Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The land of profiles

It is freezing. A cold, clear sky kind of freezing when the clouds are not there to keep what little warmth the sun supplies during the day, from taking flight and dissipating into the night sky. The ocean is somehow ragged, angry but not enraged. It looks saltier than usual, although I have not tested the validity of this feeling.

Soon I will be in another place, one with a similar lack of clouds but a bit warmer. On Friday my family and I are going to Egypt. Me to write, them to lounge. The original intention was to go to Greece or Italy but the temperatures in during March and April were not promising enough. We are not leaving Iceland to go shiver somewhere abroad. For that we can stay home.

I am told by those in the know that we are not really going to Egypt. We are going to some made up place by the ocean that geographically might be Egypt but contains little or nothing of what makes Egypt Egyptian. Just hotels, beaches and a massive desert somewhere behind our backs. Whatever. It is warm.
But since I was a child I have always wanted to travel to real Egypt, see the great pyramids in Cairo and sail down the Nile, stopping to see the Valley of the Kings, all sorts of temples and the great statues at Aswan. There is something so intriguing about historical remains of human civilization – how people lived and died and the monstrous effort they put into construction when no mechanical assistance was available. My husband and I can’t even muster up the energy to call a carpenter and have him put up a new fence round our yard. Thus we have much respect for a line-up of people dragging great blocks of stone around to raise something as useless as a pyramid. Or a Sphinx.

So despite the travel warnings and news about tourists the Bedouins kidnapped recently, we are going to make some trips away from our hotel la-la land. Then we will see at least a part of real Egypt, although my writing schedule does not allow for a languishing sail down the Nile. On our itinerary is i.a. Cairo: the Great pyramids, the Sphinx, the Egyptian museum of antiquities and the Kahn-el Kahlili bazar. My husband has said he does not wish us to go to any bazar since we have so much stuff but our teenage daughter, grandson and I disagree. So his negativity towards the bazar visit was out voted, 3 to 1. I love democracy.

One of the other “real” things we intend to do is to take a trip into the desert at night time with the Bedouins to go star gazing. I do not think these particular Bedouins are of the kidnapping kind since this is a trip on offer by some sort of tourism enterprise. If so, their business plan needs an overhaul.
So if you do not hear from me next week – know this: I am in a super hot tent, wishing for cold, cold Iceland and begging the Bedouin kidnappers for some papyrus so that I can use the down time to work on my book. I do not expect them to have a socket for my laptop plug. Or if they do it will require a converter thing-a-ma-jig. Maybe I should carry one with me at all times. But I won’t. I have never been the boy-scout type.

Yrsa – Wednesday

P.S. The purest and best kind of happiness is the happiness one feels for others. I am now ecstatic after receiving news of Cara Black success – she is on the New York Times Bestseller list! This is the most coveted bestseller list by writers all over the world and getting on it is no small achievement.  I am telling you this since I have the suspicion that she herself will not.

So well done Cara – and so well deserved!      


  1. I certainly hope you stay safe, and congratulations to Cara. Her book is on the shelf, waiting for me.

  2. Your cigarette pack reminded me of my father. He smoked Camels up until the day he...was spirited away into the great beyond by Bedouins on Chesterfields.


  3. Are you going to have wee refreshment at the Cataract hotel just as Agatha Christie did? She had an idea there about death on the Nile or something, wonder if that ever came to anything? :)
    I hope you are similarly inspired.

  4. I'm so jealous! I took a two-and-a-half week solo trip to Egypt and it was the adventure of a lifetime - ALL GOOD! Don't believe the hype. If you're smart and don't do stupid things (these two phrases don't always agree, for reasons beyond my understanding...) you should be fine. If you want to read a real-time blog of my trip as it was unfolding, it's at Otherwise, if you want travel tips, don't be afraid to hit me up. I went all of those places. I also got a lot of pointers from my husband, who is Middle Eastern. Have fun!

  5. And yes - DO read Death on the Nile if you haven't already :) It's a blast!