It really was such a neat experience and I'm so grateful for it. Egypt altogether was a phenomenal adventure, and I loved the whole thing! And I especially love that I've finished the blogging of it, so sorry it took so long. I'm sure I'll have so much more to tell you and show you when I get home, so be prepared!
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
We had just a little bit of time before we left for the Egyptian Museum. I have to say, this was one of my favorite parts of the trip. There was SO much to see in this museum, ancient coffins, statues of the ancient rulers, ancient papyri, ancient everything. There was too much to even really say briefly in a blog posting, so I'll just say a couple of the interesting things we saw:
- The treasures found in the tomb of King Tutankhamen or "King Tut". Most people know King Tut as the ruler who was just a boy when he died (He was technically around 18). He actually didn't really stand out much in history. The main reason that he is so famous today is because almost all the tombs of the ancient pharaohs were robbed by grave-robbers who took everything. However, Tutankhamen's tomb was somehow never found by them, and remained undiscovered until the mid-1900's when it was found by an archaeologist. Everything that was originally placed in the tomb was recovered and put in the Egyptian museum. It was incredible to see the riches and artifacts they'd found there.
This was taken a few days earlier, when we were at the Valley of the Kings (burial place of the ancient Egyptian kings). Me and Richelle outside the actual tomb of "King Tut"
2. The mummy room. Wow. Have you ever seen a real mummy? If not, I suggest you find a way to do it. It is a crazy experience! We had to pay extra to enter this special room in the museum, but it was well worth it. This room contained the mummified bodies of at least a dozen ancient rulers, one of which was Rameses II who is believed to be the Pharaoh during the exodus when Moses delivered the Hebrews from captivity in Egypt. I looked at the body of the man who very likely spoke face to face with Moses. So crazy. Their heads and upper bodies were all unwrapped for us to see, and was it ever a sight to see! I can't believe that after 4,000 years, those bodies are still here, and still look like that! Some of them even still had hair! Sorry I don't have any pictures. Cameras weren't allowed in the museum, for obvious reasons. But man, it was amazing.
For lunch, we went to Hard Rock Cafe, Cairo edition! The best thing about Hard Rock is that this was honestly the sign on the bathroom door:
After lunch, we went to the Muhammad Ali Mosque, which was beautiful (as shown below). It's a mosque Muhammad built himself to house his tomb.
Sorry there aren't a whole lot of pictures from this day. I wasn't "all there" health-wise so I wasn't really into doing the picture thing that day. I was a little out-of-it. In fact, after getting back from the mosque, I went straight to bed and slept 13 hours!! Kind of a boring night, but it paid off big time. I was ready for Day 7!
- "Excuse me, you drop something.....my heart."
- "You eyes are beautiful like a cow's" (Believe it or not, this is actually a compliment in Egypt. Apparently cows have really beautiful eyes. I guess I need to take a closer look next time I see one)
- "Don't leave, you break my heart!"
- "I pay one million camels for you!"
After the terror was over. I had regained my composure and we smiled with our kind dare-devil friend.
We finally made it alive to the Karnak Temple. And it was well worth it! This is one of those places that you hear about and never think you’ll actually get to. It was another feast for the eyes. In the center of the temple is a huge hall filled with 134 enormous columns, covered in writings and hieroglyphics. Our tour guide was telling us how they were able to chisel the hieroglyphics into the stone when it seems impossible because they go so high. Apparently, Egypt has an abundance of sand (who knew?), so they filled the ENTIRE hall with sand, almost up to the very top, and the workers would chisel away that top part of the columns until they ran out of room. Then they would drain some of the sand, just enough to give them more chiseling space, and they’d go at it again until they ran out of room. And so it continued until they’d carved the entire height of the 134 pillars. And let me tell you, they are a sight to behold! After Karnak, we went straight to the Luxor Temple, which was also beautiful in its own way. The whole day we were full of awe.
I ended up finding my own little nook. Cozy, no? I think I'll make it permanent.
An ancient hieroglyph found on the Karnak Temple showing the pharaoh being purified through washing and anointing in order to inherit eternal life.
Good times. Noodle Salad
Well, the beauty of the Sunset was phenomenol, but we still had more to our day. The time came to leave Luxor and head back to Cairo where we still had more to see. It was a sad day. I LOVED Luxor. One day, I'll come back again...
So that night, we took an all night train to get back to Cairo. Remember the before-mentioned meal of bread, bread, bread, and one more piece of bread? Yeah, that was on this train. It probably wasn't the cleanest place I'd ever been, but I think Romanian trains prepped me, so it wasn't too bad. I got to share a room with Eliza, my roommate on the Egypt trip. I feel it's necessary to do a shout-out to that girl. She really made the tripsuch a blast. I loved sharing a room with her, even if it was just for a week. Especially in those moments when we busted out her ipod and sang every song we came across at the top of our lungs. Ah....good stuff.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Once we got there, we each met our little Camel helpers, little Egyptian boys. My little Mohammad was so dang cute. Didn't speak a whole lot of English, but we bonded. He informed me that my camel's name was Bob Marley (the obsession continues). It was SO MUCH FUN!! We rode in a big caravan, along the shore of the Nile, and through this small Egyptian village. It was definitely an eye-opener to see how humbly these people live, but how simple and beautiful it was at the same time. I loved it.
