Friday, April 2, 2010

Egypt 26: Boats and Tombs

I think I've mentioned that while in Luxor we were treated to a unique opportunity.  Because our group was so small and because Muhammad, of Quest Travel in Egypt, had a vacancy that week on his sailboat, we were invited to stay on the sailboat, instead of in a hotel.

 This is the sailboat, with it's tug attached in lower right.  The sailboat itself has no engine.  It has 8 nicely appointed staterooms, however, and a gourmet kitchen.  Also, as I think I've mentioned previously, John Anthony West needs to partner with an Egyptian tour company in order to legally do his trips in Egypt.  He has been working with Muhammad of Quest Travel for over twenty years and they are the best of friends.

In order to get to and from our sailboat, we needed river transportation.  This was provided by a river ferry, specifically the one shown above.  There are hundreds of little ferries like this plying the Nile.  All made from what appears to be a common plan, although each is tricked out with its own set of wholly unique decorations.

Here we are coming up alongside our sailboat after our balloon ride.

Here is our skipper ferried us to our multiple destinations.  I never found out his name.  I did ask him if this was his boat and he said, "No, it's only a job."  But, as you can see, these ferries are very simple, powered and steered by an outboard motor. 

Notice the large ships behind him on the other bank.  I'll have more photos of them, later.  Those are the 'cruise' ships one reads about in typical tours of Egypt.  'Spend 4 days cruising on the Nile', the brochures blare.  Problem is, of the 4 days, one only spends 15 hours cruising and the rest tied up ashore, sometimes 6 deep.  Not much of a view if one happens to be stuck on the inside, except, perhaps, into your neighbor's window.

After breakfast we rode our ferry to the west side dock on the Nile, picked up our van and headed off to this area.  There are tombs of nobles carved into the hills around here, shown in the last post from the air.

We visited a couple of those tombs and found them to be richly decorated with wonderful paintings that showed similar scenes as the temple walls that I have been able to photograph.  Sadly, I was not allowed to take photos inside these tombs.  Also, sadly, the postcards they sold of the images inside were of terrible quality. 

Outside of the nobles tombs, was a ruins of the tomb builders village.  This area has been thoroughly excavated and much learned about the daily lives of the people who lived here.  From all accounts, they lived well and had good lives.

We were not allowed to walk among the ruins.  However, from what one can see here, lots of folks lived very closely together.

These folks also had their own temple, with its mud brick surround wall.  Notice here and in the next image, how the line of bricks seems to undulate.

West says this was intentional.  That the undulations were intentionally made to look like waves...get it? Symbolic vibrations.

Inside the walls was a beautiful little temple, part of which is shown here.  Notice the wonderful reliefs, some still brightly colored.  He are Marcus and Mike checking the place out.

They had scaffolding installed and were working on the ceiling.  However, one can see here on the wall, to the left of the scaffolding, the weighing of the soul.  Notice the scale with the feather on the right and the deceased's heart on the left.  Horus and Anubis oversee the job.  According to West, Anubis as a dog, or jackal, is a soul's guide through the underworld.  As one who derives sustenance from the eating of carrion, the Anubis is a perfect symbol to prepare the body for mummification. 

This appears to me to be a precursor to the idea of heaven and hell.  Pass the weighing test, (also one has to make it past the 42 assessors, of course) and one gets to reunite with the One, through Horus, fail the test, and your soul gets eaten.

Here is another beautifully rendered scene full of original color.  I have no idea who all these folks are, but I thought you'd enjoy just seeing the image for its artistic value.

Continue on to Post 27: The Ramesseum by clicking here


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home