Are you ready to uncover more of the fascinating world of Egypt and its hidden treasures? In my previous post, I shared some incredible lessons learned during my travels in this remarkable country, from the awe-inspiring Pyramids of Giza to the stunning natural beauty of the Nile. But there's so much more to discover! From the majestic temples of Luxor to the serene beauty of the Nile, Egypt is a land of contrasts and complexities that has so much to teach us about life and business. In this post, I'll be sharing even more insights and revelations that I uncovered during my time in Egypt, including some surprising discoveries that are bound to leave you spellbound. So settle in and get ready to explore the wonders of Egypt once again!
Stunning artwork in the tomb of Ramses IV that is over 3,000 years old!
Egyptian mythology is a rich tapestry woven from the threads of the ancient culture's deepest fears and most profound desires. At the heart of their beliefs was the importance of the Nile, the life-giving force that sustained their civilization. But the Egyptians didn't just venerate the aspects of life that they loved - they also created deities around the things that they feared, from the ferocious jackal-headed god Anubis to the menacing crocodile god Sobek. By honoring these fearsome entities, the Egyptians sought to gain their favor and protection, and to understand and control the forces of nature that could threaten their existence.
Path to the burial chamber of Ramses IX
The Valley of the Kings, nestled on the west bank of the Nile in Luxor, is a testament to the ambition and foresight of the pharaohs of ancient Egypt. Here, the rulers of one of the world's greatest civilizations built their own tombs, working on them for years, even decades, while they were yet still alive. The elaborate structures, adorned with intricate carvings and colorful paintings, were designed to be the final resting place of the pharaohs' mortal remains, as well as a gateway to the afterlife. But beyond their religious significance, the tombs of the Valley of the Kings also serve as a powerful reminder of the importance of building a legacy that will endure long after we are gone. The pharaohs knew that their time on earth was finite, and they took action to ensure that their memory and achievements would live on. We can all learn from their example and recognize that the time to start building our own legacies is now. We cannot rely on others to do it for us after we are gone. Instead, we must take charge of our own destinies and strive to leave a lasting impact on the world that will be remembered for generations to come.
Walking up to the Temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor
Modern sales processes in Egypt are deeply rooted in the country's culture of hospitality and generosity. One common tactic used by salespeople is to offer free educational demonstrations to potential customers, often accompanied by a complimentary drink or snack such as delicious hibiscus tea or a bite of sweet basbousa. These demonstrations are designed to showcase the benefits of the product or service being sold, while also establishing a sense of rapport and goodwill between the seller and the buyer. By providing something of value upfront and showing genuine interest in the customer's needs and concerns, salespeople in Egypt are able to build trust and credibility, making it more likely that the customer will make a purchase. This approach underscores the importance of building relationships and prioritizing hospitality and customer service in the sales process, which can be effective not only in Egypt but in other cultures as well.
Learning to bore out alabaster to make vases
Likewise, Egyptians have learned the value of involving customers in the planning, designing, and building processes. In ancient times, the pharaohs would often consult with their subjects and involve them in the construction of their grand monuments and temples. Similarly, in modern-day Egypt, businesses will involve tourists in the creation of their artwork. When we visited an alabaster factory, my kids got to participate in the different steps that the artisans take in refining the alabaster for making vases. When customers lend a hand in the creation of a product or service, they feel a sense of ownership and pride in the end result. This translates into a deeper connection to the brand and a greater willingness to promote it to others. By engaging customers in the design and planning stages, businesses can tap into their creativity and insights, leading to more innovative and customer-focused solutions that can ultimately drive growth and success.
The crowded city of Cairo
Traffic in Egypt is something so completely foreign to me. You’ll be driving on a 10-lane super highway that may or may not have lane lines painted on, and if they do they are merely suggestions on about how many cars could fit across, but even then it’s more of a challenge than a suggestion. You’re just inches away from the cars all around you, weaving in and out, all honking their horns. Then you realize you’re also sharing the freeway with motorcycles, mopeds with giant loads on the back, carts pulled by donkeys, and even pedestrians just taking a nice afternoon stroll in heavy traffic. This all terrified me. The crazy thing is, it works for them. We didn’t see a single accident the entire time we were there, and I can hardly drive my kids a mile and a half to school without passing at least one other accident here, with all of our rules and regulations and personal space. Our driver confirmed that serious accidents with injuries are actually pretty rare there. Everyone is just so much more aware of both themselves and everyone else around them, creating this beautiful chaos that blew me away.
Even the view from a bathroom window in Egypt is perfectly picturesque
The thing I learned about the road chaos with pedestrians and cars all over the place is that everyone there has a different sense of personal responsibility than what we are used to in the States. They each know that they have to get from Point A to Point B, and to do so as quickly and efficiently as possible, but they realize that everyone around them has the exact same goal, no matter what their methods are for travel. No one person feels that their journey is more important than another. So they confidently focus on their goals while simultaneously allowing others to reach their goals as well. And at the end of the day, everyone gets to where they want to be, and all in one piece. The funny thing is, to suggest that it could be otherwise is foreign to them. They don’t even understand why we would need so many rules and regulations and massive amounts of space to live our lives.
Statues guarding the entrance to the Temple of Hatshepsut
I really wanted to learn Arabic before heading to Egypt. I knew it was a sign of respect when traveling to assimilate myself to their language and customs rather than having them accommodate mine. And while I did manage to learn a fair amount of French, Hebrew, and Greek, I could not get my brain to wrap itself around Arabic in any meaningful way. And when I got there, I learned that the language in Egypt is so much more than just what is spoken. There are so many physical and visual customs that play a huge roll into the cultural language. And our driver explained that there is even a whole other language there that revolves just around the way you honk your horn while driving. There are always cars constantly honking their horns at all hours of the night and day, and not just to tell other drivers to get out of the way, but it has evolved into an entire form of communication for them. So to truly serve a group of people, you have to learn how to speak their language, not just verbally, and understand and appreciate their customs.
