I am Mena House
I am Mena House.
I have many memories and I suppose I am branded fortunate to have witnessed the events that I have.
Then again, what I hold are mere memories-- since those who make them, disappear from me inevitably and after a few days. My guests vanish from my ears, my view, literally, from my walls.
Except one, my constant companion, that dun colored gigantic cone fraught with mystery and awe--Kufu. I am under no delusion that those memories caused by my visitors are inspired by anything but he, Kufu--what man and I as well refer to as the Great Pyramid.
Together we stand, Mena House and the Great Pyramid Kufu, in the desert of Giza with its pale everlasting and windswept sand set off by endless cerulean sky.
In case you did not know, the Great Pyramid, that dun colored mystery, was built for Pharaoh Kufu between 2700 and 2500 BC making my rival for attention ancient history.
I (now named Mena House), was already in existence as a hunting lodge since 1883 and laid low by the many Bedouins and Egyptians of no consequence who abused my shelter. They placed a terrible desecration on me with their cooking stench and low manners.
Then I came into some luck. I was acquired by a wealthy couple who transformed me into an opulent oriental palace facing the Great Pyramid. The couple that purchased me had fallen for the lure of exotic tourism. Three difficult years passed (with all the banging in my ears and weighty additions to my frame) and then I was open to all and sundry and called by the unusual name of Mena House.
I cannot help but relate my sad tittle-tattle about those who traveled here to gawk open-mawed at my imposing neighbor Kufu. It concerns a guest that, so to speak, did lay with me: She was only one of the many I still cannot help overhear as they shelter within my opulent walls.
Male and female, those from the past are still as real to me as if I would have known them as friends.
I, Mena House, have witnessed the intimate acts of lords and ladies, rogues and statesmen and I shall soon tell you about one such incident if you care to read this somewhat confabulative missive.
When I am alone, as I ultimately am, and past guests become memories, I relive the conversations they indulged in while they preened with their silver hairbrushes or lounged in velvet smoking jackets in my suites; or their discourse while they ate and drank orgiasticly in my dining establishment, or even how they snored and grunted while lying in my decadent beds.
Here is what transpired that hurt me. Remember -- it is not my failure, but my constant companion: that pyramid and wonder Kufu’s as he and his silent stature attracts them to rest with me and then ultimately takes them away.
I pine for her. My walls ache for her. She was a beauty in that Northern European way with stupendously pale desert hued hair, eyes and skin (especially compared to those swarthy skinned Bedouins who desecrated me).
A lady, she was obviously of good breeding, but still naïve.
I recall that it was a coolish autumn (if the desert can boast an autumn) afternoon and my sweet young guest was preparing to view (with her elderly and wealthy husband) the last remaining Wonder of the Ancient World, the Pyramids of Giza.
Of course the light in that spring/autumn couple’s eyes appreciated only Kufu.
My lovely female guest had seen that object of her wonder (that egoist Kufu) from her husband’s suite-- from my walls.
(Istand proud and strong at the end of Pyramid Road affording my guests a full view of the famous pyramids including Kufu.)
I saw how her eyes blazed with pleasure and she could not tear herself away from the sight. Her grey eyes sparked at the anxious movement of the horses and jitneys.
She was clad in her nightdress of finest Egyptian cotton, thin as a wisp of cloud. Transparent as I imagine a tropical sea to be. I, Mena House loomed, like the strong wall and will that I am, protecting her as she wrote in her private diary.
She began in handwriting elegant and modern: “I think back on our arrival. We sailed from Africa to Port Said in Egypt, to be concise-- and I must say I would not recommend it in inclement weather. The sailing ship took three weeks and there was nothing to do. How boring and tedious the trip was.
George, my odious elderly husband seemed to have a fine time gallivanting back and forth with this or that traveler; but George comes from a new money family and is obviously immune to poor conversation. He also met some men I would call adventurers and they played cards (I worried it was for my money) each evening while I lay in bed and pursued the latest Charles Dickens’ serialization. I will and did not and will never complain to anyone ‘tho I languished in my small berth thinking of my handsome young friend, who my father forbade me of ever seeing again. My father married me off to the odious George and sent me far far away.
I am now at one of my father’s estimable establishments in Giza with a man I am forced to call my husband.
After I watched as the young lady make this personal entry in her leather bound diary I spied her one last time. She was clad in pale gossamer and sporting a tope with a net covering her lovely face. She was taken from me by a night sky colored high stepping stallion who flirted shamelessly in front of a leather carriage. They were on their way—where else? to my arch rival Kufu. My mistress was accompanied by a tall young male who had just arrived. I could see they knew each other and were intimate by the dove-like tones they cooed/whispered in each other’s ears. But I suspect it was Kufu who took her from me. My loveable girl, with her pale flowing hair and long lashes and glowing angel eyes and gossamer robes; Kufu stole her from me, as she never returned to the shelter of my walls.
I do not know where she went but I wait for her still, as her now doddering and ancient husband does in my opulent dining room, and reading room, and gardens scented with sweet blooms of jasmine and bougainvillea trailing up and over the grateful shade of phoenix palms --and worse, under the shadow of Kufu, the Great Pyramid.
Location: Mena house is a once in a lifetime experience with one of the ancient wonders of the world ever present from the historic windows of this most elegant and friendly hostelry. You will fall back in time and memories will be made. Not just a swank hotel but an unforgettable experience.
Mena House Oberoi, Pyramids Road, Giza, Cairo, Egypt