Monday, January 30, 2023

King Tut

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine I’d someday be inside King Tut’s tomb. It’s not the biggest or fanciest but the only one found intact. Although it’s pretty fancy too. 

Many tombs have been found in the area known as Valley of the Kings and they’re pretty certain there are many still yet to be discovered. Tut's actual mummy:

The hieroglyphics inside the tombs can be quite colourful. And despite them being hundreds of feet into the mountain they are quite detailed. 

Look at how vast this temple of Queen Hatshepsut is. Can you see how little the people are?

The size of the sculptures and monuments is mind boggling. 

Another horse/buggy ride through Luxor at night - the city was alive and buzzing - families out for a stroll by the river, shops open late. And we actually visited a mosque. 

Alabaster city is known for its stoneware - these gentlemen are taking the alabaster and creating vases and pieces for the tourists to buy.

And look, here’s a tourist with one of the alabaster pieces he bought. 

Saturday, January 28, 2023

It’s All Hieroglyphics

Of course there are persistent street vendors everywhere but I couldn’t resist buying a bracelet from this little cutie. 

Our guide Walid gave us a great lesson on hieroglyphics and we’re all experts now. He also explained that this Ancient Egyptian must have had wi-fi (5G) as you can see from this glyph:

It was surprising to see the hieroglyphics in real life and try to imagine the time it must have taken to carve out of the sandstone. You need to zoom in to see the intricate detailed carvings of these hieroglyphs. 

We visited 2 more temples, Kom Ombo and Edfu, the 2nd largest.  Getting to Edfu required a horse/buggy trip through the dusty, run down city. This is a very poor area of Egypt. Unfortunately they don’t look after their horses very well but Walid chose some of the better looking ones for us. 

Surprisingly the Egyptians also mummified crocodiles here shown in the Crocodile museum. I guess they were thought to be sacred (or they were scared of them). 

The temple at Edfu provided a nice background for a group photo. 

Friday, January 27, 2023

Pyramids, Temples and, oh-oh, Camels

We had nothing planned for the evening so we decided to take in the Light and Sound show at the Giza pyramids. It was interesting to hear the dramatized stories and enjoy the lights, but it wasn’t all that exciting based on the fact that Ross fell asleep 3 times. 

After an early morning flight (or what I consider the middle of the night) we arrived in Aswan and stopped at the Aswan Dam, built about 50 years ago and creating Nasser Lake, one of the worlds largest man-made lakes. Then a short boat ride to the Philae Temple which was moved from its original site to higher ground to prevent it from completely disappearing under the flood waters of the Nile. 

Amazing that they could disassemble, then recreate, this vast brickwork with intricate carvings and countless hieroglyphics. 

We boarded the boat that will be our home for the next 3 nights on the river - nice rooms but stupendous food  

Later in the afternoon took another boat ride to visit a Nubian village. The Nubians are the dark skinned Egyptians and have a completely different set of customs, language, culture. 

Here’s a photo with a Nubian woman, which created quite a stir when I only paid the lady on the left not the photobomber in the middle  

And of course one way to get up the hill from the river is by camel. I wasn’t totally convinced I was going to ride a camel here but let me tell you, once I got on, I was nothing less than terrified the entire way. I was sure the camel was going to dump me off or slip over the edge or any one of a number of things your imagination can think of, and all of it completely out of my control!

And from my POV:

Needless to say we both survived. 

The Nubian village was mostly markets but we spent some time in an actual home and in one of the many spice stores. 

Having been terrified enough for one day I chose to skip the part where they wanted us to hold a baby crocodile but Norma was braver than I. She doesn’t look terrified does she?

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

…..Three Years Later

Hard to believe it’s been exactly 3 years since our last (non New Brunswick) trip where we visited Tasmania and the area near Melbourne. It’s a dim memory but we’re on the road again! Not literally - by the time we arrive home in a month we’ll have been on 12 different airplanes and a couple of boats, if all goes according to plan. 

We’ve talked about visiting both Egypt and the Serengeti, so when Ross found out some friends were planning this trip he happily invited us along and the preparation began. So equipped with our gear and air tags (to track our luggage) we arrived in Cairo late Wednesday. Due to our delayed flight from Kelowna and the short layover in Vancouver we could see that one bag didn’t quite make it to Calgary but they all managed to make it to Egypt. 

This golden lady welcomed us at the airport  

Fortunately we were met at the airport by Iman who facilitated our passage through customs as well as help purchasing SIM cards (43GB for $10US). The ride to the hotel was somewhat hectic - we noticed most of the cars on the road had lots of well earned scrapes and  dents. 

Iman wrangled our luggage through the process. You wouldn’t even know that we hadn’t slept for 36?? Hours (actually lost track of hours/days)  

The Hilton Ramses from the 12th floor has a great view of the Nile at night and in the day. 

A pint of beer at the hotel was about 120 Egyptian Pounds, about $5 CAD, Ross figures we can find it for about $1 elsewhere - that’ll make him happy! Been here for almost 14 hours and still haven’t seen a pyramid. Maybe today. 

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