Travelling and Poking About

Travel Link Up – Souvenirs – Penises

June 2, 2015


Hello, travel bloggers. This month’s link up theme is souvenirs. I am not the souvenir hound in my relationship, that honour goes to my husband who over the years has accumulated quite the array of tshirts, post cards and bric a brac with an international theme. There is one notable chink in my ‘don’t buy crap’ armour, however.

Years ago Mark and I went to Egypt. When you go to Egypt you sign up for activities like visiting the pyramids, the Sphinx, the Cairo Museum and seeing the Nile. We also toured around the Cairo markets with our lovely guide Mohammed to translate for us. I bought a whole heap of jewellery that I still love and wear to this day. Anyway, after you do all the stuff you want to do you get taken around to various perfume and carpet stores where they try and sell you a bunch of touristy crud.

At the perfume store my husband bought a nice bottle of Frankincense, because why should Jesus have all the fun? It’s still sitting mostly unused in my bathroom. The carpet place elicited polite smiles from us as Mark had already had one carpet confiscated on a previous overseas adventure. Another store owner, this time¬†fashion, took it upon himself to wrap me in scarfs (some with bells on) and declare that I looked exactly like Shakira. Yeah, I don’t know what to do with that either.

It was the Papyrus shop that got me in the end. I was a newbie graphic designer at the time, and had recently fostered a hatred for the hideous typeface “Papyrus”. It had become a kind of running joke between Mark and I (one day I would even go on to write this blog about my level of hostility and revulsion). So I had to get a papyrus just for the lolz, you understand.

We spent an age painstakingly going through all the options available for purchase. Our patient salesmen sat with us, explaining the meaning and history behind each design. Possibly talking total bollocks, how would I know?!

Finally, I saw it. The design I had to have. The papyrus depicting circumcision in ancient Egypt. I don’t know how authentic it is and I don’t care. I just like it.

I like the fact that the hieroglyphics contain lots of snakes. I like the fact that it’s a communal circumcision ceremony and while one gentleman needs to be forcibly restrained, his friend is so pleased with the whole thing he likes to pat his cutter on the head. I also like the fact that it reminds me how much I like foreskins. What else is there to play with on a lazy Saturday morning?

It also raises a few important questions: Why do these guys have no body hair? Is there an earlier papyrus containing the body waxing ceremony? Why would you sit in that position to perform a fairly delicate surgery? That doesn’t seem particularly stable. Where did these guys get their glorious white nail polish? Definitely the best manicure in the ancient world.

I will probably never find out the answers to these questions, and that’s ok. I have a penis-based wall hanging and I definitely have zero buyers’ remorse.

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