Friday, December 3, 2010

...Travel Log: Lighthouse of Alexandria

Let me just start this post by saying that, yes, I do have a time machine and, no, I will not field any questions pertaining to it.

When I arrived in Alexandria at the airport I was extremely bushed from the over 2,000 miles, and 3,000 year flight. I got a nice feta salad from a cafe within walking distance of the hotel and decided that I'd start sightseeing tomorrow after a good rest. I fell asleep in the hotel watching a marathon of Murphy Brown and when I awoke it was only six o'clock so I decided to see what the night had to offer.

The bars and clubs near the hotel were an outstanding example of Alexander's influence and the spread of Grecco-Roman court culture in hip urban settings. I saw an elephant take ex and go on a killing spree that ended far into the Hindu Kush mountains. Needless to say, Alexandria is party city USA. The girls are hot, and the pedagogy is even hotter. If your looking for a Las Vegas adventure without all the risks, pre-Christianity Egypt is the place for you.

The next day I set out for the lighthouse. Over six stories tall and topped with massive searchlights to rival the 20th Century Fox logo, Ptolemny's baby glistened white in the harbor. Although it once functioned to lead ships into port, modern GPS technology has made it irrelevant and the lights now act to draw attention from the ancient world's clubgoers, signaling where the scene is.

From the outside, the limestone walls glow with a transluminescense that only Jupiter himself could rival. But on the inside, Ptolemny's crib is blinged out the crunkest dirty rapper. The first floor is the media center with a record 30 big screen TVs, each one running a constant loop of a different Rodney Dangerfield movie. Although I knew that the whole structure would inevitably sink into the sea, I couldn't help but be amazed by the consumer electronics and stereo systems that Alexander the Great's triumphant reign over the Old World had furnished. I sat down with the tower's owner and general of the great army, Ptolemny.

ST: So, the question on everyone's mind is "Why?" Why build this massive gleaming lighthouse in your capital city?
Ptlomeny: Well, when I was chillin' one night in Giza wit Alex and his gf we got to thinkin' that we needed to be shinin' in a way that didn't jus impress the ladies and the little boys, know'm sayin'? We needed to be outshinin' da gods themselves.
ST: I see, I see. So there wasn't anyone in particular that you were trying to impress?
P: Well, I got my eyes on this Macedonian babe... Queen of Egypt and all, but, she's taken. Married her brother, and all that.
ST: I think I know who you're talking about, and let me just say that she's trouble. That bitch is crazy. She'd fake her own death to drive you to suicide.
P: Pff, whatever man. Bros before hos, right dog?
ST: Totes. So tell me why you decided on limestone for the finishing?
P: Well, I knew it needed to be stone, so it would last forever, right, but granite and marble are too hard to carve into the designs I wanted.
ST: You aren't concerned that the saltwater will eat away at the lighthouse's foundation and eventually send it into the sea?
P: Shit no. I got the same contractor that did that fucking giant in Rhodes, and the Colloseum. Do you think those things are going to sink into the sea in a thousand years? No sir, you don'.
ST: Um, sure. Well. Thanks for your time, I must be heading back now.
P: Peace!

At the end of the tour I bought a flashdrive that was shaped like the lighthouse and an "I Conquered Nearly the Entire World, and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt" shirt. I got my picture taken with an bubble-headed Alex the Great mascot, who tried to pull my shirt off before I got away. I can see how the tourism industry has changed the seat of the African empire and the ensuing gentrification that set in on the city. But Alexandria still has it's own unique flavor that I think we'll hear a lot about in the coming millenia.

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