Two days ago Noor introduced me to his two best friends, Ehtiram and Mustafa, plus Mustafa’s wife, Zeynab.
Along with Noor, Zeynab is the best thing to happen to me in Luxor. She speaks fluent English and German in addition to her native Egyptian Arabic (she grew up 60 kilometers outside Luxor). After dinner on Thursday, she invited me to go to her house on Friday, last night, where she proceeded to stuff me with homemade nut cake and guava juice, which really grows on you in the desert.
After our morning English lesson, Noor and I went to visit Mustafa and Zeynab at their work – Isis 2 Papyrus Museum (Zeynab taught me that Isis was an Egyptian goddess married to Osiris, the god of their gods, and mother to Horus, whose eye watched over the Egyptians). It’s a large basement filled floor to ceiling with modern papyrus paintings. They’re made using the ancient Egyptians’ techniques and the paintings are primarily pharaonic, but they were all crafted in the last few years. So it’s not really a museum, more like a tourist shop you can marvel at.
Zeynab gives tours of the artwork, explains the methodology and tells stories about the Egyptian gods and goddesses – in all three of her spoken languages. Mustafa paints peoples’ names onto papyrus purchases if they so wish. That’s Mustafa and Zeynab in front in the large photo above, and Noor in the background.
Zeynab insisted that we order her favorite Egyptian food – tamai, or falafel. It was of course scrumptious. But, much like the cake, I simply could not eat as much as they would like me to.