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Egypt holds an allure that straddles the line between modernity and ancient wonder. My trip took place in February, which is an ideal time to travel before the weather becomes unbearably hot and dry, as it does in April. I visited the cities of Aswan and Luxor, along with Egypt’s capital, Cairo. When I wasn’t taking pictures in Egypt, I was busy bargaining, which is no easy feat in a country where aggressive haggling is interwoven in everyday life. From behind my camera, however, I was fascinated by the contrast of the bright, colorful architecture against the clean landscape of windswept sands. Taking a step through the arch of an Egyptian doorway was much like taking a step back in time.

Egypt is also home to another impressive natural wonder; the River Nile, which cuts the dry, sandy desert into two for an exciting, natural juxtaposition. I found the best way to view the Nile was by taking a ride on a felucca sail boat, which can cost anywhere from $5 to $50, depending on your negotiating skills. Feluccas are usually operated by Nubians, who are known as the ancient inhabitants of that region. I spotted several Nubian villages just north of the city of Aswan on the west bank of the Nile and on the very green and lush Elephantine Island, which lies in the middle of the river.

My trip to Egypt would not have been complete without seeing the great monuments and ruins of Giza, just outside of Cairo. The famous Sphinx and trio of pyramids were all built from enormous blocks of limestone and were surrounded by smooth, endless waves of sand dunes of the Sahara. While the tour inside the pyramids only somewhat satisfied my curiosity, it was the architectural grandeur of the pyramids that intrigued me most. Even an ordinary sunset became mesmerizing when cast beside the splendor of a pyramid’s silhouette, reaching up high into the clouds.