Author Shunali Khullar Shroff on the indescribable awe that is Egypt
As a holiday, our winter break in Egypt in 2018 was far from perfect. I had imagined a glamorous Death on the Nile sort of experience; instead, we were confronted with a death of expectations. Our cruise liner lacked any of the elements of luxury that it promised us in the brochure. It was dimly lit and run-down, having seen far better days at another time. My teenage daughter was intensely disappointed; she had been pouting since we embarked on the journey—and not the fake kind of pout kids use for Snapchat. Our cruise began in Luxor, and it didn’t take long to realise that everything in ancient Egypt was built to make you feel small: the imposing statues of King Ramesses II outside the Luxor temple that dwarf the city; the elaborate tombs in the Valley of the Kings or the Royal Necropolis of Thebes, a massive burial ground littered with extensive sepulchres of pharaohs; Queen Hatshepsut’s staggering mortuary temple in the ochre hills of Upper Egypt.