Saturday, August 13, 2011

Cruisin' for a Bruisin'

Polly and I decided that the best way to tour--ahem, EXPLORE Egypt would be to follow the Nile.  The obvious next step was to charter a cruise.

I ain't that fond of boats, or the Nile, or crocodiles, but neither Rich nor I have valid driver's licenses, and for some reason, the taxi cab companies in Egypt put us on a blacklist.

It was curious.  I did call several taxi service companies and asked why they would do such a thing, but they refused to comment on the matter.  In fact, the most I got out of them was something about finding hairballs on the seats.  You would not happen to know anything about this, Herr Polly?

Uh, no.  Of course not.  

As I suspected.  This is obviously another conspiracy by some mysterious organization, trying to throw us off their trail.

Mhm.  Yep.  That is exactly what happened.  

The cruise was an educational experience, particularly for my companion.  We began in Cairo and will continue upstream, all the way to the farthest edge of the Ancient Egyptian empire in the south.  Some of the notable monuments to alien ingenuity included in the tour package guided expedition include the Dendera Temple, the Colossi on Memnon in the Theban Necropolis, Luxor, Kom Ombo, and Abu Simbel at its new location (the entire complex was moved in 1968 owing to the flooding caused by the Aswan Dam).

Don't forget about the Esna Lock!

What did you think of the sites that we have seen so far?

Temple of Hathor:

Hmm, well the Temple was pretty neat.  Everything there is so well-preserved, although the ceiling is super dirty.  The ancient Egyptians sure know how to execute a paint job, unlike you.

The ceiling is blackened owing to smoke from fires long ago.  And what are you implying about my artistic abilities?

I don't understand why the goddess of beauty is a cow.  Bastet--now THAT'S a looker.  

The cow is sacred in many cultures, Polly.  In fact, one of Hera's epithets was "Cow-Eyed Goddess," and in India, cows are especially revered.

Did you see that one relief?  Were those really images of ancient light bulbs?

The Dendera Light?  Oh, do not be silly.  That is just a kooky fringe theory.  Clearly the relief depicts aspects of Egyptian mythology, not ancient light bulb technology. 

The Dendera Light

Wow, really Heiny?  That be surprisingly lucid.

I was being facetious.  OF COURSE those are light bulbs.  Just, just look at them!  They are lamps and even have filaments inside!  I hast never seen a more light bulby-looking light bulb in all of my years as an academic.  Anyone who suggests anything else is just trying to suppress the knowledge of the ancients, probably for some nefarious purpose.

I guess I'll take your word for it.

The Colossi:

How come the famous singing statues at don't actually sing?

The Colossi of Memnon, which are actually statues of Amenhotep III, are very, very old.  They were built in 1350 B.C.  In In 27 B.C., they survived an earthquake, which apparently damaged the eastern statue.  When the wind would blow through it, some bystanders would claim that they heard the sound, particularly at dawn (hence the name, ad Memnon means "Ruler of the Dawn").  The statues were repaired at some point in the past, and no one has heard a peep from them since.

 No one?

Well, except for the two of us, but there was a perfectly logical explanation for that.

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