Star Date: November 2015
Hello Dear Family & Friends!
Wa alekum es
"If you don't
become the ocean - you will be sea sick your whole life."
Tomb Raiders! Driving north of Luxor we had a wild adventure searching out obscure symbols and hidden corners in the magnificent, yet seldom visited, Temples of Dendara then Abydos. Joseph and I have read numerous books and articles and watched endless documentaries on the Secrets of Ancient Egypt. Well prepared and with the personal notes of our new friend, Reynor from Iceland, a fellow crazy travel person, we set off in great excitement. Buzzing as we entered the temple gates, virtually alone which was relief, we began to unravel the mysteries of this enigmatic place. With ease we found the chamber in the back which contained the replica of the 'zodiac stone' on the ceiling. Unfortunately the original remains in the Louvre in Paris, where I also saw their Egyptian Exhibit. All twelve sign of the zodiac are pictured, as seen in the days of Pharaohs. As was the case when one group is conquered by another often the temples are destroyed by the new kids on the block. Many of the temples had the noses, faces or symbols hammered away, replaced by the new artistry. First Egyptian temples were defaced by Muslims, then wiped clear by Christians only to later be altered by Muslims and on and on. Tap,tap, tap, history marched on. Luckily the Egyptians were such prolific craftsmen it was virtually impossible to wipe them out. Next we went in search of the "Dendara Light". Covering most of the chambers we resorted to flashing a dollar in front of one of the guards and pantomiming the big light bulb. Awwh! Around first one corner then the next we were led to the back where a locked chicken wire trap door revealed a set of feeble stairs. Down we climbed with our tiny travel light shining. At first we thought, "What if he slams the door shut and locks us down here? Fear has no place in the hearts of Tomb Raiders! Like "Camera Hunters' we simply had to get the shot. At the bottom of the stairs we had to crawl through a narrow dank, dark passage on our bellies. Fear crept back in. "Egypt has earthquakes, what if we get entombed down here?" Being a slight bit claustrophobic, it was a real concern. Once again we brushed the fear aside and pushed on. The passageway opened up and we found ourselves standing in a small chamber with several of the infamous large light bulb devices displayed in the carvings. Now this is seriously cool! We were in our element, smack dab in the center of one of the mysteries of ancient Egypt. We love the fringe, grey areas of life. Black and white gets boring after a while and it is in-between where things get interesting. Just read Forbidden Archeology or Childres', Hidden History of the Human Race for a glimpse into mankind's unwritten history, revealed by discovered then destroyed or hidden relics that don't conform to the status quo history taught and swallowed unquestioningly. Also watch on youtube: The Mysterious Origins of Man. Travelling while thinking outside the box reveals a whole new world of possibilities. We have seen pyramids around the planet, mummies in Northern China, heard stories and myths of aliens or 'the ugly ones' or 'nagas' in Australia and on the border of Tajikistan and seen stone walls with blocks so big modern technology couldn't move them, let alone place them together in such precision. You decide. There are always a million naysayers in life. That's the easy route. Research, question, decide for yourself before slipping back in conformity. Changes have been made in history by so called 'fringe' open thinkers. The world is counting on you.
The Dendara light is one such occurrence. And we were standing in front of it!! Due to lack of lighting, most temples have been blackened by lampblack from torches. Mirrors used for lighting in places could not reach a hidden chamber such as this. And so the large tube like light bulb is displayed. Was it really a form of ancient electricity?
Next we crawled back up to fresh air and went in search of the Temple of Isis. There in the back, far left corner up on a wall, was another carving of the light bulb. We later discovered 6 or 7 hidden away in back chambers. An image of Cleopatra was carved on the back of the temples main walls. Beside the dry sacred lake, or ritual pool we once again became "Tomb Raiders" and crawled down a long slanting underground passage leading to a fresh underground pool. There we paused to splash our hot dusty faces with the sweet cool waters of Dander's underworld. Quite an adventure!
Pictures 'bagged' we entered Abydos Temple, an hour down the road. We were greeted at the entrance of the Temple by a journalist who begged to take our photos enjoying the site. We later heard our pictures made front page of the Newspaper Al Ahiran. Would have been fun to see the article. When entering Abydos, up and to the left lies another fun mystery of the ancient Egyptian world. Clearly carved in great detail are a helicopter, a 'tank' of some sort and an airplane. Gawking in amazement we were happy to have found another prize. Working our way around the temple we were followed by a young man in a pink shirt. Thinking he was yet another 'wanna be' guide looking for a few bucks we finally turned and said politely but firmly, "We don't need a guide, Thank you!" - which is the only course to take in Egypt, with their swarms of mosquito like touts. As he turned to fade into the shadows I noticed a gun in the waist line of his pants. He followed us at a distance to the outside Osireion. Here the carving of the 'Flower of Life' is on one of the main pillars just before the water enveloped this special temple. It was here where an Englishwoman, Dorothy Eady, claiming to be an incarnation of a temple priestess and lover of Seti lived for 35 years, performing rituals until her recent death.
