes, he may have never seen someone like me before. However, I could have been some weirdo or could have germs that I breathed all over his baby. From my China trip, I was used to people asking to take photos, staring, or sneaking and taking photos when they thought I wasn’t looking. However, I’ve never had someone pass me his baby out of the blue!
What’s the strangest or most interesting thing that has happened to you while traveling?