Monday, June 27, 2005
Saturday, June 25, 2005
Made me laugh no end.
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Egypt – Cairo
Karn El Khalili market at night.
A hazy city sunset.
Halam and Ali’s shop, never trust people who run a shop called Baghdad market.
This was taken by Alex, it was his attempt to prove that everyone in Cairo has sky T.V
Sunday, June 19, 2005
Egypt - Luxor
My favourite moment here was sitting in a felucca, having a traditional Egyptian lunch and watching the sunset. It’s almost a relief to watch the sun fall to the horizon line, and you breath a sigh of relief as the heat suddenly subsides, replaced by the warm, but bearable, still night air. It was hear that I had my dragonfly encounter. The Nile has the most awesome collection of dragonflies you could possibly imagine, they are huge. I was lucky enough to have one land right on my arm. Apparently letting it crawl all over me made me very brave.. right. I was also lucky enough to have my camera next to me so I hurriedly took a picture before it flew off. Turned out to be the best damned picture of the entire holiday!
The suset was simply stunning as well, all kinds of burnt hues filled the sky as the sun fell.
If I could ever recommend one place to go in Egypt it would be Luxor.
Valley of the Kings,
The Egyptian belief that "To speak the name of the dead is to make him live again" is certainly carried out in the building of the tombs. The king's names and titles are inscribed in his tomb along with his images and statues. These catacombs were harder to rob and were more easily concealed. Construction usually lasted six years, beginning with the new reign. The text in the tombs are from the Book of the Dead, the Book of the Gates and the Book of the Underworld. The tombs themselves are stifling and amazing, cut into living rock they follow the pattern of three corridors, an antechamber and a sunken sarcophagus chamber. Inside the air is hot and still, but despite being terribly uncomfortable, you cannot help but be awestruck by the sheer feat that building them must have take.
Traversing the valley on a donkey.
Ancient temples were considered to be the residence of the god. The Karnak temple was the dwelling place of Amon-Re, his wife Mut and their son Khonsu, the moon god. Construction continued on this temple for more than two millennia under the belief that once building ceased, the temple "died." This temple was my favourite, it’s huge and imposing and excellently cared for. The huge walls of hieroglyphics really bring home just how skilled the ancient builders of the past must have been.
Friday, June 17, 2005
Egypt - Nubians
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Egypt - Local humour
Egypt - Aswan.
Either way the heat is terrible, it ruins the wonders and the beauty of Aswan because you simply cannot bear to walk around in it. It rolls off the streets in waves, you sweat to the point of complete discomfort and it’s bloody awful. Still, the stiff upper lip got me through and with a pair of white linen trousers, a white long sleeved cotton t-shirt and a white cotton scarf wrapped around my head, I braved the heat.
Philae temple was dismantled and reassembled (on Agilika Island about 550 meters from its original home on Philae Island) in the wake of the High Dam, its original location is still market by a series of posts pertruding from the water. The temple was dedicated to the goddess Isis and is in a beautiful setting which has been landscaped to match its original site. Its various shrines and sanctuaries, which include The Vestibule of Nectanebos I which is used as the entrance to the island, the Temple of the Emperor Hadrian, a Temple of Hathor, Trajan's Kiosk (Pharaohs Bed), a birth house and two pylons celebrate all the deities involved in the Isis and Osiris myth. Philae is a truly beautiful temple.
outside the temple
inside the temple
Monday, June 13, 2005
Egypt - Giza
Everest hands down. He seemed to think that the pyramids should win because they were man made, but I just don’t feel the same. The pyramids are spectacular, there is no doubt about that, but they are an attraction. Like a panda in china, mythical in mind but in reality, quiet and badly treated. Adorned with ‘no climbing’ signs and guarded by AK57 wielding camel riders, the pyramids look uncared for and abused. Tourists roam freely around the area, browsing for cheesy souvenirs whilst taking photos. They flock to see them from their holiday resorts and leave nothing behind but litter and scars.
The best time to see them is at night, when they are lit up from the base in different colours. I have to confess to paying the 60LE entrance fee to go and see the sound and light show, and it was money well spent. To see the sphinx manipulated with lasers, complete with glowing eyes, was awesome.
This one was taken right from the base of the largest one whilst looking up.
Friday, June 10, 2005
Thoughts on Egypt
I can’t explain what it’s like to walk around in heat that tops 50 degrees C. It’s practically unbearable; it makes you tired, irritable and thirsty. To have to wade through sand so deep that you sink to your shins, to have to ride grumpy, stinking camels and finally, to have to deal with an Islamic nation… is bloody hard. Everyone had told me how nice Egypt was, how friendly the people were and how much I would enjoy it. They were wrong. What part of Egypt did they see? Did they step outside their resort?
On the way from Cairo airport I was dazzled by the beauty of the city, with its vast roads lined with palm trees, it’s huge hotels combing the skies and it’s friendly locals waving and shouting ‘hello’. Yet cross the Nile and it’s a different story. The tourism disappears and the seedy side of Cairo creeps out. When I showed my mother my holiday photos, she asked me if I’d been to Beruit… it was that bad. It’s charming in its way and in all truth it’s better than India or Nepal, but the people, the people make it worse. I understand that it’s their country but during my two days in Cairo I was groped, forcibly pulled into shops, hugged, wolf whistled, jeered and leered at more times than I could count. It left me feeling dirty, sleazy and embarrassed.
Nowhere is the heat more obvious than in the Sahara