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Despite the growing numbers of visitors looking for peace and quiet in the palm groves, cures in the hot springs, or adventure in the desert, the oases of Bahriyah and Farafra still nestle gently in Egypt's Western Desert, worlds away from the bustling Nile Valley. But when Ahmed Fakhry first visited these remote islands of tranquility, their isolation was extreme in comparison: in 1938, for example, ''there were no modern means of communication between Farafra and any other place--no telephone, telegraph, or radio, or any mechanized transportation. In an emergency, the 'umdah sent one of the guards by camel to Bahriyah, a journey which took four days.'' In this now classic portrait of Bahriyah and Farafra, the renowned and esteemed Egyptian archaeologist Ahmed Fakhry is our charming and erudite guide not only to the pharaonic and Greco-Roman history of the oases but also-being a keen and astute observer of his fellow Egyptians--to the lives, dress, language, customs, and habits of their modern inhabitants as he knew them through more than thirty years of working there.