Posts Tagged With: Hatshepsut

A Colossally Good Time in Luxor’s West Bank

8/4/11

5am wake up! Oy. I got ready and made sure I didn’t leave anything in the room. I was going to miss my room and the boat. I went down the hall to return Paul’s burn gel, but he told me to keep it for awhile. I bumped into Janelle who told me the doctor came and gave Meg a shot. They were going to stay on the boat all day. We were told to leave our suitcases in front of our doors. I was really nervous about this, but had no choice.

I met the group on the lobby sofas. I had no idea how Sherif was functioning on no sleep. Everyone was commenting on my burns. I ate my cereal and waited for the rest of us to join us. We said our goodbyes to the boat staff and left the boat.

I was so glad to see my suitcase by the bus. I’m super protective of it now. Time to drive from the east bank to the west bank of the Nile. Sherif talked to us and we drove. I was looking at all the farms. They were perfect examples of what I teach. We finally stopped at the Colossos of Memnon. I was excited to see them! Surprisingly, only a couple of us left the bus to check them out. They really were huge. I had seen so many pictures of them and now I was standing next to them. Very cool. We boarded the bus again. Off to see the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut. Sherif teasingly calls her Hot Chicken Soup.

We passed a lot of houses on a hill, which Sherif explained belonged to archeologists. We also passed a lot of stores that were beautifully decorated with images from the tombs. Sherif said these Egyptians have been living here for thousands of years. We also passed a rich family’s house that was decorated to show they made Hajj to Mecca. We also passed Ramesseum. I kind of wish we could have seen it.

We got off the bus and Sherif handed us our tickets to the temple, which is also known as Deir al-Bahri. We took a little tram to get to the front of the temple. It was so beautiful to look at. Sherif starts talking to us and I notice the biggest bee ever. I start dodging it for the next 10mins praying Sherif will stop talking so we can move. Even though he tells me it is harmless I don’t believe him. As soon as he stops talking I run to the front of the temple.

On the lower terrace we explore the Birth Colonnade, the Chapel of Anubis, and the reliefs from the Punt expedition. The scenes and the ceiling were incredible. The colors were so vivid. You could clearly understand the story it was telling.

The upper terrace has statues of Hatshepsut, which Sonja and I took pictures with. We went into the Sanctuary of Amun. Sherif showed us an image of exotic dancers. We also went into the Chapel of Hathor. I wanted Sherif to show me the image of Hatshepsut and the architect, which is hidden in the temple. However, he forgot. As we were leaving the temple the bee started to follow our little tram. I wasn’t happy about that. Back on the bus I downed my water. I got my stuff prepared for the Valley of the Kings.

Categories: Africa, Egypt, History, Travel, Trip with a Tour Group | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Making Wishes at Karnak

8/3/11

Time to drive to Karnak and Luxor. On our drive we passed the Winter Palace, but I couldn’t get a picture of it. We also passed Luxor and the Avenue of the Sphinxes. We got off the bus and walked past a row of shops. On the walk to the temple we asked Sherif about his personal life.

Once we got to the entrance to the Temple of Karnak. Sherif showed us the canal that used to bring the materials to build the temple. He also showed us some pottery that they are currently excavating. We approached Karnak using the Avenue of the Ram Headed Sphinxes. Then we entered the Great Court. The walls were huge and here were pieces of statues and other things arranged on the sides.

Then we went to the right into the Temple of Ramesses III. It was filled with statues of him. All if them had their arms crossed like Osiris. After that we discussed the statue at the entrance of the Great Hypostyle Hall. It’s of Ramesses II and his daughter is at his feet. Sherif was telling us that two people are represented on it. The other person is the high priest Pinedjem. He put his name on the belt of the statue.

Photo belongs to Paul

The Great Hypostyle Hall is filled with enormous columns. Many of them bear the name Ramesses or Seti. The cartouches were huge!! We examined some of the scenes on the wall. Sherif pointed out a woman on the wall who was tall and thin. He thought she looked like me.

Next we saw Hatshepsut’s Obelisk. This is the one Tuthmosis surrounded with a wall. We saw another obelisk and then passed a statue of King Tut. We then saw the Temple of the Middle Kingdom and the Granite Chapel. After that we went to the Temple of Amun. Hatshepsut built this section. Her image and cartouche were chiseled out by Tuthmosis. It was cool to see because I had heard about it for many years and now I got to see it. He went through such effort to erase her.

Next was the Great Festival Temple. It was dark, but you could make out the colors on the pillars, especially the color blue. The tops of the tent shaped pillars used to be blue and white. Sherif pointed out some if the Christian images painted on the pillars. At that point my cell went off. It was my mom telling me my bag should have arrived. I told her did, but I didn’t have to open it. I promised I would text her later when I opened it.

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We walked to the area near the sacred lake where Khepri’s statue is there. You are supposed to walk around it 7 times and make a wish each time. I made the same wish 7 times. We then rested and drank water. The 116 degree heat and sun was getting to us. I was soaked and exhausted. We walked back to the entrance and passed a lot of random pieces of broken obelisks, walls, statues, etc.

We went to the bathroom where we had to pay to use it. Two guys stood right by the open door. It was strange. No privacy. We boarded the bus and downed our water. Then Nicole decided to use the bathroom, but she got freaked out by the Arab guys standing outside.

We were off to Luxor.

