Here are my postcards from Egypt. There are a lot so it took some time to get them all uploaded. Hope you enjoy them! You can read about my trip to Egypt here.
To view some of my other postcards click here
Here are my postcards from Egypt. There are a lot so it took some time to get them all uploaded. Hope you enjoy them! You can read about my trip to Egypt here.
To view some of my other postcards click here
Our next stop was going to be the papyrus museum on the East Bank. We passed Carter’s house and the Temple of Luxor. Everyone was running short on cash and we all owed Sherif money for our optionals. So we were going to drive to an ATM and pick up the twins. On our drive we find out that now Janelle is sick and they are calling a doctor for her. So we won’t be picking up the girls. We stop at the ATM and I tease with Sherif that it is the oldest ATM because everything else we have stopped at has been the oldest or the first of something. I pay Sherif what I owe him while I wait for everyone to use the ATM. Paul pays me back for his Valley of the Kings tickets.
Sherif drops us off at the papyrus museum. He then heads back to the boat to pick up the twins. We walk around the museum, which is really just a store, for a minute or two before we are led to the back. I immediately saw the papyrus painting I wanted. It was of Isis leading Nefertari through the afterlife. Our demonstration was in the back of the museum/store. I found the guy super fascinating and funny. I never knew how they turned the plant into paper. I filmed the whole thing. See below. The guy liked me because I knew the answers to his questions. He asked if Josh was my boyfriend and if I hit him over the head with a rolling pin. He had me explain the famous Osiris judgement scene.
Then we broke into pairs. One sales person per Contiki person. The guy from the demonstration shooed my sales person away because he wanted to personally wait on me. I showed him the picture I wanted and that the picture seemed to have two prices. He gave it to me for the lower price and I had my name added to it. You can see the one I purchased in this picture (it is the one in the blue frame). The twins arrived. Meg looked better and Janelle looked awful. Janelle got a seat and had the garbage can with her. Meg ran around to pick out pictures. We all attempted to get the free wifi, but it didn’t work. We used the bathroom and we were off.
Before we left Luxor Sherif had us stop at a grocery store. They had everything and were so cheap!! I bought water, M&M’s, Twix, and a Kit Kat. Now we were officially off to Hurghada. Janelle decided to lay down on the floor. Most people slept or listened to their headphones. I listened to music and watched the scenery. I took lots of pictures of people sleeping and all the narrow roads we were on. We eventually stopped to use the restroom. We paid and entered into a huge clean restroom. It was awesome! We even took a picture. The bathroom guards asked us where we were from. The Aussies said Australia so I just went with it. Australians are preferred over Americans.
When we got to Safaga we were able to see the Red Sea. It looked beautiful. We arrived at the Safir Hotel. We were supposed to be staying at the Triton Empire Hotel. We got our room numbers and realized we were all in different parts of the building. I was alone on the main floor. I struggled to get my door to lock, but eventually succeeded. The room wasn’t much, but it was only one night. I had a view of the pool. I took pictures of the group in the pool and set about settling into the room. I started not to feel well and decided I should lie down. However, it was about time to meet Sherif in the lobby for dinner. Dinner and shopping was the last thing on my mind. Josh was the only one in the lobby when I arrived. I tried to kill time by looking at the gift shop, but it was closed. I gave up and I told Josh to tell Sherif I wasn’t going to dinner.
I went back to the room and collapsed on my bed. Next thing I knew it was a couple hours later. I got up, changed, got my stuff ready for the next day, put stuff in the fridge, read a bit, and then went back to bed.
Sorry that I haven’t written in a while. Just needed a break this week. Let me get back to my adventure in Egypt. Last time I left you I was in Luxor visiting the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut.
