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on tour with maynard james keenan

From Cairo, Egypt …


Posted: Jan 25, 2007 6:40pm ET

In Giza: Tummy full of butterflies. I had to pinch myself. Damn, I love my job.

All the years of stinky butt/feet van tours, all the inedible food, all the sweaty gropers, the liars, lawyers, vampires, barnacles and mocking birds …

All the bad weather, the delusional stalkers and the legions of voices in their heads, the underpaid and underqualified airport security staff waving wands across my bare feet looking for WMDs, the jet lag, the ambulance chasers and depositions, the neverending parade/revolving door of deaf-but-grinning record company execs …

All the Spinal Tap moments that used to be funny until they happened to us, all the tantrums by/interactions with the socially and emotionally challenged, all the "Oh my god!" hotel bar and minibar bills …

All of these things (and too many more to list) have been worth it since ALL of these experiences, added up, have brought me here. Right to the feet of the Sphinx and the Great Pyramids in Cairo. It took a few days for the whole experience to truly sink in. I'm still buzzing. The tour guide was waffling on. But I didn't hear him. I was just staring. There are photos of the trip on my site (www.caduceus.org). And although the notion that a picture is worth a thousand words may be true, my photos don't even come close to capturing the feelings I had, scratch that, am still having. Stunning. Truly stunning. A rare opportunity indeed.

This was The Moment dreamt and spoken of over and over again in great detail during those long "non-homework" nights in college with my roommates, Ramiro and Kjiirt. "Kashmir" playing at full volume, of course. And this was the tune pounding through my head, unconsciously at first, as I ascended the Grand Gallery stairs towards the King's Chamber. The song must have been bellowing out of my ears, 'cause when we stepped into the chamber, there were no aliens. Scared them off, I suppose. I had always assumed E.T. was a Zeppelin fan. Guess not.

That evening we did one of those borderline-cheesy dinner cruises on the Nile. Huge buffet-style spread, belly dancing, music, the works. The only decent red wine on the list was a Barolo, which came corked, but I just didn't care. I was having too much fun to fret about it. We just focused on the extremely overpriced Bollinger Special Cuvée. I believe it was $400. I know. OUCH. "But, DUDE! I was on the NILE!" shall be my cry from skid row.

Karl Mark
Geneva, IL. —  January 27, 2007 8:03pm ET
Nice blog entry. Nothing beats a good belly-dancer. Tried your website but couldn't find those pictures, the website was very interesting and maybe someday I'll try some of the wine. Best of luck in AZ. Sincerely Stinky butt/feet van tours...
John Pepper Jr
January 28, 2007 12:34pm ET
Maynard you rock! Good for you and all the fun you are having. I honestly apreciate the fact that you are very humbled and are living life to the fullest without be a stereotypical pompus rock star. Koodos to you and your future in the wine buisness. I too recently got involed in in the wine buisness on the retail end, having purchaced a small wine shop in small Wallingford Ct. called The Wine Cellar.Next tour if you come through Hartfod look us up l.o.l.. anyway good luck, like you need it. Peace, John P.
Raymond Archacki Jr
Wethersfield, CT —  January 28, 2007 5:55pm ET
Your songs Reflection and Triad served as the perfect "buzz" creator when my son and I were driving up in Northern Maine to climb Mt. Katahdin, the end of the Appalachian Trail. It was at sunrise in early September, the mountain darkly looming ahead. Could my old 49 year body climb and return. Even my son commented that the music matched the drive perfectly. I kept those tunes in my head during the 6 hour hike up and down. Great stuff and we celebrated with a few pale ales and a good bottle of red with dinner. Hope to try your wine someday.
Lisa Ruyter
Vienna Austria —  January 31, 2007 1:22pm ET
Cairo really is amazing to see - i had a chance to ride a horse around some of the less tourist ridden pyramids - that is really something! There is somehow no sound in the desert. and such a contrast to the traffic in the city. I had a great guide in my friend who lives there but it seems that it is nearly impossible to get a decent bottle of anything there, but they dont really check your suitcases for quotas on the way in and the simplest bottle becomes the greatest gift. i had some random black market pinot blanc that smelled like your pee after you eat asparagus... that was weird

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