Sunday, March 25, 2007

Luxor Temple

this is the way to Luxor temple.. or might i say temple complex.. this is our first stop in the worshipping a god temple.. the one the day before was for a pharoh.. not gods.. so let me tell you a little bit about this temple complex.. temples were routinely added on to by the ruler of the day .. this complex i do believe was about a dozen temples together.. there were many interesting things to be seen here ...also .. the nile used to flood and deposit silt and then re flood and take it away .. sometimes this could take years between .. so this temple complex was very interesting in that there were actually mosques built on top of parts of this temple because people were unaware there was actually MORE underneath.. so when we had our tour these mosques were about 25 to 30 foot in the air.. they looked out of place in the context we saw them in but of course when they were built they were steeet level.. i think i am getting ahead of myself .. but file these thoughts..

typically the the outside entrance to the temple had a pilon in front.. that is the two high walls you see.. and usually there was an oblesik of some sort as well .. temples were actually built from the back forward .. the pilon being the last thing erected.. and the holiest of rooms where they kept the statues of the gods they were worshipping were built first..

this is the pilon as the sun was going down.. they lighted the temple nicely for night.. as the sun went down the shots got more interesting...

as we entered the temple .. if you looked to the left you saw this avenue of sphinxes.. this avenue at one time connected the temple at luxor and the temple of karnak.. i do believe our guide said this would have been about a mile of sphinxes.. on each side of the road..

here is another shot as the sun was going down

as we entered the temple we were met with a room of columns which was typical of all temples of this time .. about 3000 years ago .. maybe a little less..

there were of course a few of these "columned rooms" in this temple because we were on a complex.. each temple had its own..

another interesting thing about this temple and most others is.. when the nile would flood.. it would deposit silt in these places and stay there for years and years and years.. and because of this.. the floors were raised many feet above the real floor..sometimes 20 or 30.. so new things were built on top of the temples because they were really unaware of every thing underneath.. this mosque is a prime example of this.. there were also graffitis left on the columns that support this.. these are carved high in the columns.. and of course when the nile flooded after all those years.. it washed the silt floor back away leaving these things high in the air ..

also later when the religion of the ancient egyptians was abandoned.. the christians would take these temples and use them as churches.. as a result.. you can see some of the frescoes they put over the ancient glyphs.. and carvings.. and these frescoes served double duty.. they depicted christian scenes but also preserved what was underneath..

so on the way back to the boat .. we passed many cute shops like this .. some designer.. like the gucci you see... in the foreground.. some jewelers .. etc..these were the hassle free fixed price shops .. and after a long day it was nice not to have to haggle for anything.. we bought some water .. and i bought a Stella beer.. i had to try it since it was brewed in egypt.. it was a half liter beer and fairly good.. it had a kind of heinekein-y taste but lighter.. also on the way back we saw.. a small two lane bowling alley and of course we had to stop and take pictures.. it was only two little lanes but really nice ..

so needless to say when we finally hit the boat at about 10.30...after a little bit of shopping and all that sight seeing.. i went up on the top deck.. drank my beer. and did some crocheting.. jessica went to the room and passed out.. after my beer and some nice night air i did the same.. we had Karnak the next day .. and out of all the places we went .. the enormity of this place amazed me.. more on that later ..

posted by ThreeOliveMartini @ Sunday, March 25, 2007   3 martinis shaken not stirred

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Luxor.. Egypt

So .. we got to Luxor.. and thru the airport with out much of a hitch.. this one was fairly easy since it was a domestic flight.. we gathered our bags.. and they were taken to th ebus for us to be dropped off at the boat while we took our tour for the day .. this was to be a jam packed day .. a VERY jam packed day ..

we were starting with the west bank of the nile and going to end on the east bank and back at the boat.. we had the valley of the queens .. the valley of the kings.. the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut...a stop at the alabaster factory .. a crazy ferry ride over to the boat and finally the temple at Luxor.. it was a tiring but informational day ..

the west bank of the nile is all about the dead.. there are tombs and temples to the dead there.. the east side was for the living with the temples for the gods there and places to worship.. its is also where most of the people at Luxor live.. another quick fact.. Luxor was Thebes many many hundreds of years ago.. and was renamed Luxor..

so here we start at the valley of the Queens.. this is where the Queens of egypt were buried .. in tombs .. AFTER the use of pyramids became obsolete.. this was about 3000 years ago.. these tombs .. which we were not allowed any pictures .. still had fairly vivid colour on the walls.. they were naturally devoid of anything of value because that was all either taken out and taken to the Egyptian museum .. or had been robbed out of the graves at the point they were rediscovered under the sands of the desert ..

these pictures were views in the valley .. there were also smaller miscellaneous graves scattered along the sides of the valley ..

