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6/7: Day Twelve, Edfu to Esna to Luxor back to Esna
We took a horse-drawn carriage with Melina and Ian, a newlywed couple that was also on our Greece trip, to Edfu temple, one of the best preserved in Egypt. This is because instead of being right on the Nile, where raiders could easily see it (damn Christians, ruining every single temple they ran across... they chipped away at the carvings and defaced the holy of holies, usually), it was in the middle of a town. The sides of the temple slope upwards and have round edges, to help the wind flow around it instead of running into it and causing it to wear away. (At least, that's what Amadeus told us.) This temple actually has art on it depicting the pharaoh ascending because he has been given the scepter and ankh, which we hadn't seen before. There's lots of size stuff going on in Egyptian art; for example, the wives were carved smaller than the pharaoh for one of two reasons: 1. they'd come back and make less trouble, because they were smaller, or 2. they'd come back and be better protected by their husband, because he was bigger. Anyway.
Alison and Caroline in front of the back of Edfu Temple.
Side view of the temple; noticed the slanted edge (which is rounded).
The gods giving the scepter and ankh to the pharaoh.
The pharaoh holding obelisks (he's ascended! Woo!)
Caroline in front of the temple; inside the temple.
Isis and the holy of holies.
Alison and Amadeus; Caroline and Alison.
Caroline and Alison in the courtyard of Edfu.
The front of the temple.
At this temple, Egypt struck me again. First, Alison gets sick. Then, Alison is walking next to one of her new New Zealand friends (I think it was Amanda...), looking at her water bottle, because it was Greek, and suddenly, I hit the ground. HARD. Turns out I fell into a little hole in the ground, twisting my ankle, spraining my wrist, and cutting my knees up. A lot. It was great fun. Lucky for me, not many people saw :)
Alison and Caroline in the carriage; the best pic of the trip, IMO.
So, I spent the time at this temple being alternately awed and owed. We left the temple, and spent about 30 minutes trying to find our coach, because he had been paid to take us to and from the temple. I have no idea where the heck he was, but he certainly wasn't waiting for us. Just when we had gotten into another coach he showed up, and we hopped in and enjoyed the ride back, with me giving little kids pens off the side. When we got to the boat, the driver tried to cajole us for more cash, but Paul had warned us that he might do that, so we walked off and ignored him. We all went directly breakfast, as we hadn't eaten yet and were starving... grr.
The scorpion in our room. (Ahh!)
Somehow, in the act of getting sunburnt, I only got one arm burnt. My left one. I really don't understand how that happened, but I resolved to solve it by going to the top deck after breakfast and lying out with 17 spf (I know, weird spf, but I am allergic to suntan lotion and the lotion I use comes in 17 and 30) on my right arm and 30 on the left. As I went upstairs, I noticed that the tents and lights were all dismantled, for reasons that were beyond me until I looked forward and noticed a big bridge that was about 2 inches taller than the boat. As we started moving forward, the crew had to yell at people to get down on the floor, as some were just standing there, watching the bridge sweep towards them. In the end, it just cleared the deck, which makes me wonder what we would have done if the river level had been a little higher. Ouch.
The trip to Esna was spent getting a foot massage (thanks, Debbie!), a lecture (thanks, Debbie!), and chatting with Debbie, Tracey, and Ashley (one of the Carnagie Mellon folk). Very enjoyable. Usually, we would have taken the boat straight to Luxor, but the lock was broken, so there was no way to get there. Instead, we got off the boat and onto a bus, in order to travel to Karnak temple, the largest in Egypt. It took over 2000 years to build, owing mostly to the fact that it was built to Amon (Ra), and thus, every pharaoh felt the need to add on to it in order to pay homage. It was also extremely hot, since Luxor is smack in the desert, so we enjoyed 120+ weather. This is the kind of sun that makes you wish you were wearing a long-sleeved shirt and pants, because it literally hurts to be standing in it. Ow. The temple was spectacular, though, and definitely was one of my faves (with Abu Simbel), for both the amazing amount of stuff there and the columnade in the middle. There is also this obelisk in the middle that is two-toned, because it was originally built by Hapshetsut, who came to power by claiming that she was a virgin birth (much to the chagrin of her bro, who was all prepared to be pharaoh up to this point). When she fell out of power, he destroyed all of her temples, but he couldn't destroy the obelisk, as it was to Amon Ra. So, he completely surrounded it with high walls, and only left the top to stick out. This part was bleached by the sun, so the stone is two different colors.
Caroline at the entrance to Karnak.
A view inside the front gate; a statue of Ramses.
The columnade at Karnak.
The sex god.
The dual-colored obelisk.
Part of the temple.
This is how columns are sunk into the ground in order to keep them stable.
Tracey, Alison, and Caroline in front of a broken obelisk.
Shayne and Caroline.
Alison waves goodbye!
After Karnak, we went back to the boat, and Caroline and I paid our boat bill. We then ate dinner, packed to get up at 5am (ew), and went to sleep.
The Hangman and our bedclothes art guys.
Then, at 11:30, reception called to tell us that we didn't pay our bill. Since we were sleeping, Caroline argued for a minute but ultimately hung up, and we went back to sleep.