By now dear reader, you have deduced I spent several days in Balboa Park while I was in San Diego. Although I lived in San Diego in the 1950s, and made numerous trips over the next few decades to this city for business and professional meetings, I had not spent much time in this wonderful park.
As I spent several days exploring Balboa Park, I took many photos including the picture at the top of this page, captured before the Museum of History. After I spied them walking down the sidewalk in their flowing gowns, this couple kindly agreed to let me snap their picture with my cell phone. I do believe I encountered the beautiful Nefertiti and her brother and consort…Amun Re? Akhenaten? Amun Hotei IV? And as serendipity would have it, they paused before the museum adverts for Egyptian exhibits.
Like many in my generation who remember the British Empire and the Suez crises, I am a fan of all things Egyptian. Living in Washington DC over the years, I have known many Greek-Egyptian people, most of them Christian Orthodox refugees and descendants of those who conquered this ancient land under Alexander the Great.
So when and how did I become intrigued with this part of the world? I put it down to a Scrooge McDuck comic book I read as a child, followed by Agatha Christie stories I read as a teenager (she was still publishing a mystery a year). After Christie, came James Michener’s The Source, a novel which carries the reader back strata by strata through the excavation of an ancient site in Israel to past times. Along the way the archeologist uncovers the story of the Jews and their interactions with other people of the near East.
Visiting Egypt, McDuck takes a trip to an archeological dig where, as does the hero in the film The Mummy, he finds himself transported back in time to ancient Egypt.
Before she wrote some of her mysteries set in Western Asia and North Africa, the archeologist, Agatha Christie directed excavations in Egypt and Mesopotamia. In several of her mysteries, such as Death Comes as the End, she transports the reader to ancient times in Egypt.
These authors and others I encountered through life transported me.
As you can tell by now, its easy for me to become lost in this world, and why when I see an apparition of two of my favorite historical figures, it’s magical.