Friday, May 11, 2012

Back to Hurghada with grit and saffron..............

Leaving the lush green slopes of the River Nile, hearty tagine stews, palm trees and the sugar cane of Luxor ~ it's jet flying back to El Gouna, Hurghada, flying over and around the Red Sea once again. What a crusty dust bowl Egypt is from the moon view. Testimony to that is my face tan, sand blasted sunnies. Despite, I have a deep internal satisfaction that I walked, saw, felt, ate and devoured all that the secret ancient tomb world had to offer me. Ever memories. Thankful. Bye bye little jet. Back in town the spice market tugs me to my senses and I find I'm longing for the dirt and smells from the sacks and baskets that line my current favourite store in El Gouna. Egypt imports many of it's spices from India and Africa but its freshly harvested but dried hibiscus flowers makes a great tea. I love the yellow flowered one best. Cumin seed sits fragrant in a huge basket on the path but the most expensive spice in the world - saffron - is inside the store high on the shelf. I see that it's not the purest of stuff. The best is really behind the scenes for the more discerning buyer. I just love this shop. Just running my fingers through the cinnamon and fennel seed is so calming. The store owner calls me Mama but his eye is on my cash and I know it. I buy a few treats for my chef friend. I laugh and laugh as the trader offers me free five hours worth of "hubba hubba" for my husband!! (It's was actually a fake aphrodisiac in the form of "root" ginger.) He winks.....I tell him "We're all good thanks". Now he laughs like a drain. No offense between us and I tell him I'll see him again (maybe) if the price improves on the cassia bark. Back for dinner I sip a local red wine with a toe tingling meal of lamb and lentils topped with brilliant wild basil and parsley. The night is chill and I inspect the dark red soft lamb leather holdall travel bag that I bought for just $33 Australian. So many zips and pockets but made in Egypt.....bargain for me. I pack up every item I own to travel next to New Delhi, India.

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