FRIDAY, JUNE 22, 2007
We are off to enjoy an ancient Egyptian style meal prepared
just for us at the Blue Lotus guesthouse. We are to be served the same foods
depicted on the wall reliefs we saw in Saqqara inscribed 4,500 years ago.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Bakr and his infant daughter
greeted us as we arrived at the Blue Lotus. Bakr and his wife run the
guesthouse mostly for visiting archaeologists working in the area. They rent a
room and Bakr's wife cooks for them. Our group was very lucky to have such an
outstanding cook and host.
Bakr's wife is an incredible hostess, cook and bakes wonderful
bread (more about that later). The baby is wearing kohl around her eyes. I was
told that it helps to keep the flies away and makes eyelashes grow long and
thick. It certainly makes her look exotic.
We spent some time, before lunch was served, getting
acquainted with Bakr and relaxing in his back yard. One thing Bakr has been
doing for several years is growing the real (and rare) blue lotus. The blue
lotus is a symbol of modern Egypt and the government has to issue a special
permit to grow this rare plant. Bakr has several growing in his back yard.
Lunch was outstanding and we all thoroughly enjoyed the
food. My personal opinion was that it was the best meal I had the whole time I
was in Egypt.
The room through the arched doorway is the kitchen. Bakr's
wife (and her sisters) had been cooking for hours before we arrived. Everything
was fresh and tasted wonderful.
After lunch Bakr took us on a tour of the surrounding
farmland. We got a close-up look at things we had only seen in from the window
of our bus. Bakr is also a farmer and was able to answer many of our questions.
Like on small farms everywhere in the world, everyone
helps. I When we returned from our walk to Bakr's house; we passed an outdoor
beehive-shaped oven in the backyard. It looked just like the ovens we had seen
painted on the walls of the tombs. As we stood around talking about it, Bakr's
wife came out, fired up the oven and baked some flat bread as we watched. She
had baked all the bread we were served at lunch in this very oven. I got some
pictures of her showing us how she bakes the family bread every day. What a
great experience. I think she was a little overwhelmed with our enthusiasm over
what she thought of as an ordinary event. She and her husband were so welcoming
and hospitable. What could have been just an ordinary lunch was turned into a
truly memorable event.