Under ordinary circumstances, I try not to be entranced by the nuances in various souvenirs in countries that we visit. However, every once in a while, you find yourself saying, “Well, I can’t get that back home…”
In Egypt, there were several items that had me doing a double take.
First stop was Siwa Oasis: Essence Maker, a small essence shop within a few blocks of the pyramids in Giza. With the recent trend in essential oils in the West, I had a laugh to little that such a prominent part of this ancient culture somehow has become a trending topic again across the world.
In any case, while the shop owner took the time to show us some various scents, we took advantage of some karkade, hisbiscus tea (which does help to lower blood pressure by the way…). Everything you could imagine was there: lotus flower, jasmine, rose, lavender, papyrus flower, gardenia, lilac, orange blossom and many more. The shop also had various blends and spice scents. At the end of the day, we did purchase a few…but seriously, I’ve mentioned before in other blog posts, I much prefer something pure and natural on my skin than the chemical compounds in most perfumes. Plus, these are supposed to last a long, long time. I particularly liked:
- Double jasmine – A women’s scent
- Golden Watel – A scent used to induce focus and good memory
- Papyrus Flower – A men’s after-shave
- Tut-ankh-amon – A men’s scent
- Arabian night – A woman’s scient
- Narwastoo – An oil that’s good for the skin
I have seen some poor reviews of a place referred to as Siwa Perfume Factory – But we went to Siwa Oasis. So far, it’s been two full months and our perfumes are still strong. We’re happy with them.
Next, we stopped to see the papyrus store. Now, I can tell you an oversimplified version of how papyrus is made. First, strips of the plant are soaked in water for a few days. Next, each strip is rolled out and pressed. Then, the strips are laid out to vertically and horizontally overlapping and alternating. The final product is left to dry out under a press or stone or other heavy material. And viola, you have papyrus paper!
There are several beautiful designs to choose from in the papyrus stores – the colors are particularly vibrant. Below are some of the ones that stood out. We purchased a small copy of the Egyptian calendar, and the store also gave us our names in hieroglyphics on a separate sheet of papyrus.
After ensuring the souvenir industry was well funded, it was time to get back to making memories instead of buying them. There was still a lot more to see. 🙂