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Egypt 1991 - Jose and Marcus

Our Hotel Magawishi Hurgharda
On our last day in Egypt, where we had been collecting for one week - great trip by the way - we found out that we wouldn't have time to properly clean all the stuff that we'd collected there. As we normally do with small shells, we put them in small containers (like Gatorade, for example) in a solution of 30 to 40% alcohol. A stronger solution than that would make the animal too hard to clean later. The larger shells and the cowries we try to clean at the site if possible. But in Egypt that wasn't so easy: the sink was too small and there was no water pressure on the tap. Of course we were very tired after snorkelling all day long, and by the time we got in the room we could hear our beds calling for us When we plan a trip we always say that we will collect only small and light shells. But what can we do when we see Lambis truncata 18 inches long, Tectus dentatus measuring 8 inches and other "small" goodies like that? We grabbed some big shells as usual. What happened then? I can explain with a formula: Large Shell + large animal + no time to clean + no way to clean + long journey to home + stop in many hotels on the way back + airplane(s) + customs = BIG TROUBLE!!!!!!
Continuing our trip, we got some Tectus dentatus with the whole animal inside and put that in a plastic container together with sand. It worked perfectly to stop the smell (some people use cat litter). But when we were leaving the airport in Germany, we found out that the X-ray couldn't pass through the container. And to make it worse, we had some stainless steel wire to make tools for cleaning shells in the top cover of our suit case. In the x-ray it looked like the wire was coming from the container: the woman operating the X-ray machine started to sweat and called security. They took the suitcase and my brother to a safer place inside the airport and asked him to open his suitcase. I don't need to tell you that both the woman and the security guard were very concerned with that. But after my brother showed what we had inside the container they started to laugh. I told him to shout BOOM just as he was opening the luggage. Of course he didn't do it; otherwise I could be writing this text from some prison in Germany....

- Originally published on American Conchologist Vol. 24(4) page 19
- These photos were digitalized from originals (slides or paper) so the quality is not as high as the photos you are used to see in our website.


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