Egypt is an incredible country and one that both wowed and intrigued me, which is a pretty big thing for me these days given how much of a get around I am. I learned quite a large amount of shit while I was here, so here it is! Enjoy!
Arabic words and Phrases
(NB. all spelling is how I would pronounce it, not how it is actually spelt because I am too lazy to look it up.)
La – no. A word that again is quite frequently used and also quite frequently interpreted as ‘yes’. This is nothing new in the land of travel, especially with hawkers and shop owners.
Yalla yalla – let’s go, lets go! Said anytime you are going somewhere.
Heidi lan – come on bro. What we used to say to the bus driver when he was too busy drinking coffee to drive the bus
Fi el mesh mesh – when pigs fly. A great phrase to use when someone tries to sell you shit you don’t want for a ridiculous price or for when men hit on you.
Belesh – free? Also a great thing to ask when people try to sell you shit you don’t want.
Meshi meshi – OK, OK. Also used in my case as ‘yeah yeah, whatever, I’m coming’.
Psora Psora– Quickly, quickly. Note that for emphasis everything is repeated twice. As if saying quickly twice will make me move more quickly. This is usually followed up with ‘meshi meshi’.
Habibi – my love. This is what the bus driver would call me and what I started calling the bus driver. Well actually he called everyone ‘habibi’ and one day I threw a strop. “I thought I was the habibi?!?” He says ‘you are assistant driver (because I sat in the seat behind him) and habibi royale’. I will accept this.
I was also quite surprised to see that many Arabic words are the same or similar to their Spanish counterparts… like sabon in Spanish, is sabun in Arabic, meaning ‘soap’. And pantalones (pants) and camiseta (shirt) are also the same.
Then of course there are words in English that are derived from the Arabic…..
Candy – is from the Arabic word ‘Qand‘ meaning sugar.
Alcohol – from the Arabic ‘al kuhl’
Algebra – the famous branch of maths that kids loathe, is ‘al jabr’
Cotton – from ‘qutn‘
Cheque – from ‘sakk‘ a vow to pay for merchanise.
Orange – from the Persian ‘naranj‘ which also translates to the Spanish ‘naranja’
Sofa – from the Arabic ‘suffah‘ which was the rulers throne. No wonder they are so comfy.
Shit About The Pyramids
- The Great Pyramids of Giza took 2.3 million blocks to make by over 100,000 workers in the space of 20 years. On average, this is one block cut every 3 minutes.
- The outsides of the pyramids were covered in red granite. This no longer exists as the blocks were pilfered for other building ventures.
- The pyramids are 100% aligned to face north and this was done using the stars and their positions in the sky.
- The apex of the temples was covered in a metal alloy consisting of a mix of gold and silver called electrum, which was naturally occurring in this area and Anatolia.
- Each of the temples have a slope of fifty two degrees. This makes the centre of each of the temples a point of high energy and electrons. Apparently an apple sitting in the centre of the pyramid will not decay for this reason. Energy seekers come here and pay ridiculous amounts of money to experience the energy found in the centre of the great pyramid.
Shit About Other Temples
- The people who made the pyramids and the temples were not slaves, but skilled workers. These workers even went on strike in the Luxor Valley for two months when they stopped receiving their wages… possibly the first form of industrial action of the day. The working week was ten days long and 8 of those days were working (I wonder if the Beatles came here before they wrote 8 Days A Week? In which case, they were a bunch of little hussies cheating on their misses’ for the weekend because the 9th and 10th day of loving didn’t count…. ponderance…. hmmm….). The workers also had holidays and health insurance.
- There is a type of snake that jumps up at people to strike them from the sand depicted on the walls of one of the temples. What a scary fucking thought. As if snakes aren’t dangerous enough without letting them have springs for ab muscles.
- All tombs in Luxor and in most of Egypt lie on the west bank of the Nile river. This is because this is the side of the river that the sun sets, or ‘dies’.
- Majority of the medical tools we use today in surgery can be seen in the hieroglyphs on temple walls. They also had birth giving chairs that look very similar to squat toilets…. just let gravity take care of that.
- The guy who discovered King Tutankhamun’s tomb died several days later. This is because he shaved the day he went discovering and deadly bacteria from inside the tomb got into the cut, infected it and he turned septic. From here on in, all awesome tomb raiders were equipped with manly tomb raiding beards.
- They mummified loads of crocodiles. Well fucking cool.
- The Romans are really good at building shit but even better at fucking up proportions. If you look really hard on Roman made Egyptian temples, you can find hands with thumbs on the wrong side, arms that are too long, and all kinds of ridiculousness. Artists they indeed were not.
- Ancient Egyptian women only appeared to have one boob. An evolutionary anomaly…. hmmm….
Other Random Shit I Learned In Egypt
- The Cairo cemetery is a giant land of satellite dishes. Apparently 80,000 people live in the cemetery.
- To sort out a dispute between two men back in the Bedouin days, the leader of the tribe would place a hot knife on the tongues of both men. The idea was that the liar would have the tongue stick to the knife as his mouth was dry and the guy with nothing to hide would be relaxed and salivating at the thought of hot knives….. thus not sticking.
- Snake poison and milk were given to newborn babies as a form of vaccination.
- Majority of French perfumes from popular brands we know of today that were made post 1967 come directly from the recipes of perfumes used in Ancient Egypt. The French dude who deciphered the Rosetta Stone passed these on, so we can thank the Egyptians for Chanel No.5 and Armani’s Code, among many others.
- When the Nubian guys were all fighting over girls and wanting to marry them the girls would respond in a simple way. If she wanted to marry the guy his tea would come loaded up with sugar. If she didn’t, no sugar for you sonny Jim.
- The king at Sakkara used to have to fight and kill two bulls and cut of their tails as proof of worthiness of being king. They didn’t enforce this on Ramses the second who died in his nineties but was a total pimp. He would have been the Hugh Heffner of the Ancient Egyptian days fathering 162 kids that we know about…
- There was a princess mummy on the Titanic when it sank. Cool!
Anyway, there are a few tidbits. There were loads more stories of things that happened in Egypt, but I will save those for another time. Til then x