Episode 9: Standing in the Footprints of the Gods

Standing in the Footprints of the Gods

Here is an interesting short story about Zach traveling on such a short notice to Cairo, Egypt to meet his friend Mohammad.


You can read the transcript below.

It was the end of the year in 2016 when I received a call from a production I was to be working with. We had already decided that in two days I was to fly to Melbourne to begin shooting, but in this moment they had called to inform me that they had decided to go in a different direction and cast a much more famous Hong Kong actor to play my role. While I wasn’t shouting from the rooftops with joy, I can honestly say I was relieved as for the past 8 months I was working continuously on 3 other sitcoms with only a few days off here and there. When you are an actor, weekends are never a thing. So frankly I was looking forward to a break.

The only problem was with the holiday season, and Chinese New Year coming up Beijing was a ghost town, and everyone I knew already had plans out of town. It was then I got a message from one of my closest friends, Mohommad. Mohommad is an internationally acclaimed journalist living in Beijing, he is a close friend and work colleague of mine as we have appeared on several talk shows together over the years.

He had messaged to check in and see how the wrapping of my current sitcom was going, and to see exactly when I would be flying to Australia. I told him of how they had hired another actor, and now I was trying to sort some last minute holiday plans. But it was likely I would spend the holiday season watching TV, ordering take out, and enjoying a much deserved stay cation. It was then he faced timed me. ‘Come to Egypt!’ Is the first thing he shouts into the screen. I laugh as this is probably the 100th time he has said this to me. 

‘I’m serious, come to Egypt.’ He says looking more intently at me.

‘What? This is so last minute, what a bout a visa, where would I stay, flights are going to be so expensive.’ I excuse.

‘Visas you get on landing, round trip tickets are $600, and you can stay with me and my family.’ 

‘I can’t impose on your family like that. You only see them once a year, you should enjoy your time with them.’

‘They’ve known me for 28 years, it’s time they meet you.’ He laughs.

He then turns the camera and I see his whole family sitting on the couch, ‘they all want you to come.’ He said.

After speaking for a few more minutes, I open up an app and book a one way ticket to Cairo, leaving in 30 hours. Then I start to laugh. My costar on set asks why I am laughing, I tell I’m going to Egypt. She says when. As soon as we are done filming.

After the following day of filming I left directly from set to the airport. And after 1 very delayed flight, and one missed connecting flight I landed, exhausted, delirious and, stinky at Cairo international airport.

It’s a few hours past midnight when I finally make it past customs and out of the airport when I am greeted by Mohommad and two of his friends Fakka, and Raga. We then hop in his car blasting tunes and careening around the roads of Cairo. ‘See that building there? It’s the former citadel.’
‘Wow, looks really old.’ I say.
‘Not so old.’ Fakka replys. ‘ only about 800 years.

You see that river? 
That’s the Nile.
‘What??? Can we get out, I need a picture!’
‘It’s night, you won’t see anything.’
‘That’s the Nile, the birthplace of civilization. I need a picture.’
They laugh and stop the car.

Several minutes, and several laughs later we are passing down an incredibly busy street known as Sherra Al harram or in English pyramid street.

Look. Says Mohommad 
What? I say
Look, there.
The pyramids he says.
‘Where.’ I say more excitedly. I dont see anything. It’s too dark. It’s just desert.
‘No that’s a pyramid.’
‘I don’t see it Mohommad.’ Thinking he is just picking on me.
Look more up, he says.
Looking up to humor him more than anything else that’s when I see them for the first time. About 400 feet above from where I was looking I see the outline of the great pyramid of Giza.
‘Stop…’ I begin to say.
‘Zach it’s too dark to take a picture, don’t worry we’ll come back in the day time. They’ve been here awhile and they won’t go away any time soon.

Two days later we awake at about 8 in the morning we hop in an uber to meet a friend of Mohammad’s before going to the pyramids

While walking with Mohammad among the camels to take a tour I hear a woman’s voice says, ‘zuo you ni hao!’ I turn and see a short woman in a hijab, with sunglasses covering half her face. 
Thinking I know her we strike up a basic conversation. By her accent in mandarin, I assume she is southern in origin.
She is telling me she is a big fan of my work when Mohommad comes and warmly greets her in Arabic. And they begin talking a mile a minute.
I’m gobsmacked, ‘never in my life have I met a Chinese person who speaks Arabic so well.’
Her and Mohommad begin laughing so hard and she takes off her sunglasses, she then says to me, ‘actually you have never met an Egyptian speak Chinese so well.’ She says shooting Mohommad a challenging glare.

After saying a quick goodbye we begin walking again and I see them.

Three towering structures looming so far over head they looked as if they could scrape the heavens and pierce the sky cracking it wide open.

As a child reading history books I always found it laughable that Pharaos where considered gods. How could humans see a mere mortal as a god. But here, of nothing but sand rises towering monuments over 500 feet into the air, challenging mountains themselves. Saying unto you, I dare you NOT to worship me. It was in this moment I understood, these structures created jinfamy, which in a way grants immortality. For I was now standing in the foot prints of the gods.

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