Here we go!!
My little Mohammad, Bob Marley, and Me!
Human pyramid at the pyramids of Giza! Here we are at the first and biggest of the three, the Pyramid of the Pharaoh Khufu. I'm on the bottom cause I'm rough and tough.
AAHHHH!!! We're at the Pyramids!!!
Is this crazy or what?! This pyramid alone has 2.3 million stones!Here's some more crazy fun facts about the pyramids that you'll enjoy (I was fascinated):
- Get this. Their architects and builders were so exact in their construction that the longest side is only 7 inches longer than the shorter side. It is almost a PERFECT SQUARE!
- I can't remember this fact exactly, but it's another one of the architecture ones. The entire base of the pyramid is on almost the exact same level. There is only a variation of a few centimeters for the level of the entire base!
- It took about 20 years to complete and if I remember right, they guess that there had to have been about 10,000 men working on it constantly for those 20 years.
- The pyramids are SO OLD! About 4,600 years old to be exact. That means that when Abraham (who's one of the oldest people we know of in the Bible) came to Egypt, he saw the pyramids himself, and they were already about 800 years old. I looked on the same sight that Abraham did. That's mind-boggling.
So yeah, the pyramids were incredible. We also stopped by to see the very first pyramid ever, called the step pyramid. (The very first one was made by Pharaoh Zoser's architect Imhotep who stacked mudbrick structures on top of each other, thus creating the step effect. And yes, I also realized that Imhotep is the guy from "The Mummy," though I don't think they're really the same person...)
The Step Pyramid at Saqqara (This is actually huge like the others, but the artistic abilities of Richelle are unmatched)
While we were at the pyramids, we stopped over at the sphinx. Yep, just stopped on over. It's right in front of the second pyramid of Giza, and is all made from one single stone. I think there are a lot of debates as far as who it's supposed to represent, but the human head represents the intelligence of mankind and the lion body represents the strength of a lion.
Annie, Me, Sphinxie, S. Allison, Alexis
He loves me
We Love Egypt!! (Me and my roomies I love so much in with the pyramids)
Well, we finally left the Giza Plateau and headed to the Papyrus factory, where we learned how ancient papyrus was made from a Papyrus plant. Pretty cool stuff. It was so neat to see all the authentic Egyptian symbols and paintings on real papyrus. (I may or may not have bought a couple to bring home....)
Valorie and I trying to squish the papyrus plant
Wow! What a day! We also went to Memphis (the original capital of Ancient Egypt) and by the end we were exhausted. But oh no no, our day was not over yet. We left the majority of our stuff in Cairo, packed one small backpack, and hopped on a plane to fly over to Luxor for a few days. It was pretty exciting. Let me just say, Egyptian airport security- not too particular. In fact, they never even checked the names on our tickets once, so I flew as "Alisha Anderson." It was an awesome flight.
Me and Elyse SO excited to fly Egyptianair. Woot woot! Don't mind that we look like we're about to fall asleep. It was a long day.
So once we got to Luxor, we went straight to our hotel, which was a HEAVEN ON EARTH!! The Sheraton gets two thumbs way up from me! Seriously, I didn't even realize how beautiful it was until the next morning when we woke up and realized where we were and what we overlooked! This was the view from where we ate breakfast. It doesn't even do it justice AT ALL, but that is our swimming pool, overlooking the Nile River. Wow. So beautiful. Luxor was a beautiful experience altogether. But that post is for Day 4.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Friday, February 6, 2009
After hitting Egypt, we still had to drive for a bit to get to Cairo. Don't you worry, we found ways to entertain ourselves on the bus. It was a 7-day party. We finally got to our hotel that night, which happened to be located RIGHT BY THE PYRAMIDS! This was our very first glimpse of the pyramids. Unreal. My eyes wouldn't believe it. I kept having the feeling that I was just on the strip in Las Vegas, looking across the city at the Luxor hotel. So surreal!
Funny story: When we got to the hotel, we soon learned that all these people wanted to cater to our every need because they really want our group to come back again. So when they found out we were looking for something to do, the hotel offered to put on some "American music," and host a dance party. Well, the problem is they don't really have a room for stuff like that. So they set it up in the front lobby of the hotel. Bahaha, fifteen minutes later, you walk into the hotel and you just see 50 American kids jumping up and down and singing their hearts out. In the front lobby! It was SO funny. All these Asian tourists (Alisa, I think one of them said he was your cousin) congregated in the front doorway of the hotel, and just stared at us. Eventually, they whipped out their cameras and were taking pictures up the wazoo. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a video on youtube of American kids going crazy in Egypt. But the management of the hotel was right there being entertained right along with them, so I guess it was okay.