Leilani’s Limitless Life, Pt. IV


November 12

Yesterday my mom and I landed in Cairo, Egypt. After we landed, my mom and I met up with a tour group. We left the airport in a bus and one hour later, we were at our hotel. The hotel was nice, but the food wasn’t. That same day we met the rest of our tour group, got our 7-day tour schedule, and went to bed.

Now we’re going to see the pyramids! I’m so excited and ready. I’ve wanted to see the pyramids since I was 6, and here I am, ‘bout to be so close I can almost touch them. After we saw the pyramids, we went to a few other shops and went back to the hotel. After today, the group will not come back to the hotel. We’ll be on a cruise down the Nile River. My very first cruise … is down the Nile River! I’m so excited and ready.

November 13
I am miserable. We spent 17 hours in a bus driving from Cairo to Aswan. If you don’t know, that is a very long drive. The reason it took so long was that we needed police escorts during the drive. We had to stop at several checkpoints, and there were a lot of speed bumps.

We arrived at the cruise and the guides let us rest for an hour before telling us to leave again to go to another temple. Isis’ temple to be exact (Isis is an Egyptian goddess). The only way you can enter her temple is by boat because it was once underwater for 2,000 years. A few companies came and began repairs to the temple. It looked amaaazing! While we were there, I longed for my phone. After the temple, we headed to a perfume shop, and it was cool. My mom couldn’t try any because of her allergies.

I’m going to sleep now. Night.

November 14
The tour group woke up at 6:35 am and left at 7 to go to the temple of Edfu. We took carriages there, and I felt so bad for the horses. Out of my eight years of living in New York City, I have never taken a carriage, and I’m glad I haven’t. I hate how the horses are whipped and yelled at for running. We got to the temple; it was marvelous and huge. There were other tours there as well. We spent about two hours there.

November 16
So me, my mom and four other tour members are going to a village of the indigenous Black people of Egypt, Nubians. The Nubians raise crocodiles in their houses. That’s right. Real, living, crocodiles. Some raise them and then let them go into the wild. Or some people raise them, kill them and stuff the crocodiles. It depends on the person. So we got to go inside the houses and look at the crocodiles. They offered to let us hold the crocodiles and get henna tattoos, but we all refused. I wanted to get a henna, but my mom told me no, sadly. We got back to the cruise and set sail.

… The Valley of the Kings

November 17
Today we are going to see the king’s tombs. Let me give you a summary: Hundreds of years ago, Egyptians made tombs for their kings and queens. The tombs were filled with valuable items from the kings’ and queens’ lives. Sadly, many of these tombs were raided over time because of all the loot for grabs. The majority of Egyptians didn’t like how the tombs were being raided and decided to build them all in one location to make them extra secure. The Egyptians wanted to keep the tombs a secret so those who worked on the construction of the tombs were blindfolded and lead to the location of the tombs in the middle of the night. Then the blindfold was removed, they worked and were blindfolded again when they left.

The story says many years passed and an archeology group from Europe found the tombs. The group spent about two years in Egypt and was ready to call it quits when a clumsy man spilled water on the ground. The sand cleared up a bit and there was a trail. The man followed the trail and saw an area that looked like a sacred cave. He stepped inside one of the caves and was greeted by gold. He left the cave and informed the rest of his group about what he saw. Ever since then, the tombs have been open to tourists. All the gold and priceless artifacts were taken out, so the tombs would be less of a target for tomb raiders.

Today, I get to see the king’s tombs. All the rich colors were still in there. The walls were full of hieroglyphics that wrote out sentences. I was in awe of the colors—royal red, golden yellow, ocean blue and forest green.

November 18
Today was a full day and the last day of the cruise. We had to pack everything and guess where we are heading? The Red Sea. We are going to stay at a resort there! Unfortunately, we only get to spend one day at the resort, but the place is huuuge. It has three pools; a buffet with food from Italy, Japan, America; three water slides; scuba diving and a Perrier on the Red Sea. I spent more time in the pool and on the water slide than I did in the Red Sea. I’m a little scared to go in the ocean because of my jellyfish sting. My mom loved the Red Sea, though. She was swimming and squealing the whole time. She enjoyed it very much. Maybe too much? She said it was one of her favorite parts of the whole trip. But this luxury ends tomorrow, where the whole tour needs to wake up at 2 am and get on a bus to go back to Cairo. I’m not looking forward to that at all.

November 19
We have to go back to the hotel in Cairo by bus. Thankfully, there will be less people on the bus because some people decided they wanted to fly back to Cairo. After we arrived in Cairo, we are heading out to go to a museum to see mummies. I’m ready for this! My 6-year-old mind is so excited! My mom bought the ticket that lets us take photos and allows us to see The Royal Mummies. The actual. royal. mummies. They still have teeth, nails, and hair. It was awesome.

After the museum, we went to go see a mosque. That was my least favorite part of the day because people kept taking pictures of my mother and me. I hated it. I know I should probably be used to it because it happened to us a lot in China and Thailand, but I still hate it. After the mosque, we went back to the hotel to have dinner and celebrate our last day of the tour. We had a delicious chocolate cake. The tour also gifted each one of us our name in Hieroglyphics. Each letter in Hieroglyphics represents a character trait of the person’s name. The full name should represent the person’s character. I thought it was cool how the tour gifted us such an amazing gift. Tomorrow my mom and I will be traveling to Johannesburg, Africa!

JoBurg, South Africa

November 20
My mom and I landed in Johannesburg, and the area we’re staying in looks amazing! I’ve missed the city and Johannesburg has given me the feel of the city again. When my mom and I found our place, we unpacked our stuff and napped. After we woke, we were hungry, so we went out and looked for a place to eat. Across the street, there was a burger place and we decided to eat there. Now, when I say Johannesburg has the best burgers, JOHANNESBURG HAS THE BEST BURGERS! The buns were perfect; the meat was the best temperature. The lettuce was clean. Perfect. Just Perfect. After the burgers, we headed back to our place and slept some more.