We got off the bus and walked through the vendors. I saw a shirt I wanted and made a mental note that I would try to get it on the way back to the bus. We went to a big room, which had a model of all the tombs in the valley. Sherif spoke to us for a bit there. I paid to use the bathroom and then went outside to join the group. We had to catch a tram to the tombs. However, some of the vendors got on the tram, which they aren’t allowed to do. So we stopped and had to wait for them to get off. Sherif handed us our 3 tomb ticket. Michael, Paul, and I purchased tickets to see King Tut’s tomb and Ramesses VI’s tomb. Sherif wasn’t allowed in the tombs so he showed us which ones to go into and gave his speeches outside of the tombs.
The first tomb we went into was KV 2, which belongs to Ramesses IV. The tomb has a red granite sarcophagus and has many smaller side rooms. The images of Nut on the ceiling were incredible. Paul and I noticed a decoration on one of the walls that I thought looked like papyrus. Sherif didn’t know what it was, but in the end we found out I was right. The entrance to this particular tomb seemed very long. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to take pictures in the tombs. The Theban Mapping Project provides images, descriptions, and diagrams of the tombs. They are definitely worth looking at.
Next was KV 11, which belongs to Ramesses III. Sonja decided to pay the tomb guy to guide her. I didn’t need that, so I left them. When they were building this tomb they actually hit KV 10 and had to shift the tomb over a bit. This tomb had a lot of cobras in it. It also had a wonderful scene of Ramesses offering Maat to Osiris.
The next tomb was KV 16, which belongs to Ramesses I. This one was very deep and had a lot of steps to get in. The tomb guard wanted to show me around, but I kept shooing him off. I didn’t want to pay. The scenes in this tomb were so vivid! There were beautiful images of Horus, Osiris, Atum Ra Khepri, Maat, and more. All of these images were on a blue background. There was even a sarcophagus that filled up almost the entire room. It was so dusty and Michael put his hand prints on it. The guard came over and started talking to us and at this point I decided to leave. I wasn’t paying him. At the top of the steps I didn’t feel well. The heat, the depth, and the stairs were starting to get to me. No wonder Alli got sick when she came out of this tomb. I started to walk away and got harassed by a vendor. For once my Arabic wasn’t working on him. I didn’t have the energy to fight with him. He eventually gives me a book as a gift and refuses to take it back. At that moment Paul and Michael come out of the tomb with the guard. I could tell right away that something was wrong. The guard wants to get paid and the boys don’t have money. I’m forced to pay him. I’m not happy. Now the vendor sees I have money and demands to be paid for the book he shoved in my hands. I was eventually going to buy the book anyway so I look through my wallet for money. The smallest note I have is 20LE, but the book is 5LE. The vendor takes the 20LE out of my hand and refuses to give me change. I cause a scene. He gives me another book. Now he owes me 10LE. I want my change and he claims he doesn’t have any. I’m not letting him get away with my money. So I demand he at least give me more merchandise. He gives me two postcard books. I’m pissed at the whole situation.
We go into KV 9 and I am beyond agitated. This tomb belongs to Ramesses VI and was never finished because he died before it was completed. The ceiling was incredible and showed Nut swallowing Ra. There was also very colorful cartouches. The room at the end was quite large and there was a piece of a granite sarcophagus. Sherif had told us there would be images of strange guys on the ceiling, He said they looked like aliens or Buddha. He was completely right! There was a great double image of Osiris. There was also a memorable image of Meretseger. There was just so much to see.
Last but not least was the long awaited tomb of King Tut otherwise known as KV 62. It was only fitting that the last historical thing we will be doing in Egypt would be Tut’s tomb. The tomb had a short staircase entrance. On the right of the tomb was the room Tut was originally buried in. His gold sarcophagus was in the middle of the room under the glass. On the back wall there was an image of Nut greeting Tut, the opening mouth ceremony, and finally Osiris, Tut, and his ka. On the other side wall was a scene with 6 baboons. Tut’s mummy was in the antechamber. Thank goodness I had my flashlight otherwise you wouldn’t be able to see it. I couldn’t believe I was staring at Tut after all this time. I was surprised more of the group didn’t want to see this tomb. After all, this probably the most famous tomb in Egypt.
