Archive for September 1st, 2009


Layla’s Retirement

on September 1, 2009 in Misc 1 Comment »

When Layla grows old she’ll retire with her lover/husband to a boat on the Nile.

Retire_on_the_Nile

I made this decision because that’s what I want to do when I’m an old fart and finally have enough money to quit working.  At the rate my retirement funds are growing that’ll happen when I’m ninety-two.

The source of this inspiration came from a story in the New York Times I read a few weeks ago and haven’t been able to get out of my head.  It profiled two archeologists, now in their sixties, who for six months of the year live on a dahabiya or houseboat on the Nile while excavating the tombs of the sons of Ramses II in the Valley of the Kings; the other six months of the year they spend in Cairo, London, and Connecticut.

Damn, that sounds so good!

Of course Layla is a hell of a lot closer to achieving this dream than I’ll ever be.  After all, she has a bachelor’s in history and a master’s in early Christian literature with an emphasis on archeology.  I figure that when she’s in her fifties she’ll pursue a degree in Egyptology at her alma mater, the University of Chicago, which just happens to be the leading North American institution in that field.  (I really had no idea when I created Layla’s background that the U of C would remain relevant for her future plans.)  Then of course there are her connections to the antiquity departments of various institutions.  Finally, she has a powerful connection to a remarkable discovery in Egypt, as detailed in The Compass Master.  So Layla’s retirement is set.

As for me…

Some years ago I spent about ten days in Egypt, half of that time in Cairo and the other half by floating up the Nile with other tourists.  I’m also struggling to get down the basics of the Arabic language.  Logically, none of this amounts to a hill of beans when it comes to my dream retirement.

But maybe there’s hope for me.

Right now I’m reading The Road to Ubar by Nicholas Clapp.  He’s a documentary filmmaker who researched the legendary and vanished city of Ubar on the Arabic Penninsula, then organized a successful expedition to find it.  That makes him a member of the crowded ranks of amateur archeologists who’ve made great discoveries.  Hence for me The Road is one of those books that drive home the fact that amateur archeologists can also go into wild place and have a rip-roaring time locating lost antiquities.

I just might have a grand old age after all.