Egypt Day 10: My Kingdom for No Horse

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Having felt like death warmed over for several days now, I'm greatful when I learn that we get to sleep in this morning as the boat sails to Edfu. Sadly, my innards didn't get the memo. They woke me around 7 am, and kept me up the rest of the morning. I finally accept (after having gone through half a pack of Immodium in the last three days with no improvement) that it is time for more drastic measures.

Grant talks to a friend on board and obtains a nice 3 day 500 mg per pill supply of Cipro for me. Good old antibiotics should do the trick, I hope, as I gulp down the first pill. That said, I'm not risking leaving a sanitary bathroom to hit the temple. I sadly bid Grant farewell and task him to take lots of photos for me.

For better, or worse, my room has a view of the dock, and I see all of our friends getting off the boat and waiting on the landing to go to the temple. It's finally more than I can bear. I grab my bag, throw in some water and a fresh roll of toilet paper, and rush out to catch up with the group.

There is no way I'm missing a single sight here in Egypt, even if it kills me. A bad day running from shady spot to shady spot in the temple (as I'd done the entire day before) was better than a good day in that cabin. I trust my luck to Western medicine and hop in the horse-drawn carriage with Grant, Joe and Judy.

We ride the carriage through the bumpy streets and arrive at the temple. I am so glad I went. This was by far the most impressive of the temples we had yet seen. It was buried in the sand for centuries - part of the village had even been built on a section of its roof and had to be moved when the site was excavated in the mid 19th century by Mariette. Though the area was settled as far back as 3000 BC, the temple itself was from the Ptolemaic period, so it was only about 2000 years old. That said, it was done in a style that was considered ancient in those days, so it was a wonderful and well preserved replica of more ancient times. It was dedicated to the god Horus (a very popular god in this area).

Thanks to being buried for so long it was almost entirely intact. So many of the earlier temples were open air bits of partial rubble and incomplete (or remade in concrete) pillars that it was amazing to finally be able to grasp the scale. With much of the roof still in place you could see the light stream in from the shafts cut in the ceiling blocks and pool on the floor, very Indian Jones. Grant took some great photos of the area.

The Copts moved into the temple during the early years of Christianity in Egypt, so the ceiling in later rooms (as well as the tops of the columns) were stained black with the soot of their ancient cook fires. They also carved Coptic Crosses into many of the pillars right over the old carvings. It was fascinating to see the building being reused in that manner. It reminded me of the old sprawling mansions from the 17th or 18th century in France that had been turned into dentists' offices and apartment buildings. Again, that tie to the fundamental humanity we all share. Reuse is an age old idea.

In the back of the temple there was a beautiful recreation of a wooden model boat in which Horus' statue would be taken out of the temple for holidays. The orginal was removed by Mariette and it is in Paris (if I recall the tour guide correctly). The model was very nice though, and we have pictures of it as well.

After the temple we bid farewell to our guide, thankfully. Don't get me wrong, he was nice enough, and had some good information, but the repetition got on my nerves. I didn't need to hear something 3 times, I got it the first time. We boarded our carriage and went back down the bumpy roads to the boat.

This time the boat is there, so we're quite happy. We hit the pool to relax and have some drinks before dinner. We notice the shady roof has been colapsed, and so have the umbrellas. Turns out we need to go under a very low bridge. So when everyone has boarded we set sail, and the crew tells us we must be either in the pool or seated very low. It was just like going under the bridge in our rafts on the Truckee! I could have touched the bottom of the bridge from the pool, though I refrained from doing so. After we were clear of the bridge everything went back up and they started setting up for the big BBQ and Galabiyya party.

Let me just say that the idea of dressing up like the 'natives' seems a bit offensive to me on two levels. First, I've already paid to be on your boat, you're already screwing me on non-alcoholic drinks and now you want me to pay to rent a costume to go to your party? Forget it. Second, you're giving me garb that is not what most people really wear, it seems a little culturally inappropriate. It feels like showing up to a Native American reservation in a loin cloth and feathered headdress. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe it was just the illness.

So Grant and I show up the BBQ with no costume. Apparently we're the only ones bothered by this. Everyone else either had bought the gear in town or happily rented it. The BBQ turned out to be the same awful food we'd been eating for days, just served outside and the chicken was technically cooked outside as well. They had some awful hummus though that really set me off, I'm still not eating Middle Eastern food thanks to that stuff. The desserts were finally local fare, and kind of tasty, but my stomach was already soured from the hummus.

Upon learning that the 'party' in the discotheque involved games for prizes (including some sort of game where you tie a potato around your waist and swing it to hit an orange) Grant headed for the cabin. I stopped by briefly, but then gave up about 5 minutes in when they started taking more group photos. I ran into Ramy, Tom and Eric and was invited to ditch the party and hit the town to go to a local coffee house. I was sorely tempted, but Grant wasn't, and I still didn't feel too well. Since our bus was leaving at 7 am the next morning, I also needed my sleep. So I thanked the guys for the offer, but declined and went to bed.

For more exciting adventures check out Grant's blog for Day 11: Good Tour Guide, No Alabaster Factory.



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This page contains a single entry by published on June 23, 2005 7:30 AM.

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