“The Amazon river is known as the longest in the world. Can anyone name the second longest, which has previously been claimed as the first?” The tour guide stood on a ledge at the front of the boat, looking down at the cluster of families in front of him.

Kira scrolled through her Instagram. She spotted someone she didn’t know who had commented on every single one of her posts and frowned. 

“Okay, since no one wants to answer, I’ll pick someone to guess. How about… the girl in the red shirt,” Kira vaguely heard him saying.

There was a long pause.

“Hello? I’m talking to you,” the tour guide said, with a hint of sarcasm in his voice.

Kira’s head snapped up. “Uh… What?”

She watched as the dark-haired tour guide rolled his eyes. He had been doing that at her since she had entered the quaint sailboat. “The second longest river in the world. I’m sure you know the answer. You seem so passionate about this tour,”

Kira racked her brain for an answer, and remembered that she was on a river in Egypt. That meant that the river she was on was probably the answer. She leaned over and whispered to her brother, “Where are we again?”

Ryan scoffed and glared at her. “Not telling,” he mouthed.

Narcissistic brat, Kira thought. 

In the same moment, she remembered that an Instagram model had done a photoshoot yesterday on a river that looked exactly like the one she was on. The caption was “Can’t help but smile when I’m at the Nile!” Kira had unfollowed her immediately.

“The Nile?”

“That’s… correct,” The tour guide said. He muttered something under his breath that sounded a lot like surprisingly.

Kira smiled sweetly at him, proud of herself. Ryan did a double take.

“What?” Kira hissed through her teeth.

“I didn’t think you even knew what country we’re in,” he remarked.

Kira elbowed him in the side, hard. He yelped and made a face that promised revenge. She shrugged, then nonchalantly glanced at her parents, checking if they had witnessed her monumental accomplishment. They were both standing a few feet away from the group, engrossed in each other, laughing and pointing at the view ahead of them. They weren’t even facing her.

Kira’s spirits sank for what felt like the millionth time. She opened Snapchat and took a photo. The billowing sails framing her tanned face like a white halo. Should she post it to her story right now? She decided to save it for the evening; she had posted a picture only an hour ago. 

Kira re-opened Instagram. It wouldn’t load. Are you kidding me?! She thought. I literally used all of my savings from working at Dunkin Donuts to get unlimited data in Egypt. 

She sighed and reluctantly put her phone away. She’d have to tell her parents that the internet wasn’t working. As if she could get their attention for more than 10 seconds at a time. 

She looked up and made eye contact with the tour guide. He gave her an appraising look, seemingly nonplussed by the absence of what had now become her label. She scowled back and looked away. 

This is boring, she thought. What are they even looking at? It’s just a bunch of water.

A snippet of the tour guide’s never-ending soliloquy caught her attention. “This area of Africa is one of the most visited, especially by photographers looking to capture this wonder of the world. Look ahead of you and you’ll see it: the Great Pyramids of Giza. I’m Codel, and I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour so far.”

 

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