we had made friends quickly with a nice woman named victoria .. we would take pictures of Me and Jessica and we would take pictures of her .. it was a nice exchange and a good way to get a few pictures together

on the way back down from these tombs .. jessica needed to use the rest room and on the way up we had noticed a small white trailer type thing sitting in an area to itself.. to me it looked like a small semi trailer .. when in fact.. it was the restroom.. so Jessica got the pleasure of paying the attendant an egyptian pound for some toilet paper and using it ..

we headed back down from the valley of the queens and on to the bus again to make our way to the valley of the kings.. of course the tombs here were bigger and more elaborate than the ones we had just seen .. and as usual .. no pictures could be taken inside the tombs.. our guide had actually worked on a couple of these tombs when they were rediscovered.. she was very interesting and very informative.. this is where king tuts tomb was.. but we werent paying the extra 100 pounds to go in.. hanan had informed us all the good stuff was in the Egyptian museum and we would get to see all of that when we got back to Cairo .. on our last day .. we did however stand beside the tomb entrance for a photo op...

we had ridden a tram up .. and there was also a great view from up there.. so here are pictures from the bottom and the top.. i cannot tell you how amazing it was to walk down in these tombs and see the vividness of the colours still there after 3000 years..

also a new discovery in the valley .. they had recently found where the tomb of Ramses connected to the tombs of his sons creating a maze of tombs.. more than 100 connected tombs.. it was amazing..

i am trying to make this not so lengthy but there is so much to say .. we departed the valley of the kings.. back on the bus to the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut..this queen diguised herself as a man to be pharoh.. this queen was brazen .. this temple was carved out of the side of the mountain.. it had reliefs showing how she brought many plants and trees and flowers to the deserts of egypt from Punta land (somalia of today) .. this place was incredible..

here are pictures of the face of the temple and some detail

we had walked up with Victoria and she snapped a shot of Jessica Horus and me..

we walked back down .. and i have to say outside every temple or tourist place there were shops.. and some of the shop keepers were more agressive than others trying to sell their goods.. always up for a good barter etc.. some days it was overwhelming.. the first place we stopped at the valley of the queens i think was the most surprising to all of us because it was the first stop and first place we encountered this behaviour..

so we departed the temple.. after i had held up the bus.. because one of the shop keepers just didnt want me to leave his booth .. i think it was the blue eyes and fair skin .. but Jessica and i got fawned over most of the trip.. and we were given many things for being different.. we were often called the Queen and the Princess.. i am sure this is common practice and we really werent that special.. it just seemed so while we were in the moment..

we headed to the alabaster factory .. here is where they showed us the difference between hand carved alabaster and machine tooled alabaster

the take a "blank" and make a general shape. .. then its drilled.. and then handed to the last guy to smooth out and make the object it was meant to be ..

and every where we went there was tea.. we didnt buy any alabaster but it sure was interesting watching the things being made and seeing the process.. we sat and had tea while our other tour companions shopped..

after the alabaster factory .. we headed back toward the river to our ferry to get us to our boat.. are you out of breath yet ? .. i know we were tired.. we got on this boat.. that was fairly large but had a smallish out board motor and i had doubts we were going to get across the river in that boat .. we did make it but it was slowly ..

once we got on the boat .. it took us about ten minutes to cross the river.. once on the other side we got to our boat.. where our bags awaited us outside of our room .. and we got to have some lunch/dinner.. man i was hungry at this point .. we had been going since 2 am .. and had a breakfast box leaving the hotel.. and finally something on the boat.. after the meal and a little rest we were to head out to the Luxor temple..

i will leave that installment for later.. this one seems to have run long enough .. and this temple probably should have its own entry .. there are alot of pictures and MUCH more to say ..

posted by ThreeOliveMartini @ Thursday, March 22, 2007   6 martinis shaken not stirred

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Egypt.. the first couple days

ok i think i have my pictures uploaded and ready and thought i would start with the first couple days of the trip

*please note.. all pictures are clickable*

i stayed up all night the night before to try to get acclimated to the time and suffer little jet lag.. so i took off from my house at 8 am to pick up Jessica was overcast and drizzly.. but our spirits were high .. we crammed the bags in the car ..hit burger king and got to the airport..

nice and early .. found a nice parking spot for the days we would be gone ...headed in checked in and was at the gate in time for our 11.20 departure.. it went down hill from there.. our flight was two hours late.. great.. but ok .. because i had given us a 4 hour window between flights for this very reason .. every thing was gonna be ok ..

so since we were early .. we had a whole three hours to wait before out flight would take off.. Jessica stretched out for a nap.. and i broke out some knitting.. a little mitre square cotton blanket i am still working on really .. so..

our flight takes off and things are looking good.. they tell us the made up time in the air and we would be in NYC by 4.30.. this is nice because our flight for egypt was leaving at 6.30.. not nervous.. things were going to work out..

so we get toward JFK and were told we were in holding.. we werent landing for another hour.. ok.. time to start sweating..that would be landing at 5.30 and trying to get thru security .. and to our flight in just under an hour..

landing went fine.. luggage claim fine.. air train took us to our terminal in 45 seconds.. get to the check in counter no one there .. SCORE.. !!! quick check in .. yess.. we head toward the counter to be told its closed..

