a unique perspective on this crazy world

Posts tagged ‘egypt’

messing with the temples…

As I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, I have abandoned the concept of a day by day travelogue.  I have tons of photos so will organize them once I am home and that will provide the daily record of my adventures.

We saw a lot of temples!  If I have my facts straight, some started as temples to gods of the pharaoh time and then were converted and overwritten by Greeks and Romans – who also adopted some of the Egyptian traditions while living in Egypt.

The temples offer a surfeit of delights – incredible architecture, astonishing artistic work, many decades of history and wonderful photographic opportunities.  We went to Denderah, Kom Ombo, Luxor and Philae in addition to the ones previously mentioned.

We arrived at them by tour bus, horse drawn carriage, boat or simply by foot.  Each offered its own delights – great carvings, colour in the stories depicted on the walls, astonishing columns complete with capitals… the only common factor was the vendors trying to sell us stuff at every turn.

The only drawback to a tour is that the pace is really intense so I learned in the moment all sorts of facts about each temple but it’s tough to recall all these mental notes many days later.  I did buy a book about Egypt that I am hoping will piece all my photos together.  But our shopping opportunities were extremely limited so I had to settle for a book in French!

Hopefully in time I will be able to better explain the temples.  My main take-away at this point is that the temples were the first form of propaganda and advertising.  So each new group messed with the details left by the previous ones trying to impose the symbols and iconography of the new regime and Egyptian temples became a fascinating record of human conflict and arrogance.

just call me queen marla :)

I still have a catch up post I want to write about Amsterdam and my recent experience in Europe but my internet will turn off tomorrow morning so figured I would try and type something to get my money’s worth.

Today we got off the compound and I actually saw Tahrir Square.  I even got a shot of a bombed out looking Mubarak headquarters.  Seeing it live definitely made the recent events in Egypt come alive.  Tahrir Square seemed like a ragtag ghost town… a semi abandoned Occupy city…

What was more compelling was the claim of Sonia, our Egyptologist, that we were getting a private tour of the Museum of Antiquities.  It certainly felt that way.  We saw the riches of King Tut’s tomb, some real mummies – not just the coffins – along with other treasures.  But there was no shop because apparently it had been looted during the uprising.

And the museum seemed old and tired despite the beautiful artifacts it held.  What was fascinating was Sonia’s agreement with me that the archeological treasures of the world are best protected by being strewn across various museums.

We saw the real King Tut death mask, along with all sorts of jewelry buried with him.  Sonia was a lively guide and I tried to absorb everything she was saying but there was so much history it was hard to keep up…

What was most fascinating was her view on politics (a big fan of Anwar Sadat).  I am now more or less friends with the hotel bartenders so can up the ante on the political talk.  They have really heavy accents and I am asking complicated questions that normal tourists don’t ask so it’s not totally clear whether Sadat was a good guy or not… and the current election… no one seems very keen…

What they seem to be keen on is redheads 🙂  Today I had two guys at the museum look at me in a way that is hard to describe… do they not realize I am an old lady??? 😉  I already have a couple of guys in the bar that have a little crush I think… and one of the servers at the A&K welcome dinner tonight took a rose out of vase and put it in a special package with my name on it…  I got a takeaway glass of wine to do this post and was planning to just walk it up the path… but there are golf carts everywhere – so we drove really slowly… and then someone else popped up to walk me to my room… he was the one who told me I looked like an Egyptian queen…

Needless to say… my advice… find a developing world country that is pretty safe… and go when other tourists think it’s not safe… just be prepared to hold your tongue a lot when talking to Americans, some of the most lovely people on earth, but frequently so naive you can insult them without meaning to… so instead sneak away and drink wine at the bar with the locals 😉

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