We headed back to the “visitor center.” I wish I could have seen more tombs. I easily could have spent the whole day there. I used the bathroom. I then went to that t-shirt vendor. He wanted 170LE ($34) for the t-shirt. I got him down to 25LE ($5). The funny thing is I walked away and he followed me all the way to the bus. I wound up buying the shirt right as I got on the bus.
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.
We got back to the boat and almost everyone went straight down to dinner. I went straight to my room and unlocked my suitcase. It was all there! I was so happy. I didn’t even know where to begin. I texted my mom and filled her in. I peeled off my clothes and put on my clean costume. I then headed down to dinner. The Trafalgar group told me I looked great and were shocked to find out about my suitcase. I sat at my usual table and Paul took some pictures. Sherif liked my outfit as well. He passed around the contact list. We all added our info to it. The shirts for Lexi and Sonja came. I gave them to them.
I then went back to the room and ate. I sorted through my suitcase. I condensed items and created a hamper bag. I changed into jeans, my King Tut shirt, my sandals from Greece, and my black hat. I gave Meg, Janelle, and Sonja back the clothes I borrowed from them. Lexi told me to keep her skirt, which was soooo nice of her! The twins gave me some antiseptic cream to put on my burnt legs, feet, and spots on my arms. I didn’t have time to do much else because it was time to leave for the light and sound show. Sherif commented that he liked my shirt.
We boarded the bus, but we were running late. There was a lot of traffic because people were out and about since Ramadan had ended for the night. The surprising thing was even though it was late at night it was 100 degrees out. Meg was starting not to feel well. We finally got to Karnak and we had to run to catch the beginning of the show. It was extremely dark and very cheesy. We were all bored, but I filmed the whole thing. The show had us walk through the temple to the sacred lake. I bought some water and chocolate by the lake. Everyone in our group seemed out of it.
Once the show was over I walked back to the bus with Josh, Nicole, and Alli. All of sudden Alli collapses. Nicole and I carry her stuff and help her back to the bus. We find out Meg really isn’t feeling well. On the drive to the boat she starts throwing up.
We got back to the boat and I gave Janelle pepto and saltines for Meg. My burns were really painful and I kept applying Paul’s burn cream. I start to attack my suitcase and I prepare my clothes for tomorrow. I try to sort through everything and see what I need, don’t need right away, and what I can throw out. All of sudden it seems like I have a lot of stuff and I’m trying to shove it all into my suitcase and carry on bag. It’s close to 1am when I’m finally done sorting.
I’m preparing for bed when I hear Meg through the walls. She’s really sick. I knock on their door and Janelle comes out. She is really scared. I give her more saltines and pepto. Janelle calls her mother and we decide we need to get Meg a doctor. I run down to the desk, but no one is there. I head down to the lower deck and hear Nicole’s voice. She’s talking about how knowledgeable I am. I go into the jewelery story and ask them if they have seen Sherif. They haven’t. I go back to the desk and now someone is there. He gives me Sherif’s room number. Janelle and I head to his room, which is a couple doors down from mine. He comes out and isn’t wearing a shirt. Suddenly, I realize I have been running through the ship just in my tank top and PJ pants. Sherif puts on a shirt and calls a doctor. Sherif says he’ll stay with the girls until the doctor comes. Janelle tells me to go to bed. It wasn’t until well after 2am when I finally climb into bed. Tomorrow is going to be a doozy.
The bus ride to Luxor was short, beautiful, and peaceful. We watched the sun set over the Valley of the Kings while we drove.
Our first stop was the Avenue of the Sphinxes. I couldn’t believe I was there! I’ve always wanted to see the avenue. It was just as I pictured it. We posed for some pictures and then turned our attention to the main temple. One day I hope to come back and walk the avenue from Luxor to Karnak just like the ancient Egyptians did.
