Dendara and Abydos Temples - Middle Egypt
Trip Start Oct 24, 2010
51Trip End Jan 16, 2011
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By my count we passed through 27 checkpoints all manned with various armed guards. There were red and white portable fence structures placed across a lane on each end of the checkpoint. There were often spike strips behind the gates, which would puncture any car tires, if they ran the checkpoint. The police at these stations would carry an assortment of arms, usually Kalishnakovs, and Ak-47s. Occasionally we could see a small tek- 9 under the jackets of a plainclothes member of the team
Periodically, the check points would ask our driver , Mohammed, a question in Arabic. He would say something, then reply "Canadians and Australians. " We all said nothing.
It was interesting to see the amount of security in place along this road. Ninty five percent of Egyptians live along the Nile River. They all live on a long strip of land sometimes only a mile wide. We laughed nervously when we passed the signs that said "Have a happy Journey." We drove past hundreds of posters featuring the smiling, yet stern image of Hosnei Mubarek. One of our earlier tour guides called him Hosnei the first, calling him Egypt's new Pharoah, since he has been in power for nearly 30 years
Our trip northward carried us through agricultural land, full of farms of sugar cane, Camels, poor villages. Villagers were burning piles of palm leaves. Near Qena, we passed two maxi vans covered in wire cages. Each van had two gun ports on the back, and four along each side. We continued on passed more posters of Hosni the first.
Over a week ago I met a young man in a temple. I thought he had a tripod under his casual street clothes. On closer inspection, he had a tek - 9 machine pistol barrel protruding near his waist line. He was a plainclothes security guard. He said Eqypt was in need of new leadership, but he could not say so publically. He said if he said the words "Mubarek, no good", he would be handcuffed, and "never see the sunshine again." Given that, I think I will change the subject, as I am still here for a week or so. Moving right along.,...
Other than the check points, the drive was really uneventful. I am glad of that. We first visited the site of Dendara temple. The Egyptians held a festival each year that ran for 40 days. They would unite the God statue of Hathor from Dendara with the Statue Horus from Edfu , many miles upstream. The purpose was to provide some "Honeymoon" time for the two Gods who were married, but unfortunately, had their main palaces many miles apart. This annual procession took 40 days to complete.
Both the Dendara and Abydos temples showed signs of Greek occupation as well. In one for example was a stome head of the Greek God Bes, it looked very dissimilar to the Egyptian Gods.