Friday, April 2, 2010

Egypt 29: The River

After Hatshepsut's temple, we made our way over to the Valley of the Kings and looked at three royal tombs.  Sadly, no photos were allowed at all in The Valley.  Cameras were not even allowed past the guarded entrance.  Not only were the guards strict about this rule, but they sternly turned down the baksheesh we offered them.

We got back from The Valley of the Kings just before sundown. Notice the cruise ships all tied together behind the sailboats.  They are locked in together like bricks in a wall.  I'll show a clearer shot of this type of stacking later.

The royal tombs were larger by orders of magnitude than the nobles' tombs that we had visited earlier.  That I had expected.  What I didn't expect was to see the same quality of paint and decorations applied to the walls.  In a couple of the nobles' tombs we visited, the paint was still so fresh after 3,000 years that it appeared to have been applied yesterday.  Brilliant colors, wonderful art.  Clearly the royal tombs had better furnishings when new but, all in all, I can't say I was that much more impressed by them.  From all appearances, the royal tombs' painting was done by the same folks who had painted the nobles' tombs using the same techniques.

It was Halloween that night, so we dressed up in local headgear and passed candy around the dinner table.  A  fellow on the dock taught us how to wrap our scarves.

Still, I'm glad we got to see all the different tombs.  John Anthony West did a nice job that way, showing us a nice variety of tombs.  Again and again we saw the themes of transformation, resurrection and rebirth, each expressed in many different ways.

Sheahan and Marcus had color coordinated outfits.  Those scarves were fun to wear but they were hot.  We took them off not long after these pictures were taken.

 I ventured up on deck at sundown and had to grab my camera.  Halloween on the Nile, under a full moon, after visiting all of those tombs that day.  Didn't get any better than that. 

The next morning we were up early and headed across the Nile to the eastern shore where we would visit the Temple of Karnak in Luxor.

We had just started on our voyage across the Nile when we came across a burning police boat, which we thought was hilarious.  Naturally, the settings in my camera were all wrong again.  It's amazing how fast these opportunities came upon us and how little time I had to grab an image.  We've had this discussion earlier with the camels, so here you are, something which is marginally better than nothing--with no apologies.

There is almost always lots of river traffic on the Nile, especially near the tourist towns.  Fellows who owned sailboats like this tried to sell us rides nearly everywhere we went near the river bank.  With their large sails, they cruised along at a pretty good clip in not very much wind.

Nearly all of these little taxi boats looked as though they were ridden hard each day and put away wet.  One of them was named The New Titanic.  He didn't have much business.

We now know the significance of Horus.

With this much traffic I could point my camera nearly anywhere and come up with a good shot.  This boat in the foreground is a passenger ferry that crosses the Nile from a specific point on each shore.  I can't remember how much it costs, less than a buck, US.  If you ever get to Egypt, ride a river ferry.  You'll be glad you did.  Notice again the cruise ships all stacked together in the background.  

Here's a better shot of one group of them, all stacked together like sardines.  Take a 4 day cruise, they say.  But the fine print doesn't mention that only 15 hours of those 4 days are actually spent cruising.  The rest of the time one is parked along the riverbank like this.

Next time, we visit the Karnak Temple.

Continue on to Post 30: Karnak Temple by clicking here.



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