Ch. III The Pharaoh's Soul
“Welcome to The Mena House Hotel. The origin of the Mena House was that of a royal lodge for the Khedive Ismail, used as a rest house for himself and his guest when hunting in the desert or visiting the Pyramids at Giza. The main dinning room of today was once the entire lodge, but in 1869 with the opening of the Suez Canal, the lodge was enlarged. Also, a road was built between Cairo and the Pyramids (specifically for the visit of the Empress Eugenie) which made visits to Giza much easier.
In 1883 it was sold to Frederick Head as a private residence. The Heads, a wealthy English couple, lived an idyllic life at their new residence, enlarging their home and adding a second floor. Seeking a name for their estate, Professor A.H. Saya made the suggestion that it should be called Mena House, after the first king referenced in the Tablet of Abydos.
1885 Another hugely wealthy English couple, the Locke-Kings purchased the house from Mrs. Head, and it was they who set about turning the estate into a luxurious hotel.
1886: ‘Mena Hotel’, as it was called, opened.”
I listened intensely as the history of the hotel was told to us I knew that this place was going to be the experience of a lifetime.
After finding my room I looked around in awe. I had never seen something so expensive in my entire life granted it was probably more expensive than my life. It looked as though it hadn’t been cleaned in years but at the same time it had a slight twinkle that told it had indeed been polished vigorously.
Letting out a grunt of fatigue as I lugged my suitcase behind me, as I set it next to my bed I sat down only to jolt back up as a sudden knock came from my door.
I called out the knocking continued, again I called out.
As the knocking became more insistent I realized that I wasn’t in the US so the person must only speak Arabic. Willing myself to remember the classes I had taken for this exact reason I cleared my throat.
“أدخل.” (Come in.)
The door knob jiggled for a slight moment before a woman about seventy years of age. She had the signature bronze skin, and had black hair, her hair fell down in perfect ringlets as she peeked her head the crack of the door, “سيدتي، إسمي هو (آبي)، لقد طلب مني مرافقتكي إلى الرواق الرئيسي?” (Miss my name is Abbey. I’ve been told to escort you to the main lobby.)
I looked at the woman and smiled nodding my head to portray that I had understood. Standing up off the bed I walked close behind the fast moving woman whom seemed to be rushing in purpose. “عفوا، ولكن هل أنت بخير؟ لما العجلة؟.?” (Excuse me are you alright? What’s the hurry?)
She didn’t answer just glanced back at me with a knowing smile on her face, confused I slammed my mouth shut and was silent for the rest of the way.
When we reached the lobby I saw the nineteen other students and knew that we were about to go to the museum. Abbey, left and walked away with a self satisfied smiled whilst Seb and Adrienne came over to me.
“So what was that all about? You know at the airport.”
I looked up at her 5′9 frame that towered over my petite 5′5 and shyly said.
“He was asking me if I wanted to go out for a drink with him and I said no.”
Adrienne looked horrified, “You. Said. NO!”
I yelped as her voice sounded through my eardrums and nodded fearing my voice box to be as rattled as my hearing.
“Why would you say 'no' to a man that sexy?” I looked up in shock as Seb had been the one to ask me.
“Well I didn’t want to and grab a drink encase he thought that it was something more, and then it turns out we can’t because I’m seventeen and he’s like twenty or something like that. It would be unfair to build false hope especially because I live in the USA not Egypt or Calabria, like he does.”
Adrienne looked upset but at the same time she looked like she understood why I didn’t say yes, I mean it’s not like he flat out said let’s date. But what if I had said yes and then I grow feelings for him and next thing you know I’m on the next plane to America, it would tear me apart I couldn’t do such a thing.
Pasting on a smile I let out a little squeal.
“I think that we’re going to the museum!”
Seb soon started jumping with me, but Adrienne put a hand to shield her face she does that when she doesn’t want people to know that we’re associated with her.
Huffing out a scoff Adrienne stomped her foot and whined.
“Why do you guys like the museum so much it’s boring.” I laugh as we board another bus to leave the hotel.
“You mean there’s no hot guys for you to ogle at while your there.” Seb jested I tried to hold it in I really did, but when Adrienne’s face turned bright red I let out another bark of laughter that.
Then led me to chocking on air trying to calm down from the laughter fit. Adrienne was scowling at both of us with and extra bright red face.
“Sorry Adrienne it’s just well you’re a little boy crazy and... when you said you hated museums it seemed like it was because there are no guys for you to look at.”
It was silent in bus seat number nine until suddenly Adrienne burst into a fit of giggles. “I do look at boys a lot don’t I.”
Chuckling slightly I nodded, and shockingly so did the other students, and the bus driver, and teacher.
Adrienne looked startled.
“Maybe I should tone it down a little.”
“Ya think?” Seb and I said in unison.
After the talk with Adrienne we each fell quiet silently thinking things over. Then the bus came to a sudden stop and the doors flew open and then. “مرحبا بكم في متحف القاهرة.” (Welcome to the Cairo Museum.)