Categories: Africa, Egypt, History, Travel, Trip with a Tour Group | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Egyptian Museum in Cairo

7/31/11
I wake up, put on the clothes from yesterday and a pair of airplane socks. I wash my socks from the day before and blow dry them. I head down to the lobby and no one is there. I check the bar, restaurant, and the street. Where is everyone? There’s a girl I don’t recognize in the lounge and after 20 minutes I go and talk to her. Turns out she’s on our Contiki and missed last night’s meeting. So we now have 7 guys and 7 girls. Each girl gets 1 husband. The girl’s name is Nicole and her bag is lost as well. She’s also American. It turns out that my cell phone alarm messed up and set itself to an hour earlier then we were supposed to get up. So instead of 7am I woke up at 6am. Lovely.

The Contiki group eventually comes down. I pay for my optionals (tip, Luxor/Karnak, Light and Sound, Abu Simbel, and Edfu). I also give the girls the stuff I got them in NYC. I sit with them while they have breakfast. I take some bread for later though I doubt I’ll eat it.

We board our bus, which is nice and roomy! We each get our own row, which will be perfect for the rides to and from Hurghada. Next stop the Egyptian Museum! I knew the museum wouldn’t have AC, I had prepared for that. No, I had packed for that. My plane clothes made the museum very uncomfortable. However, I sucked it up and didn’t complain outside of my head.

Sherif ushered us past the gates for the museum because across the street was Tahrir Square. There was a mini fire by the gates and Sherif told someone to put it out. Sherif collected our cameras and checked them in. A lot of groups tried to get into the museum at the same time and one group cut in front of us. Sherif argued with that tour guide. After that we went through security.

When we walked into the museum I thought I had stepped into one of my TV programs. How many times had I seen Zahi and other Egyptologists on TV in this place? It was like I had been here a million times before. Sherif took us to the King Tut floor first. After seeing hundreds if not thousands of pictures of these items it was strange to think they were now right in front of me. The condition of everything was fantastic! Everything had his cartouche on it and the detail was incredible. I loved his gold throne that showed him and his wife sharing a pair of sandals. I was amazed at how many shawabti he had in his tomb. There must have been 2 full walls of them. We saw his fold up beds, some statues, and alabaster items. We also got to see his canopic jars, which were beautiful. They were also made of alabaster. Next we looked at the solid gold encasings that housed the sarcophagi. They were enormous and the work on them was mind blowing. I have no idea how they got them out of the tomb. Many of them featured Isis with her wings spread out.

Onto the big moment, King Tut’s golden mask. The mask, jewelry, and two sarcophagi were in a separate air-conditioned room. We walked in and I immediately went to his mask. I must have stood there for 2 minutes before moving. It was mesmerizing. I eventually moved around the room to look at the jewelry, the crook and flail, and the 2 sarcophagi. After walking around the entire room and be amazed at everything, I decided to go back to the mask. I made a point to stand there and stare into Tut’s eyes. After a minute or so, I closed my eyes and tried to make a mental image of the mask. After another minute I said farewell to the mask and joined Sherif outside.

On our way downstairs Sherif showed us some papyrus pictures. Many of them dealt with the sun rising. He also showed us a famous one of the heart being weighed against a feather. Next we stopped at a large tablet and the cartouche was broken and only setepenre remained, which would be half of Ramesses II’s name. I muttered his name and Sherif heard me. He asked if I could read it and I said I could. The next statue we went to was of Ramesses II and Horus behind his head. Sherif showed us many other statues and as we turned into a room I spotted Ankhnaten. It was the Amarna room. There was a mini bust of Nefertiti. Later we saw a lot of statues of scribes and we saw Rahotep and Nofret with their amazing glass eyes. We also got to see organs in canopic jars, statues of Hatshepsut (with her false beard), a wooden statue of Cheikh El Beced, scenes from the Book of the Dead, a seated statue of Tuthmosis III, and the palette of Narmer.

After Sherif finished with our guided tour he took me over to the image of the Rosetta Stone. We discussed it for a while and then I went to the small gift shop. I purchased a pack of King Tut postcards for 10LE and when I went to say thank you in Abrabic the guy freaked out on me. He insisted I was an Arab and that my pronunciation was perfect. He offered to teach me more Arabic words, but I wanted to catch up with the girls.

I caught up with the girls going into the mummy room. After I paid and said thank you this guy also insisted that I was an Arab. Strange. The mummies were amazing! I loved the idea of being able to look into the face of a man or woman who ruled thousands of years ago. You could make out every detail of their nose, mouth, and eyes. Some of them even had hair and eyelashes. The mummy I was most excited to see was Hatshepsut’s. In her case was the box they found her liver and tooth in. After watching that particular episode on Discovery and National Geographic a million times I couldn’t believe that I actually got to see the mummy and the box. VERY COOL!

Then we went into the jewelry room, which had AC. The room was kind of boring and we spent most of the time discussing the cartouche we wanted to buy on the boat. Then Janelle and Megan wanted to leave, so we started to look for an exit. We went to the bathroom, which wasn’t awful and then found the exit. We were all very hot and thirsty so we stopped at an outdoor café area. We spent a lot of money on overpriced water and snacks. Supply and demand at its best. We met Sherif and got our cameras back. Then we waited for everyone to come back. I spoke to Sherif about his education and the different languages he could speak and read. He has a very fascinating background! There were a couple of bees that were freaking me out and I just wanted to go at that point, but we were still waiting for Paul. Sherif sends us to the bus and there’s Paul. Where’s Paul? became our bus joke after that.

Only two pictures because we weren’t allowed to bring our cameras inside.

 

Categories: Africa, Egypt, History, Travel, Trip with a Tour Group | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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