The two Ramesses II statues looked incredible all lit up. The obelisk was also amazing to look at. It must have been a wondrous sight to see the temple with both obelisks. Now the other one is in the Palace de la Concorde (click here to read the entry for when I saw that one). It was given to Paris by King Mohammad Ali in 1831. There were also baboons at the bottom of the obelisk. While we were taking pictures, tourists started climbing on the statues and going behind the ropes. This was upsetting Sherif. Lexi eventually yelled “oy get off!” They didn’t listen. Lexi made me laugh because she confirmed the stereotype that Australians say oy. The call to prayer sounded, which let us know that Ramadan was done for the day. We all offered Sherif food and water. However, the tourists were annoying him so much that he went to say something to them. Then he told the guards. The tourists were taking advantage of the fact that there very few guards and that they were eating.
The video below is of the call to prayer and Sherif telling the tourists to stop.
Next we entered the Court of Ramesses II. Sherif pointed out a door to us that was really high up, which showed us where street level was in the past. It was a door to the mosque called Abu Al Haggag. The court was filled with columns and standing statues of Ramesses II. There were two black granite statues of Ramesses II in sitting positions. Sonja took a picture of me with the one on the right. Next we walked through the colonnade, which consisted of 14 columns.
Then we stooped at the entrance to the court of Amenhotep III. It was beautiful! The columns really stood out against the dark sky. It looked Greek. Sherif asked us to sing opera and all of a sudden Paul busted out some fake opera song that surprised all of us.
Next we walked through the Hypostyle Hall. In the next area Sherif showed us Christian paintings because in the 6th century it was used as a church. There were also references to Alexander the Great.
As we head back Sherif tells me not to use flash on my camera because it will work better. I try one picture and it is awful. Sherif takes the camera from me and takes a picture that rocks. He keeps taking pictures, but they suck so I tease him about it. We take one final look at the temple and walk towards the bus. We pass the guards who are still eating and a gift shop. We get to the bus, but our driver isn’t there. He eventually comes running and apologizes. We climb aboard and I chug my water. It may be night time, but it is still hot. We were all hungry. Everyone was asking me if I was excited to finally open my suitcase. I was trying not to be excited because I didn’t know if I would open it and it would be empty. Sherif said I should wear my costume to dinner. In my head I agreed to do it if all my stuff was in the bag.
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.
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.
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.
Ok, you might not think my suitcase is the greatest sight in Egypt, but on the afternoon of 8/3/11 I sure did. I had spent a lot of time packing for my trip to Egypt. I debated each article of clothing. I needed to make sure I was covered up enough because Egypt’s a Muslim country and yet cool enough to deal with Egypt’s summer heat. All my essentials were in my bag including my sandals (the sneakers and socks I was wearing were making my feet feel like they were on fire), hair brush (I have very long hair), sunscreen, shampoo/conditioner, bathing suit, face soap, PJ’s, etc. All of the toiletries the ship provided had an ingredient I was allergic to so I couldn’t use them. Thank goodness for the things I got from the first class amenity bags from the planes. When it is 116 out you want to be able to wear your own clothes so you can feel comfortable and you can sweat and not feel bad. Additionally, you want to constantly change out of these sweaty clothes, which you can’t do when they are your only clothes. I was also sick of washing my clothes everyday and they never really dried because of the much needed ac in my room. I was also upset that the costume I had brought with me for the Galabiya Party didn’t arrive in time and I had to buy another one. I was also worried I would never see my suitcase again.
We docked and had to walk through a million boats before we could get to the dock. By a million I mean at least 6. As we were headed to the bus I hear Janelle, who’s walking ahead of me, go “Jackie, is that your suitcase?” I run to where she is and and see lime green headed my way. YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Muhammad wheels it to me. I quickly look at the front for damage and there doesn’t seem to be any. I notice all the tags on it though. Looks like my bag has been everywhere. No time to open my bag to check if everything is there so I let Muhammad bring it to my room. I board the bus and everyone was happy that I got my bag back. Can’t wait to check it later.
