National Geographic : 1944 Dec
The National Geographic Magazine .. o .. lly sI .111+ P VIT , m VIUlll11 A GI Joe Version of "The Helping Hand" A trip to the Pyramids is a must for soldiers on leave in Cairo. Many are content to view the desert wonders from below; the more energetic climb the ancient stumbling blocks all the way to the top. Here a Red Cross girl, intent on making the trip up, gets an assist from two soldiers (p. 745). when the pilot called back on the "inter com." He started out by telling me I was the most important item they'd picked up and asked if I'd like to come forward and "fly her." What a line these Yanks hand out! But I took him up on the offer before he could retract it. I wanted to try my hand at this fly ing business. The pilot was delighted, but the co pilot seemed a bit chagrined. Perhaps it was because he was given the job of holding the puppy while I settled back in his seat for the remainder of the trip. That flight was magnificent. The Val ley of the Nile flashed below, blocked out in geometrically perfect rectangles and squares of vivid and pastel green, with the serpentine river gracefully wind ing through it, bringing life to the dry, sun-baked earth as it has been doing through the ages.* Then we were skim ming over the open desert, with its razor backed, wind-shaped dunes that looked like frozen waves of a great tan ocean stretching limitlessly to the horizon and beyond. We flew over the scenes of tank battles, and burned-out tanks could be seen here and there, as lonely as if they littered the bottom of the sea. Occa sionally, too, there was the wreckage of an airplane, sometimes apparently in tact; but often glittering pieces were spread out over a great black area where one had exploded and burned. I was glad to note the swastika mark ings on many of the planes; I didn't like to think of any happy boys like ours being in some of those wrecks when they hit away out there. But of course some of them had done just that. Though our journey was several hun dred miles, the plane had traveled so fast that we landed before it was fully dark. I had been so thrilled by the trip that I felt as if we'd just taken off. As I should have expected after prac tically two whole days among overseas soldiers, the boys were out in force to "welcome me aboard"-though there was nothing at all about our environment to justify such a salty term. A few dozen tents to one side of the airport, which had been captured from the Germans only a couple of weeks * See, in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGA ZINE, "Land of Egypt," by Alfred Pearce Den nis, March, 1926, and "By Felucca Down the Nile," by Willard Price, April, 1940.