Entrance to the Luxor Temple. Remember this post where I talked about the missing obelisk? This is where it was from!
One thing I noticed while driving in Egypt is that many of the buildings look like they had their sides sheared straight off, as if when the freeway needed to be expanded, the buildings were in the way, so they just cut off whatever was in the way and kept going. I realized it’s kind of a metaphor for life. So often when something isn’t working in life, we try to tear it all down and start over, when we could just cut off the part that isn’t working and keep the rest in tact.
Giant columns in the Temple of Karnak
The other thing about buildings in Egypt was that many of them were fully in use, but they weren’t even finished. From the looks of it, maybe they never would be finished. Something I struggle with in my own life is feeling like I need to have everything perfect before I can start. I need to see the entire pathway before I am willing to even take the first step. But in reality, building codes and safety aside, sometimes it is better to just start building something and see where it takes you. Maybe you don’t actually have to build it as big or elaborate as you originally think before it fulfills your goal, or maybe the act of building starts pulling you in a different direction. If you wait until the plans are complete, you waste precious time and energy that are better spent on creating momentum through movement.
Apartment buildings alongside the freeway, both unfinished and half torn-down
It's one thing to focus on continuous improvement and forward momentum, but it is still important to finish what you've started before moving on. Taking out the trash is not only a chore we do at home, but it is also an essential part of completing any project. Whether it is a work assignment or a personal project, it is important to clean up the leftovers and tie up loose ends before moving on to the next task. This includes putting away any tools or materials used, reviewing and addressing any final details or touch-ups, and ensuring that everything is in order before moving on. Neglecting this final step can lead to unfinished work, errors, and complications down the line. Unfortunately, Egypt is filled with views marred by piles of rubble and trash that people neglected to clean up.
The Colossi of Memnon - incredible 60' tall statues outside the Valley of the Kings
Egyptian culture is very different from American culture, but it is not particularly diverse. 95% of the population is Egyptian, with only 5% coming from minority populations such as Bedouin tribes or the Nubian, Beja, or Dom communities, with a few Palestinian and Sudanese refugees. Less than 1% of the population comes from anywhere outside of North Africa or the Middle East. In addition, 90% of the population is Muslim, with only 10% practicing other religions (mainly Christian). Visiting there, we stuck out virtually everywhere we went, particularly when we ventured outside of the "touristy" areas. However, we were never met with any hostility or apprehension. In fact, many different times my kids and I were approached by other locals, especially teens, and asked in their broken English to take selfies with them. They always smiled and gave us the biggest hugs and told us how beautiful they thought we were.
Mummified foot with a prosthetic toe
We have a tendency in our world to feel superior to all of the various peoples and cultures that lived and died out before us. We have advanced knowledge and technology and all of these modern conveniences. But we forget sometimes just how advanced other civilizations were. Did you know that Ancient Egyptians had the technology to create prosthetics? In the Egyptian Museum we saw a mummified foot that had undergone a procedure to attach a prosthetic big toe after the original had either been lost or was removed. Egyptians had exceptionally advanced knowledge in medicine, engineering, astronomy, mathematics, and even in cosmetics, creating processes and products that not only have shaped our world today, but in many ways rival what we are currently capable of.
View from our felucca on the Nile River
As recently as January of 2023, archaeologists discovered a new Pharaonic tomb containing the sarcophagus of a 4300-year-old mummy covered in gold leaf at the bottom of a 33-foot shaft, untouched and undiscovered for all this time. The ongoing discoveries of mummies and tombs in Egypt are a powerful reminder of the endless mysteries and possibilities that exist in the world around us. They remind us that there is always more to learn and discover, and that even the most seemingly mundane fields can hold untold treasures and possibilities. Each new discovery represents a triumph of the human spirit and a reminder of the vast potential that lies within us all. These discoveries should inspire us to keep pushing forward, to keep exploring, and to never give up in the pursuit of knowledge and discovery. No matter what challenges we may face, the discoveries waiting to be made are always worth the effort, and the thrill of uncovering something new and exciting is always within our reach.
Inside King Tut's tomb
In the early 1900’s Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter teamed up to search for King Tutankhamen’s tomb, in an epic adventure that proved to be a testament to the importance of perseverance and recognizing the resources at hand. After years of fruitless searching, Carnarvon was ready to give up on the project. However, Carter had a different perspective and pleaded for one final season, realizing that they hadn't thoroughly searched their own base site. By taking one last look at their own backyard, so to speak, within days they discovered the steps leading to the long-lost tomb. This discovery was a reminder that our greatest opportunities for success may be closer than we think, and that by recognizing and utilizing the resources and talents we already possess, we can achieve great things.
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Who needs a time machine when you can explore the captivating land of Egypt? It's like stepping into a whole new world that's bursting with valuable insights for both life and business. Trust me, this place will leave you spellbound!
I’m a wife, mama to 4, baker, creator, fitness enthusiast, & 7-figure e-commerce entrepreneur, dedicated to helping you succeed in your own product-based business.
I believe that every business, and every person for that matter, has a light within them, a spark, that they need to share with the world.
Something that is already there, waiting to be drawn out into the open.
And that the more we share our light, the more the world glows and becomes more beautiful than we could ever imagine.
My goal is to help entrepreneurs find their spark and let it shine.