Thursday, 16 December 2010

Egypt Trip (Episode 5)

Day 5 Luxor (9 Nov 2010)
Valley of the Kings
Valley of the Kings is a valley where 64 of Egypt’s Pharaohs had their palatial resting places hewed into the sheer rock. They realized that the pyramids are too high profile and they shifted to the south and found this quiet spot to build their tombs.

Tombs are more important than palaces because the ancient Egyptian believe that afterlife is more important. The moment the King started to rule, he will start to build his tomb, the longer he lives, the larger is his tomb. Even up to today we still see workers trying to dig and discover new tombs in the valley.

The valley become famous with the discovery of the tomb of Tutakhamun, yong and not much achievement king, but his tomb is found complete, not robbed! We didn’t go into this one, because Isis said everything in the tomb has been moved to Egytian Museum, except the mummy. If we want to pay to see one mummy, we might as well pay to see all 22 mummies in the museum.

The entrance tickets allow us to go into any 3 of the tombs except Tutakhamun, and one of the Ramses tomb, Isis brings us to the entrance of the first tomb she recommended and give us the direction of the other two “You go straight and turn left, and you go all the way to the end” We thought it is straight forward but..

The first tomb is a small tomb well preserved (I think it is the tomb of Ramses IX, I think la..), most of the walls are covered with glasses but there is a section at the beginning where we can touch it with our own hand, drawing of thousands year old, it just so amazing to see the carving and the colours. Don’t remember any other details as no photos are allowed.

Then we go straight and turn left and we see the tomb of Thutmosis IV, it has corridor from one hall to another hall, tak habis habis.. We see his sarcophagus with nice carving inside out, we notice the egyptian are discriminating us. When they see ang moh they flash their torches to show them what is inside but when they see us, they buat tak tahu.
Ok, done with number two, as we head to the third tomb, we walked all the way to the end but we couldn’t find any tomb with a long staircase.. Luckily we bump into some of the tour members, and they told us they’ve just been to the one with long staircase.
Wow, the long staircase is really a LONG staircase, after a 5-10 minutes climb, we finally see the tomb of Thutmosis III. Too bad we didn’t bring any cameras down to the valley. You think we don’t want to? We are not allowed to! Isis told us we have to leave our camera at the counter if the security found out. Now we don’t remember much about all the things we have seen..

Temple of Queen Hatshepsut
Tour guide tell us if you can’t remember the name Hatshepsut, try to remember Hot Chicken Soup, sounds almost the same wo.. Hatshepsut is the first woman to rule Egypt and she rules as a man (we can see in all the monuments that she wears a male hair dress, male clothing, just the the Pharoah)

Hatshepsut is the daughter of a Pharoah and when the father dies, her half brother ascended to the throne. To become Pharaoh, her half brother marries Hapshepsut to keep to royal bloodline intact. But the half brother dies not long after the marriage and leaves her with a daughter and a son by another wife.

Due to the young age of the Pharaoh (her step son, Thutmosis I), Hatshepsut became his regent. They ruled together for a number of years until she proclaimed herself Pharaoh, she sends her step son to military school for training since young.

But after this step son grown up, the high priest persuaded him that he is living under the shadow of Hatshepsut and he vented his rage by sending his workmen around the land to smash her statues, demolish her monuments and erase her name.

Hatshepsut had obelisk constructed inside the temple, she claims that it took her 7 months to complete the obelisk when other kings normally take 3 years to complete.

Alabaster Factory
The workers there welcome us with very entertaining song to tell us how to differentiate real and fake alabaster, the real alabaster only has 3 colours: white, brown and green, and they will not break easily. Again all the factory visit provides us karkade drink and toilet facilities, nobody buy anything from them.
Colossi of Memnon
The Colossi of Memnon are two massive stone statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III in the middle of nowhere. Both statues are quite damaged, with the features above the waist virtually unrecognizable, yes they are huge, yes they are made of one stone, but they are not impressive. Until later we read from a book in the library that these statues were supposed to just the statues of the outer gate of a temple which is destroyed by earthquake. Imagine how it is like before the earthquake..

Esna Lock
We return to the Nile Cruise and continue sailing after dinner, Isis told us to go to the sun deck as we may see some small boats selling clothes beside the cruise. We thought it is like the floating market in Bangkok and hell no!!! We got shock of our life when we see the man on a small boat approaching our huge cruise and throw the clothing up with 100% precision, all the way to the sun deck!!

People were screaming in excitement to see that. The sellers speak very good English and Italian, if you like the clothes that they throw up, you bargain the price and you throw the money back to the rowing boat in the plastic bag they keep the cloth. We saw a table clothe that is quite nice, and they ask for 180 LE, we wanted to bargain for 50? Hmmm.. maybe we said 30 LE? They show us bad language-_-!!!

We have no idea what is Esna Lock initially, after spending half an hour at the sun deck to “witness” the whole process, we finally realize that a lock is a device for raising boats between stretches of water of different levels on the river. Our ship goes into a fixed chamber that works like a lift, then they pump in the water to rise up the water level and the ship moves to the other side of the river.

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