>Pharaonic Jouneys part 2!

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Hey folks, sorry for the delay but Ive been putting this off since I havent had a chance (read: been too frikkin lazy!) to upload my pictures from my camera and most of this stuff is just not the same if there isnt some form of illusration to go along with it!
Day 2:
Now day 2 began nice and relaxedly, but as is my luck when I’m travelling, that didn’t last too long…
After a nice breakfast I headed out to the Cairo Museum, a place I’ve long wanted to have the time to inspect in depth, and reached there amidst a crowd the likes of which I haven’t seen at concerts! Anyhow, somehow I managed to muscle my way through the throngs and gain entry only to be told “No photography allowed inside” and there and then I felt totally deflated.. All this stuff and no chance to take a few memento shots of the stuff that catches my fancy? What a horrid turn of events… (but I did manage to very discreetly take a couple of snaps, and this is one of them of an open court in one of the wings)
So then I made my way around the place and felt like jumping on the giant stone pharaohs lap and shouting, “I’m home!!” but I restrained myself, had I not you would have read front page news of the crazed Indian guy who was arrested for public lewdness” (or some such charge!) Now I should make it clear to anyone who reads this, that if you’re planning to see the Cairo museum and you are an Egypt-ophile like myself, make sure you have at least one full day for this, otherwise you’re either gonna miss something or you’re gonna be disappointed.
Moving along, moving along… I spent the next few hours doing my best to see everything and struggling to make sure I didn’t miss anything. There was so much to see!
I was in awe of the ancient sarcophagi of the nobility and more common folk (which had the faces painted on instead of carved as is more commonly known, for those that don’t know this, they always put a rendition of the face on the body because the believed that the spirit would fly around confused for a time and would eventually fly back to the body and only by seeing the death mask could it remember what it was and move on to the next world.
Then there were all the mummies (of course!) of priests, kings and queens and its amazing the condition that they’re in even after all these millennia! There was even a section where they had the mummies of animals like cats, crocs (sacred animal of the Nile, incarnation of Sobek, croc headed deity) and birds among others. There were gorgeous examples of the levels of skill that they ancients possessed when you saw the artwork, the jewellery, the pottery, the weavings, the samples of the ceiling art and the statues they had brought here for preservation, it was spectacular in a way that words cannot describe! The one that totally blew me away was when we went to the Tutankamun (King Tut to the uninitiated!) and saw his burial chamber artefacts. Most of the tombs have been plundered long ago and there was little, if any, idea as to what exactly went into them, but Tut, though an unimportant person historically – became so renowned because his had remained hidden and was thus found intact! The gold, the artwork, the sheer magnificence of it makes you speechless…
One major misconception that folk have is that the Egyptians were obsessed with death. This is untrue; they were more concerned with, well, the next life.. This life was just a short journey, one where we were tried and tested and when it was over, we went to the next one where the god Osiris (if you want to know the Osiris story, and its really good! lemme know in the comments, Ill post it before the next episode) waits in judgement and then Anubis (who wasn’t actually evil, in fact he was the gatekeeper of the dead, looked after us on our way) would put our hearts on the scales and weigh them against a feather. This was a test of whether you had lived a good, pure and just life or an evil and corrupt one, and if you failed, then well lets just say that you were in for hell…
After leaving the museum, and my jaw, behind the next stop was the Coptic Christian section of town. Now Coptic basically meant Egyptian, so it refers to “Egyptian Christians”. They’ve built many churches in this particular section of Cairo, and for those that have been to ancient churches, well there’s nothing spectacularly new, but they have that certain… air, to them.. You see them and you see the pains that were taken to build some of them and the love behind it and you cant help but be moved some. In one particular place I came across (surprise!) a whole lot of ancient Greco-Roman sculpture from Aphrodite to Hercules and some in remarkable condition!
The thing that struck me most though, was when I saw the window and ceiling woodwork in some of these places. It reminded me so much of the work that you see in Kashmir right here in India, that you’d almost swear it was a replica. In point of fact, this simply shows the impact of the spread of Islam and all the things it carried with it. The workmanship was breathtaking, tiny wood tiles and pieces held together perfectly, even all these centuries later and not a drop of glue or a single nail anywhere, simply like a perfect jigsaw puzzle!! One Church in particular was unique, called the floating church, because it was built on a set of giant stone columns, which can still be seen through the floor in certain sections. As a bit of trivia: all these churches had secret hatches for the persecuted Christians to run for when there were raids, and there was a special one built which had no exit, but was meant for the priest to go in and hide while he finished the sermon. Now that’s faith!! We don’t know what it means anymore…
After all this hectic running around, there was a short spurt of rest (and a couple of beers!) after which we headed to the Pyramids of Giza to catch the laser light show. The sight of the sunset behind the great 3 and the Sphinx was awesome and I think I would have been happy with just that even if the show got cancelled… While we all waited, this American looking couple were trying to take pictures, the guy kinda lounged on his chair and was directing his girlfriend (just guessing) to do idiot things like put her finger so she’s touching the tip of a pyramid, or holding it in her palm, or kissing the Sphinx… me and these 4 American ladies just behind me were in splits as we made fun of them and then as the girl went to sit down, I told her to keep going, it was more fun then the laser show! Which of course cracked everyone up some more! The show itself was nice, pleasant if you will, but had a very strongly touristy feel to it… it was informative about the pyramids in the sense of history, dimensions and scale and all that which is great! … if you don’t already know it… But on the whole it was entertaining and even though my damned battery started to die on me, I got a couple of decent shots in the dark (wasn’t easy to make the appropriate settings btw!).