WTF?! oh HELL no.. !! i have a ticket for a flight that is not leaving for another 50 minutes .. i am getting checked in and we are gonna be on that plane.. i explain we were here just in the air.. not my fault our plane cut it this short because we were circling.. so they let us check in .. and dont you know there were ppl even later than us that were allowed to check in .. so we are on the plane and ready for our 9 and a half hour flight..

so we settle in .. Jessica pops her dramamine.. we have dinner and she knocks off.. as soon as we take off i set my clock to cairo time .. and relax.. gonna have a little nap.. NOT.. two screaming babies kept up our section of the plane for the next 6 hours.. i got a little nap right after breakfast.. but it was only about an hour and a half.. oh well.. Jessica slept .. and i am a trooper .. i can take it..

we got to cairo.. finally.. and we had a liason there to help us to get our visa .. money changed.. and thru immigration .. and also to get our bags and help us to our bus..

this was the scene at the airport..

it was crazy...

we got to our bus and started toward our hotel picking up Bill our tour coordinator along the way .. this is the person that made sure our reservations were right.. our tickets were taken care of .. our hotel was right.. meals were as they were supposed to be .. etc.. somehow along the way i didn t get a picture of him...

we got to the hotel

it was really nice.. and we were set free for the rest of the night.. Jessica and I took it upon ourselves to hit cairo... have some dinner.. shop and have a camel ride.. it was a nice night .. and we got in rather late.. 10.30 .. considering we had to get up at 2.30 am for a flight to luxor

those are the view right outside our hotel.. we had just come out and walked maybe 50 feet down the street before taking the pictures.. it was nice.. we were on the hunt for food..

what we found was a taxi driver willing to take us to a resturant and to some shops .. and stay with us all evening.. that was a nice gesture.. he was a nice man.. he took us to a small cafe where we had kabob.. i had lamb jessica had beef.. it was really good.. we went on to a papyrus place.. oil factory .. a small shop that sold many different things.. to a jeweler to get cartouches .. and there is where we had our camel ride .. it was interesting to say the least.. please meet Michael.. the camel.. Jessica nick named him Michael Pizalut ( sounds like pees alot) because well .. that is what he did .. poor thing was slightly behind me on the horse.. and she said Michael relieved himself at least three times during the ride.. which lasted almost an hour..

we finished our camel ride and headed back to the hotel.. we stopped for water.. and then.. i shoudl have known it was too good to be true the taxi driver gouged me for twice what he asked before.. i should have just said no.. but on hindsight.. it wasnt a bad price even at twice and we had an adventure to say the least..

so we had that 2.30 wake up so we could make our way to the airport to get us to luxor to catch the boat.. we decided at this point to take daily self portraits.. this was taken as we were on the plane and about to take off

i think we look a little rock starish .. lol.. i will leave you with our arrival at luxor ... the airport was interesting to say the least..

posted by ThreeOliveMartini @ Wednesday, March 21, 2007   6 martinis shaken not stirred

Thursday, March 15, 2007

You Know What I Love ?

i love when people think they know you .. find bits and pieces of info here and there and piece together a puzzle in their head.. take what they think they know as truth with out ever asking me a single damned question.. that is what i love..

i love assumptions .. and innuendo.. and gossip.. its all my favourite.. good god.. if anyone thinks they know me.. or has the need to know me or anyone they think i may be associated with in my life.. all you have to do is ask .. instead of being .. or trying to be sneaky and gathing bits of info that may or may not be right or true..

what i really wanna know is what the hell happened in the 8 fucking days i was gone.. apparently half the people in my life ate stupid pills or something because i came home to virtual chaos.. i think the fuck up fairy paid every one a visit and they chose to believe what ever was handed them ..

posted by ThreeOliveMartini @ Thursday, March 15, 2007   2 martinis shaken not stirred

Friday, March 09, 2007

Hi Honey!!!

I'm home !! its been a wonderful amazing incredible trip.. but it does feel good to be in my bed .. with my pillows and able to drink the tap water again ..

lots of picture filled posts to follow in the next few days.. between Jessica and myself we took over 500..

so be prepared..

soo.. ok.. who missed me ???

posted by ThreeOliveMartini @ Friday, March 09, 2007   12 martinis shaken not stirred

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Off To Egypt

see you guys in 8 days..

have a great week

posted by ThreeOliveMartini @ Thursday, March 01, 2007   6 martinis shaken not stirred


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