On the second afternoon our ship finally set sail. It’s amazing how the captains of these vessels maneuver them around each other. The lobbies of the ships are all mid deck, with doors opposite each other. The ships can be all tethered together, as many as 5 deep. To get off your boat you pass through the lobby of every boat, until the skinny, wooden gang plank is reached, pearched precariously on the edge of the vertically slanted wall used to climb to the sidewalk. Our boat was against the wall of a series of three other boats tied together, and we would be the first leaving. All the boats untied, drove out into the river Nile, and rearranged, before tying all back together again, with us in the furthest position out. Quite fun.
Sailing up the Nile showed how life would fail to exist without this “River of Life” to sustain it. A swath on either side is green with crops or has some type of structure on it. Past the green, the Red Sea to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the west, some 5,000 miles away, across the Sahara Desert. A law has just been passed that there cannot be another structure built along the entire length of the Nile. The land must be preserved for agriculture.
As a sidebar, I should tell you about the “typical” American tourists we encountered. It was a couple, our age, enjoying traveling, on tours. They go to the big cities and tourists sights as guides shelter them and whisk them from place to place. Their views were very narrow, American, if you will. They were loud, demanding and disrespectful. We were placed with them as they were the only other foreigners on the boat. It was terribly boring and annoying talking with them, and I don’t hide that well. Their demanding nature and others insistence that we needed a guide really annoyed me. I like to travel in my own way, and experience the people, and the stupidity that so often accompanies me. I learn, and move on. Anyway, end of rant.
The first stop along the way was at the Temple of Kom Ombo. It is an unusual double temple constructed during the Ptolemaic Dynasty. The double meaning is it was dedicated to two gods. The southern half of the temple was dedicated to the crocodile god Sobek, the god of fertility and the creator of the world with Hathor and Khonsu. The northern part of the temple was dedicated to the falcon god Haroeris, along with Tasenetnofret and Panebtamy. The temple is perfectly symmetrical along it’s main axis. There is also a crocodile museum on site with mummified crocodiles. We were singled out as Americans by a security guard with a machine gun and given a “free tour”. It was good, but of course ” tourism is down and I have a family, three children and a baby, give to me from your heart”. 🤑 The Egyptians are so kind it’s difficult to be rude. I am exhausted from this constant barrage of kindness, it take away from the experience. (See the next blog from Luxor).
That night our boat docked in Edfu. In the morning we would be exploring the Temple of Edfu. We disembarked from the boat and hopped in the first carriage we saw, with Maher, the crazy one. He pushed his poor horse through the streets heading for our destination. At times he would be standing and yelling at other in carriages on the street, yelling words of kindness and friendship. Yelling “I Love America!”, (and the naive, rich American tourists so willing to part with their money). He didn’t really say that, but you get the idea. We finally made it to the Temple of Edfu, one of the best preserved shrines in Egypt. The temp!e is dedicated to Horus and Hathor of Dendera and was built between 237 and 57 BC. The inscriptions on the wall provide information on language, myth and religion during the Hellenistic period in Egypt. The temple fell into disuse following Theodosius I’s persecution of the pagans and edict banning non-Christian worship within the Roman empire in 391. Over the centuries the temple was buried under 39 feet of drifting sand until being rediscovered in 1798.
Our trip back was just as crazy. Our driver would yell ” America”, to which my response would be “Egypt”, all,of course, yelled at the top of our lungs. Needless to say, it was fun, but in the end he wanted more money for his family and poor horse to be able to eat. It never ends.
After leaving we sailed on to Luxor where, in the morning, we would depart for another great temple.
Cheers, and beer for the horses,