Tuesday, December 19, 2017
This post is written on Nonday, decenber 28 almost a week after we started our trek home. I would not have missed it for the world, even though I felt like an imposter in a country. Only the 13 people on our trip and the hotel manager on the Mayfair (he greeted us as "THE BROTHERS" are here.. We did hold hands on the ship and in the 5 star hotels and we did notice the looks and whispers; Homosexual acts are now against the law in Egypt as are gay gatherings. Just before our arrival police broke up a gay pride demonstration just outside our hotel in the main square opposite the Egyptian Museum. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/08/lgbt-people-egypt-targeted-wave-arrests-violence And being Jewish was like some bad wallpaper in a dingy room. Egypt exiled all the Jews in 1948 after centuries of getting along peacefully. But alliances with the other Arab countries, many more conservative, forced their hand to restrict the rights of Jews to exist in Egypt. I personally do not believe in the Passover Exodus story since no remains of 600,000 followers of Moses were never found in the desert. What were found was a people who assimilated into Judaism and then migrated to the north and across the sea to what now is Israel. The Passover story sounds great, but there is no archeolic evidence to prove this, and there are plenty to disprove it. Makes for a great story with food though. https://www.haaretz.com/jewish/the-jewish-thinker/were-jews-ever-really-slaves-in-egypt-or-is-passover-a-myth-1.420844 This is from a left center newspaper published in Israel. Already many families have adopted a new Haggadah that speaks of Egyptian assimilation and explained that the pyramids could NOT have been constructed by slaves, but by paid artisans, the Jews.
Sunday, December 10, 2017
By the time you see this, it will be after our 48 hour no internet or cell service. The south of Egypt near Sudan is called Upper Egypt since it is higher elevation than the North, which is called Lower Egypt. The Aswan Dam - the new High Dam displaced hundreds of thousands of Egyptian Nubians and forced the government to call on Unesco and other countries to save the ancient temples constructed to show the people that upper and lower Egypt were one.
Friday, December 8, 2017
Just a few notes on the past day or so. First of all, we took a plane from Aswan to Abul Simbel Hopping to the other side of the New Aswan Dam. Our second of three trips by plane on Egypt Air. You go through two security checkpoints and a frisking (two separate lines for men and women, so that men do not touch women and vice versa. Shoes off, all electronics out but you do get the feeling that they aren't really looking at anything closely, but rather going through the motions. A little nervous about that since we are further south with more strict religious practices than in Cairo. We went to the temple at Abu Simbel. This was moved out of the path of the Aswan Dam piece by piece in the 1960s and rebuilt on higher ground. The temples are amazing; one to Ramses II and the other to his queen Nefertiri.
Thursday, December 7, 2017
Last night we visited a temple in the evening, beautifully lit up. This one a double with the Goddess Isis and another Horis. This one had medical instruments chiseled into the stone as well as prescriptions that were written by ancient medicine men (women?) signed with the Eye of Horis which looks remarkedly like the Rx sign on script pads your doc gives.
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Edfu is steeped in Egyptian legend. The Falcon God Horus battled his Uncle Seth, who killed his father. built between 237 and 57 BC, but designed as much older temples but has been preserved because it was covered in sand. To get there from the ship we took a horse drawn carriage through the crowded ancient streets. Pics below. Nate and Raphie
Tuesday, December 5, 2017
Started off this morning with a 3 AM wake up call for a pre dawn balloon ride over the Vally of the Kings and Mortuary mountains. The most beautiful sight I've seen was seeing the sunrise from 600 feet up. The view was breathtaking and all 7 balloons went up at once. Our entire group of 24 fit into one basket...Here is a pic, not of us, but of a neighboring balloon and the first sight we saw this morning.
Monday, December 4, 2017
Nothing could have prepared me for the treasures of Karnak and Luxor, two huge temples built and rebuilt and added onto for generations. The mere size of the carved columns and painted friezes that have survived outdoors to this day were magnificent. I'm sitting right now in my stateroom on the SS Mayfair looking out at the beautiful temples to a civilization long gone without any real reason. Maybe it was a famine, maybe spent too much on wars, perhaps a goofy religion that relied on live sacrifice..no answers, though I can see a few reasons our civilization might look like this not too far into the future.