6/19/10: Nile River, Egypt
I’ve never been hotter than I was today. I was taking a short nap on the top deck of our boat, and I woke up to find half of me had turned into a puddle that not even my beach towel could soak up. There was actually sweat accumulating on the towel to the point where you could float a rubber ducky on top of it. Here’s what Zhou had to say about it as we walked to the Kom Ombo Temple at 2:30 in the afternoon.
Z: “I’m melting.”
Z: “No seriously, I am.”
Z: “If you touch me you will spontaneously combust.”
Z: “DON’T touch me!”
Z: “I hate you, sun.”
Z: “I hate you too, breeze. You’re hot, you’re evil and you’re conniving and I hate you.”
Z: “I think my sweat is boiling.”
Z: “I think my toes are about to fall off.”
Z: “I can’t believe you talked me in to coming out here.”
Z: “Don’t take any pictures of me unless you want to die.”
And really, I couldn’t blame her. The temperature was higher than Ricky Williams on a Saturday night. It was so hot that the shade offered no reprieve. The heat had infiltrated everywhere – it wasn’t just the direct rays from the sun that would get you. If being out in the sun was like being in an oven, then being in the shade was like being in the same oven with an umbrella over you. I estimated the temperature to be 924 degrees. At that point you don’t even need to qualify it with Fahrenheit or Celsius.
Usually when you walk into a cool room after being out in the heat, the cool air feels even colder. It could be normal room temperature, but it feels like a refrigerator from Heaven. Yeah, that’s a good feeling, one that we weren’t able to enjoy. We stayed out looking at the temple for about half an hour, but when we walked back into our room with the AC on full, and we still felt like we were being microwaved by the Egyptian god of heat. Here’s my theory:
In a normal summer heat, only your skin gets hot. It makes you sweat and want to eat ice cream, but it is only a surface heat. And surface heat is easily removed by a good air conditioner. In Egypt though, the heat actually penetrates deep into your body. It seeps in through your pores and warms everything. I bet if I gave blood after coming in from the outside that it would have melted the donor bag. No air conditioner on Earth can cool down a heat like that. The only remedy is time. If you’re an M&M, normal summer heat is your hand. You don’t melt because you’ve got that colorful outer shell. But Egypt summer heat is your mouth. You become this gooey, chocolatey (delicious) mess, heated through and through.
You know how Zhou said her toes were about to fall off? She wasn’t exaggerating – my toes felt like they were going to fall off too. I often looked down to make sure they were still there. At one point I was pretty sure that the devil had taken all ten toes and replaced them with burning coals, and then replaced the burning coals with balls of fire.
The weird thing is, I loved it. That’s why I went up on the deck after we had returned from the temple. I even convinced Zhou to come up and join me in the pool (yes, the same Zhou who had threatened my death earlier). Just as I loved the fact that it was snowing for the two days before we reached the Thorong La Pass in Nepal, I loved the heat here. It really gives me a feeling of authenticity, like I’m experiencing the real Nepal, the real Egypt.
We’re still heading further south toward the Equator, so heat, I’m ready for you. And audience, I’ll leave you with some pictures of the two temples we saw today.
Pictures of the Day: Of all possible times for a camera to run out of battery, mine did during Zhou’s Nubian dancing tonight. Yes, she was invited up during the show to dance with a stick balanced on her head with the guy below, and I didn’t get any pictures of it.