All in all, a grand day!
Till next time!
Cheers…
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16 Comments Add yours

  1. Anonymous says:

    >sounds like a nice holiday. how did king tut get back to this museum, didn’t he bring bad luck to every vessel he was transported on? to every archaeologist who dealt with his excavation and blah? those are the stories i love the most. hobowati.

  2. The Dude says:

    >Hey folks, as promised, Im adding today the pictures to go with this and now that theyre all uploaded, will have no such problems in future!hobowati-ji:well first off, thanks, yes it was very nice!As far as tut getting to the museum, I dont think it was all that hard! Im sorry to be the bearer of bad news (i feel like the guy who tells the kids theres no santa!) but though there were some…unfortunate incidents at that time, there doesnt appear to be any curse on his tomb, at least not anymore…Cheers…

  3. priya says:

    >Looks like a great trip and narrated so well.

  4. The Dude says:

    >Thank you! 🙂

  5. >Lovely pictures…now You’ve made me over-plan my next month. How do we hold you accountable for that? Hehehe

  6. nAl says:

    >That was a lovely write up of what sounds like a mind blowing experience. Looking forward to more pictures. Oh, and thanks for linking me on your blog. 🙂

  7. The Dude says:

    >lostlittlegirl:thanks, well if it helps any, I can give you advice to make sure those plans are as good as possible? :)nal:it was a really amazing experience for me, and this is just within the cairo sphere.. there are so many pictures its almost impossible to choose!!!and youre most welcome for the link, I simply link to what i enjoy reading myself..Cheers…

  8. Renovatio says:

    >No, I refuse to acknowledge it was well narrated, you’ll just have to give us more… More more more!

  9. The Dude says:

    >renovatio:aw cmon! admit it!! ok.. admit and ill write in more AND throw in a couple of extra shots next time! hows that?

  10. mahima says:

    >lucky bastard

  11. Ruchika says:

    >Wow, this is completely awesome that u got to go to Egypt!! Its my life’s dream to go there to see the Pyramids and the amazing history behing such a great civilisation.. Your words really put life into the place, making it easy to imagine.. must say I’m very impressed with the amount of knowledge, little trivia, you have gathered about all the places you visited! Cool! And what you said about keeping one whole day for Cairo museum reminded me of the Louvre museum in Paris, where I went and spent the whole day, and still couldn’t see everything! P.S Is Greg Rucka good?

  12. The Dude says:

    >Ruchika:yeah, its always been one of the places i wanted to see more then anything else.. and it was SO worth it!!!Thanks, im glad you enjoyed my writing and just so you know, the pyramids are just the tip of the iceberg! (no puns intended..)The trivia… well, actually most of thats just stuff ive read up over the years and all cos im obsessed with history and egypt in particular.. im like an encyclopaedia of arcane bits of historical factoids that most people find pointless, but i love it so who cares!Havent been to the louvre, but theyre vastly different experiences, enjoyment depending on your tastes…Well, Rucka writes well and makes for good reading, but you have to see if his choice of topics and story is your thing, not everyone does… kinda like neil gaiman, i think the guys a genius, but most people find his work too wierd…Cheers…

  13. Renovatio says:

    >Nuh uh.Not till I see the rest.And I finally answered that tag of yours. Hmph!

  14. blow says:

    >i’m actually jealous of you. hmphh.. 😛

  15. Anki says:

    >he gets to live in pondi!!!!the jealousy is killing me now :Plove the pyramids at dusk pickeep going

  16. mystic rose says:

    >egypt! am envious. 🙂

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