Remembrance of Things Past in Egypt

For every traveler, Egypt is a trip back to the ancient world. But for Sandra Tsing Loh it was also a journey into a more recent past — the last time she remembers her mother and father being happy together. As she and her sister explore Cairo and beyond, what they really hope to see is a vision of their childhood

by Sandra Tsing Loh
egyptian pyramids image
Photograph: Harf Zimmerman

However fraught it has been spending this time with my sister—the person in the world who is most familiar to me—I recall the vitality of that connection. We try together to puzzle out our parents. We will never quite know them, but we try to figure them out in pieces, like blind men with an elephant. Will my own daughters try to do that with me? Probably, and whether or not they figure me out, or really “know” me, I can be sure they will grasp at least fleeting glimpses, as I have just done with my own mother’s life.

But that will be for later. Girls again, Tatjana and I ride to the pyramids on camel and on horseback, for which even I have to say we paid too much. Still, the photos that our charming guide insisted on taking were kick-ass, and the stories he told, like those we all tell of Egypt, priceless.

SANDRA TSING LOH is a writer, a performer and the host of a daily radio minute, “The Loh Down on Science.” Her next book, The Bitch Is Back, a humorous take on menopause, will be published by W.W. Norton in spring 2014.

Next: The Sister Pact

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First published in the May 2013 issue

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