They like it big in Egypt
Trip Start Sep 16, 2003
10Trip End Sep 23, 2003
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After breakfast today Haysam tried to talk us into staying in Egypt a little longer. He even opened his home to us. He said he had two homes, his mothers and his own and that we were welcome to stay with him. We told him that we wished that we could but that we had to go back to work as soon as we got back. We were so touched by his kindness and really felt that we made a fantastic friend in Haysam.
We were disembarking this ship for the last time. It was so sad. We had really become attached to the crew who always took such good care of us. They always had our towels made into animals in our room. The food service crew, when they knew I wasn't feeling well brought me tea to settle my stomach. They went above and beyond. I think that overall we had been a great group and they were sad to see us leave.
Today when we disembarked the ship we were 4 ships out. On the Nile they just pull next to one another, and then to exit, you go through the lobby of each and every ship.
I have been looking forward to today all week long. Deir el Bahri is the tomb of Queen Hatshepsut. It is this amazing structure built into the side of a mountain.We started the morning off very early. We arrived at Deir el Bahri as the sun was rising over the valley. There were three hot air balloons that were just rising over the sandstone cliffs. There was something magical about all of it. I was not feeling well but I was so excited about being here.
From Deir el Bahri we continued on to Valley of the kings, At this point the heat was killing me. The thought of going into breeze free tombs with tons of sweaty tourist had me feeling a little nauseous but hey we were in the Valley of the Kings and I couldn't wait to see how the Pharaohs chose to be buried. The Murals were amazing, colorful and detailed.
While going through one of the tombs I met 3 men from Palatine. Truthfully this is the first time that I have ever met anyone from Palatine. They were 3 generations, grandfather, father and son. I am not sure how the conversation started but we started talking. They had family living in the U.S. I asked if they had ever had a chance to visit. They explained that it was very difficult for them to get Visas. They said that Egypt was about the only place that they could go. They were so kind and we started talking about how easy it is for Americans to travel. The conversation was so interesting that I totally forgot about being sick to my stomach. The more people that I meet the more I realize that people, no matter where they come from are pretty well the same. There are good ones and bad ones. It is only when we start to stereotype and organized groups get involved that problems arise. Such a shame since we have so much to learn from one another.
Our last stop for the day was The Colossi of Memnon (known to locals as el-Colossat, or es-Salamat) They are two massive stone statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III. For the past 3400 years they have stood across the River Nile from Luxor.
The twin statues depict Amenhotep III. The statues are made from blocks of quartzite sandstone. Including the stone platforms on which they stand, they reach a towering 60 ft in height.The original function of the Colossi was to stand guard at the entrance to Amenhotep's memorial temple. Now these giant sentry's pose for photos with tiny little tourist. In its day, this temple complex was the largest and most opulent in Egypt. Covering a total of 35 ha, even later rivals such Temple of Karnak was smaller.
Something funny happened on the bus. Friendly Planet, the company that we booked this tour through sent us a packet of information on wardrobe suggestions, local customs, and other things to help us be better visitors to this amazing country. Cory and I read all of the information and even sought out more on the internet. This was our last day and one of the guys on our tour is finally getting around to reading the packet. In total surprise he turns to me and says "Hey did you know they suggest that you not wear shorts in Egypt" I replied "Have you noticed what we have been wearing?" His response "You could have been a lot more comfortable in shorts." He didn't get that it wasn't a trip to Epcot. He would have been one of the same Americans to say that the Brits shouldn't wear banana hammocks on American Beaches and if you are in the United States speak English, but didn't show the same respect to these wonderful hosts in Egypt.