The mystery of the lone gunman unraveled as we got into our jeep. Military and policemen surrounded the vehicle and told our driver which route to take to Sohaj. We were tailed by two trucks, two guys in front and four in the back with machine guns. They would speed ahead and try to control our speed. They were getting quite annoying and Joseph told them to hang further behind. When we arrived in Sohaj we were met by another car of the local police department and they accompanied us to the train station. All tickets to Cairo were sold out for 3 days but a young man walked in and offered me 2 seats on the next morning's train. Things like this happen to us all the time. Life just opens up if we allow it! The police car led us to look at a couple of hotels, one too skuzzy and the other too expensive. The third one was 'just right', across the tracks and in a perfect little neighborhood. Once we were registered the police escort clowns left us alone. We wandered around the souq or market of our hotel's back streets and absolutely loved it. Everyone was out either buying fruits and vegetables, eating in small cafes or smoking 'sheeshas' (water pipes) and drinking coffee. We saw our driver by chance and shared a 'chai'or tea with him. If we hadn't scored those tickets we would have definitely stayed another night. Walking along the narrow alleys we tried to buy vegetables for a salad on the train but everyone kept giving us the cucumbers or tomatoes for free. Yah, a real bunch of Muslim terrorists! Stay away from CNN. Forget about the played and replayed incidents of a small percentage of CRIMINALS! Travel to see the truth.
The next morning we headed down the stairs towards the train station. Standing at the bottom of steep stairs were 2 policemen in camouflage fatigues trying to act inconspicuous. We spotted them and decided that heh, if they are going to trail us today we'll ask them to carry our suitcases up the stairs. Shocked they said, "Well ok, I guess so", or something like that in Arabic. Surprise of surprises we found them 4 seats back in our car on the train. Whenever we left the car to go to the bathroom or look out the open door between carriages one of our 'trails' would follow us. We did things like open the bathroom door suddenly and say, 'Boo' or make spy glasses with our fingers and survey them for a while. We did get them laughing a couple of times. Getting off the train in Cairo we were 'trailed' until we left the exit and hit the taxis in the madhouse of Cairo traffic. We turned around and they had disappeared. All of a sudden we felt abandoned and a bit sad and alone. The task, it seems of the police and military in that central region, is to see foreigners safely out of their jurisdiction. Good job guys, we would never have suspected!
A month of unity for the 1.6 billion Muslims of the world. It is
considered the holiest month (9th lunar month) of the Islamic
calendar and is a time of chanting, fasting, charity, good deeds and
settling debts. During this month, in 610AD, Allah sent the
Angel Gabriel to deliver the verses of the holy
book, Quran, to the
prophet Mohammed. Islam concerns the religion of Islam and its
adherents, Muslims. "
Muslims fast from dawn until dusk, abstaining from all food, drinking, smoking or sex. This is a challenge in a hot climate when most people close shops early and rest. Traditionally the fast is broken with dates, as did the prophet Mohammad. This was followed by a simple meal, which has expanded into a feast. At the beginning of Ramadan 'iftar' or 'break- fast' is eaten with the extended family and is a time of forgiveness and love and an opportunity to solve family conflicts and disagreements with friends. Lamps 'fawanees' and lights are lit and the town dons a festive ambiance. Many lamps are the craft of the 'lamp makers' and some date back hundreds of years. Voices high in minarets announce the setting of the sun and the time to break fast. In Cairo, before the explosion of loudspeakers they started firing a loud cannon, decades ago, to mark the long awaited time. People eat until they pop and smoke up a storm while loudly socializing half the night. About 3:30 the Mesaharaty walks the streets pounding a small drum waking people to eat before the dawn call to prayer, 'fajir'.
A wonderful tradition of generosity in Egypt is to line the streets at dusk with tables full of food and fruits and drinks and anyone is invited to join in for free food. Poor people are the first to sit down and when full anyone is invited. We were even invited up to a rooftop in the bazaar Kan al Kahlili to sit on mats and share in rice and vegetable stew as the sun set. Just another way the Muslims of the Egypt and the world make you feel Welcome!
Love, Light & Laughter,
1 US Dollar equals 7.63 Egyptian pounds
Recent email from our readers: These emails keep us going!
Joseph and Nancy,
I thought I would be sad that I can no longer travel the world, until I met you. I have a wonderful time following your travels, especially the heartwarming stories. It feels like I have not seen such gorgeous photography even in National Geographic, which was my favorite 'escape '.
Dear Joseph and Nancy,
AlohaFirst, I am sad that keeping up the travel log is becoming burdensome. Your fabulous ability to befriend others is so important especially now that we are being inundated with the media getting us to fear and hate Muslims. Your travel log is a PRICELESS learning experience of how to drop your bias and fear of anyone who is different from you.
Here, in Stillwater, Oklahoma, we have many foreign students. It hurts me to see our citizens avoid them because they look or dress differently. I thought of you and your ease with strangers in (of all places). Freddie's Egg last week. The place was full, we were next in line and the only table empty was a large one. I turned to the next in line (a couple and their baby) and said, "We will not take that big table by ourselves. Will you will have breakfast with us?" Their eyes lit up as they said, " Yes, yes, yes"! We had a ball. We chatted took pictures and the adorable baby was passed around. I was aware that this was a blessed event.
It was only after we were home I realized that this is exactly what Nancy and Joseph would have done without a second thought. They were Muslim.
You both are Earth Angles. You two are proof there is no mystery or secret to life. Just be nice to people you meet. It's very simple, uncomplicated.