Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cruising South on the Nile

Hello everyone! Time for another story from my Egyptian adventures. After leaving the Valley of the Kings and the alabaster store, our tour group made its way to the reconstructed temple of Hatshepsut, the queen who would be Pharoah.

My first, most striking impression of the temple is that it was a long, long walk from where the bus dropped us off to the temple itself. And hot. Really hot. Thankfully, there was a little trolly that we could ride for most of the distance. But I could really feel the heat as we climbed up the steps of the temple.

Our guide told us to pronounce the queen's name "hat cheap suit." Alton and I both thought that was pretty funny, especially since pronouncing her name didn't seem all that difficult to either of us. But the funny pronunciation stuck with us, which is why I chose to title my layout with the odd pronunciation:

There isn't too much else to say about our visit to this temple. It was interesting to see images of the queen portrayed as a man. And I was grateful to Alton for buying me a hat at one of the ever-present kiosks at the exit to the temple. The temple is stunning to see.

When we returned to our boat, we set sail south, towards Aswan. As evening approached, our boat slowed on the approach to the Esna Lock. I was looking forward to watching the process of moving through a lock, something I'd read about in history books, but never seen myself. But the real show happened before we entered the lock. We had to wait our turn to enter the lock, so we slowed down a good deal. Still, we were moving much faster than a little row boat could move. Which is why it was simply stunning to watch these brave merchants in their little boats push off from shore and rope themselves to the side of our boat. As the sailors on our boat caught the ropes from the merchants and tied them down, the little rowboats would jerk around as the rope drew taught and they were drug up to our speed. They would then attach to one another, creating a tail of rowboats, weaving alongside our cruise boat. The merchants would then throw plastic bags with scarves or caftans or other merchandise at those of us on the upper deck (or occasionally, people with open windows). Sometimes, they threw their product up even when no one had asked for it, causing some rather hilarious moments as people were assaulted by flying bags. If anyone reached a shouted bargain with them, they put their money in the plastic bag and threw it back down. Otherwise, we returned the unwanted merchandise. The men in the rowboats were very good at catching the bags. And when they missed, the bag would float long enough for them to retrieve it. It was truly a stunning thing to watch.

The next morning began with a trip to Edfu Temple. This is supposed to be the best preserved temple in Egypt. I really liked the bird statues guarding the entrance to the temple (which is why I posed for a picture with one). We wandered all over the site, and even got to see a hint of what the 'holy of holies' would have looked like in ancient times... a darkened room in the innermost part of the temple, with a golden statue inside that would have shined at certain times of day when a shaft of light shone through.
The temple was begun by one of the Ptolemies, and continued to be worked on up through the time of Cleopatra. Our guide pointed out Cleopatra's cartouche on one of the temple walls, and went through the symbols phonetically with us. I've used that cartouche as an embellishment next to the title on my layout:

The little guy went to the vet's this afternoon for an unscheduled checkup. His little mouth had a funny bulge on one side, and I wanted to be sure that there wasn't an infection or something going on. The vet took a quick look, even gave it a little squeeze, and pronounced the little guy to be in fine shape. Turns out, the funny bulge is just a callous, which could or could not be a result of the injury, could or could not go away, but was DEFINITELY not anything to worry about. The little guy showed his appreciation of my care and concern for my well being by helping me snap a photo of my most recent layout:

Sigh, he's cute, but he has so much energy! I hope everyone else has plenty of energy as well, whether it's for stitching, scrapping, or just plain living. Have a great rest of the week!


Chris said...

Another beautiful layout. What an amazing trip you guys had.
Glad that the little guy is doing well!

Margaret said...

Great layout! I'm so glad the little one is ok and the bump was just a callus. Don't you enjoy his kitten-ness? :D I miss having a kitten around. Sort of. lol!

Mary Jo said...

What a fascinating trip! And you are going to have some great layouts documenting it :)

So glad your cat is ok!

ScrappnBee said...

These layouts are coming along so well! I love them all! Silly Kitty in the photo! LOL! Great job on all of it and thanks for sharing the stories as well! -Amanda

Amy said...

You had one amazing trip! Love the story and documenting you did on your layouts!

Rach H said...

Looks like such a wonderful trip! Love all of the layouts!

Tammy said...

Love seeing your trip updates! Your photos and pages are amazing. Glad the little guy is doing better. Looks like he's a handul! :)