January 25th, 2008

Sea dragon

Stairmaster tour - west bank of the Nile

Man, this trip is work. This morning it was a 6 am wakeup call and 7 am on the bus. By 9 am we'd already made it to the Valley of the Kings (tombs of Ramses 1, 2 , and 3) and were on our way to Queen Hapshepsut's Temple (see picture). Then it was the Valley of the Queens (tombs of Amen Khopshef and Queen Titi) and after LUNCH we're going to Karnak. Jesus. All the stairs are evil and are killing Jason. Tonight we're catching the _sleeper_ train (asked early enough this time) to Cairo. We should have a little downtime before we leave; J will be spending it with his foot elevated while I go buy some appliqued pillowcases next door. Seriously, we're seeing a year's worth of sites in a day.picture.jpg

Last night we went to the temple of Luxor, which was one of the coolest places we've been to since we got here. We'd finally made it to a proper "old old" temple (even though, I think, it was "New Kingdom"), not the "new old" of the Greek/Roman (Ptolemaic?) era temples we saw earlier in the day. The pillars were swollen at the bottom and capped with closed lotuses; the heiroglyphs were more angular and energetic, somehow. In front were giant statues carved from single blocks of granite, as was the obelisk (twin of the one at Place de la Concorde). Oddly, there was a (thousand year old) mosque tucked inside behind the left front wall. In the back, behind a Roman emperor cult building, were series of carvings of sacrifices: bound ibex, oryx, cattle; and scenes featuring the one-armed god of fertility, whose "member" was burnished by the many hands of women hoping to get pregnant. The thousand year difference between this temple and the ones we'd seen earlier were noticable; it [text lost here, need to add in later]
was old, at night. I just wish we could go back today and sketch for a while ...