I decided to stop by the shop again because I really liked the ring I had helped Michael pick out. I wanted to buy a ring or something else. I also wanted to get Sonja and Lexi hieroglyphic shirts with their names on them to thank them for lending me their clothes. I was going to buy Janelle and Megan I love NY shirts back in the states. The cruise people had put out all the pictures they took of us at the party. We each had a pack with our name on it that we could buy. I bought mine but didn’t realize you could have purchased pictures from other people’s packs. I wanted one from Lexi’s. I really liked an ankh ring in the jewelry store and had looked at it every time I had went in. The crazy thing was that the ring was exactly my size. I finally decided to buy it.
I then went to breakfast and ate one croissant. After that I went back to my room to cool off for a tiny bit. Then I joined everyone on the top deck. Janelle, Meg, and Paul were sun bathing. Lexi and Mike were lounging. We all chatted for a while and discussed the difference between the interest rates in Australia and the states. We also chatted with the Trafalgar people who were headed to Greece next. I went back and forth between dipping my feet in the pool and lounging in a chair. Somehow we got on the subject of the Titanic and Kate’s famous pose at the front of the ship. Lexi pretended to be Kate at the front of our ship. Paul says, “You need a Jack.” I became her Jack or should I say…Jackie. We had a lot of fun. There was a great breeze (the same one that had followed us since I prayed to the gods). Sitting on the top deck looking at the Nile and rest of Egypt with the beautiful sun and breeze was absolutely amazing! It was one of those perfect moments in life where you think life doesn’t get much better than this. I was in my happy place.
The night before Sherif had told me that my luggage would probably arrive in Luxor. Then he also told us that Nicole’s bag was found in Cairo’s airport and apparently was never picked up. He also told Janelle. Janelle told Meg and I told Sonja and Lexi. Meg tells Paul and Mike. Eventually Nicole winds up hearing that we know and gets angry at me. I say nothing, but I’m upset. Though we all want to know why she never picked up her suitcase, but no one says anything.
We start approaching the locks and I get really excited. We also passed other cruise ships slowing down to enter the locks. I see the cruise ship that was destroyed by fire, which Weber had posted to Facebook. The vendors started to paddle up to our ship and start throwing blankets and towels up. It was kind of funny. However, I was trying to pay more attention to the locks. I didn’t feel like anything had happened, but I could see the change in the water levels. After we were through the locks the guys in the boats continued to follow us for a bit.
I went down to lunch and ate some rice, bread, and french fries (hot chips). The fries were good. I left when Nicole came in. I went back to my room and put on CNN. I watched a couple minutes of the Mubarak trial. They they announced that the US Stock Market was on the verge of collapsing. That freaked me out so I went in search of Paul in the restaurant. However, I found Sonja and Nicole instead. She seemed calmer since Janelle and Megan had spoke to her. We chatted a bit. I then went back upstairs to find Paul. I chatted with him and then joined Lexi and Sonja in their room. They were watching the news because there was a bomb in Australia. I went back to my room and realized I had burnt the hell our of my legs while I was on the top deck. It really hurt! Paul gave me lotion to put on it. I had to get ready for Luxor since we were about to dock. I took a hat, changed into a tank top/singlet, and borrowed Sonja’s shawl. Luxor was going to be hot and sunny. I wanted to be cool and covered. Sherif saw my legs and was shocked how burnt I was. I made a comment that it was gift from Amun Ra and he told me it was a kiss instead.
I went to Egypt with Contiki, a tour company for people age 18-35. My friends had gone to Egypt with Contiki and had an amazing time. I booked the trip in October of 2010. In January of 2011 the Egyptian Revolution occurred. The friend I was going with had second thoughts and decided not to join me. However, some of the Australian girls I met through Facebook were still going so I kept my plans. Plus I have been dreaming about going to Egypt since I was 5. I went at the end of July. Not only was there no government, but it was the hottest time of the year to visit and it was also Ramadan. There were also no tourists, which was a plus. I loved experiencing Egypt during Ramadan. For more information about Contiki, Contiki’s Egypt tour, the revolution, and Ramadan see below. You can also see my videos from Egypt below. Please be patient as I slowly post my Egypt entries.