Email 24

From:  johnm4713@yahoo.com
To: daniel7641@hotmail.com
Subject: Camping in Egypt

When I left Captain Abubakar’s ship in Marsa Alam, I found myself in familiar country.  Many years ago, when I was a boy, my parents took me on camping trips in the mountains of Egypt, along the Red Sea.  My mother had her notebooks with her, of course.  We went in search of encampments with Bedouin elders who had stories to tell.  It was in those encampments that I first heard stories about ghost camels.

So, standing on a dusty street in Marsa Alam, I decided to visit the lands of those long-ago camping trips.  I bought an old motorcycle from a shop just outside the city and headed west.  My plan was to ride into the mountains, find an out-of-the-way road that headed north, follow it to Hurghada, and then travel on to Cairo.

It was mid-afternoon when I left Marsa Alam.  My new bike ran surprisingly well, considering what I’d paid for it, and by evening I was deep in the mountains.  I purposely followed the less-traveled roads.




The stork that led me to my camping site.




The sky was turning pink and I was just thinking about finding a place to camp when the road took a sharp right turn.  I slowed the bike, rounded the corner, and found myself face to face with a Yellow-billed Stork. It’s unusual to see Yellow-bills in this area, but it was sitting on a low branch, at eye level, as if it had been waiting for me.  Just then, I noticed a movement in my pack.  I didn’t think much about it at the time.  It felt as if a water bottle or book had suddenly shifted position.

The stork spread its wings, tipped back its head, and began clacking its bill. Again, there was movement in my backpack.  This time it was more of a vibration, like the buzzing of a cell phone. But I don’t carry a cell phone.

I stopped the bike, took off my pack, and looked inside. There was nothing out of the ordinary.  Meanwhile, the stork flew noisily out of the tree.  It circled overhead, down into a nearby ravine, and back toward me again.

I noticed a small road–barely more than a trail–heading down into the ravine.  So, I strapped on my pack, started up my bike, and rode down the trail.  At the bottom, I found a lovely little oasis, an ideal spot to spend the night.  I leaned my bike against a tree, spread out my bedroll, and made a small fire to boil water for tea.

The stork, meanwhile, had perched in a nearby tree.  It sat quietly, head cocked, watching everything I did.  I took several pictures of it.  Finally, just as darkness settled in, the stork flew away.

I was pretty sure The Dark King had figured out where I was..

John




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