November 21
Today my mom told me I had to write a paper on Nelson Mandela and I started that. My mom also went to get her hair braided, and I stayed home alone writing. As I was writing, I started learning about apartheid. I learned that apartheid was a terrible time for Black people in South Africa. Tanks were in the streets as if it was normal. Policemen were letting rabid dogs go loose in the streets and let them attack Black people. Nelson Mandela thought this was wrong and was a big part of ending apartheid. I started the first draft of my Nelson Mandela paper. I also tried Ethiopian food today for the first time. It. was. delicious.

November 22
My mom says we’re going to the Apartheid Museum today. I was excited to go but the cab ride there was a while and when we got there, we were hungry. Sadly, there was no food around. The Apartheid Museum was heavy and depressing. All the crap Black people had to go through because of their skin color was depressing. The Apartheid Museum had a mini-exhibit about the isolation cells. That was awful. The cells were so tiny, tiny enough that my mom could walk in there, stretch her arms out and touch the walls. The prisoners would barely have food or water. I hate how people were going to jail because they didn’t worship white people. It had a heavy impact on me and my mom. In the Apartheid Museum, we found a vending machine and got a granola bar and tried to find the exit to the museum. After we found the exit, we found a burger place and ate there. The burgers were perfect (again) and helped me feel better. It started to rain, which was our cue to leave and go home.

November 23
Today I did a lot more research on Nelson Mandela and apartheid. I’m almost ready to finish my paper.

November 24
We are changing our residence. It’s so much bigger and has more space than the last one, but one thing sucks: There is no internet. But we can deal with that, so no biggie. The place is about a block or two from where we used to stay, so we can still go to the burger place and walk around the area. We live on the third floor and there’s no elevator. We had to carry four bags all in one trip up the steps. Very tiring. After we dropped our stuff off, we walked around the area to find some food. We found a little store that sold snacks and we bought “food” from there.

November 26
We went to an old women’s prison today. We went and got to see and feel more of what apartheid was like. Women in Johannesburg were getting arrested for everything from being a sex worker to being educated. It’s not fair how teachers, mothers, strippers, and wives were being arrested for being Black. We also saw how different the white’s prison cells were different from the Blacks. White people had a bed, radio, pillows, blankets, and pajamas. The Black people had a cot with a worn down pillow. It was wrong and terrible. We saw the women’s prison and the general prison, where everybody was kept. It was a really heavy experience.

November 27
Today we went to a market that sells a lot of stuff. Food, clothes, accessories, books and toys. My mom and I spent a little too much money. It was really cool, though. The locals blocked the streets and people were dancing and singing like it was nothing. The food was so good, especially the seafood. My mom bought five items in total—three necklaces, one pair of sunglasses and one jean shirt. I only bought one item—a spike bracelet. It looks so cool! One of the best things about Johannesburg are the “Stop” signs. They’re awesome because the locals always write stuff on them. I saw this sign that said, “Stop Hating” and another one that said, “Stop the Racism.”

November 28
We’re leaving Johannesburg and going to Cape Town later today. We’re being picked up by one of my mom’s friends. My mom’s second sister actually lived in Cape Town for two years and returned to the USA for medical school. She’s one of my idols. I’m so ready for Cape Town!

… Cape Town, South Africa


November 29
We just landed in Cape Town and it’s 1:30 am. We were supposed to be here by 9 pm, but the plane was delayed by an hour. When we got on the plane, a storm came and the crew members decided we were going to stay grounded. Four hours, to be exact. The crewmembers wouldn’t give us free food or water at all. My mom and I were smart and luckily had packed four energy bars and one chocolate bar. During the last hour my mom and I watched one of our favorite shows, “Project MC2.” It’s about high school girls who work undercover and are very smart. The best thing about it is that the whole organization is full of smart women. We watched a few episodes and right when we finished our fourth, the plane took off. There was still some lightning in the sky and we flew around that. We landed and saw our mom’s friend and that was surprisingly their first time meeting in person. They met on Facebook years ago and not once have they met each other until now. My mom’s friend is cool and she lives on a mountain. A MOUNTAIN! After we got out the airport, we went in her car and, bless her, she provided us with food and water. She knew we were going to be hungry and thirsty and went out of her way to make us feel good. I really do like her. Her house is about 45 minutes away from the airport, so it wasn’t a long ride. On the car ride, she told us about the drought that Cape Town was dealing with. She told us how in May, Cape Town has “Dooms Day.” On a specific day of May, the country needs to have a certain amount of water. If the country doesn’t then people just have to deal with less clean water. We made it to her house, and she told us her rules house:

Shower in a kiddy pool and after we’re done
Scoop the remaining water and put it into a jug
Use the water in the jug for the toilet
Always wear shoes because scorpions get into their house.

Those are the rules to her house. And this one has Wi-Fi!

November 30
My mom’s friend has a daughter who is 16. As a birthday present, she and her mom are getting matching tattoos. My mom and I are going to go with them and after the tattoos, we’re going to see penguins by Cape Point View. It’s the most southern part of Africa and almost the world. The tattoo they’re getting is a quote that says, “Nevertheless, she persisted.” The font is really pretty.

The penguins are sooo cute! Most of the penguins are full of fluffy feathers and they’re so adorable. Cape Point View was also pretty. Windy—very, very windy—but pretty. The water was beautiful and looked even more beautiful with mountains in the distance! Just amazing!

About the author

We are The Lighthouse | Black Girl Projects Team. Editorial pieces that are attributed to us are a team effort.

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