Sunday, January 23, 2011

"Reunification!" AND Guest Commentary *** UPDATED*****

We’ve learned over and over that Upper and Lower Egypt were unified as one country long about 3100 BC – it’s referred to as “Reunification.”  Today, the Band and the Friends of the Band were “reunified” again and it feels good.   J    We missed each other!

Seems that the Friends group arrived on board the ship in time to relax and unwind a bit before dinner which was served at 8:30 p.m.   Didn’t take long and the place was empty – we had some tired Friends last night!   About 11:15, in rolled the Band, safe from their adventure seven hours north of here in the city of Asyut.  (By the way, if things go as planned, I’ll have a student review of their time there later tonight.)  They were tired as can be, but dinner was waiting for them, so “eat before you sleep” was the mantra of the night.

We "Friends" left the ship at 7:30 today, and there were no sightings of students yet.   They had a 9:30 departure so no wonder, eh?

Love this - see how the boats are docked at night?
Side by side - we walked through four boats to get to ours,
and this shows the staff washing windows in the morning.  Fun!

Ole is everywhere in Egypt!  Take THAT, Campus Safety!

Off to the “West Bank” of the Nile we drove, and about 30 minutes later, we arrived at our first stop, the beautiful Temple of Hatshepsut (pronounced “hot chicken soup” or something like that!). This monument to one of Egypt’s early queens rises from the desert in imposing fashion. The closer you get, one realizes that the decoration is not nearly as impressive as in other temples, but the setting surely cannot be beat. Near the main temple are the remains of some other rulers, and learned that early Christians turned this area into a monastery for some years. Work continues on excavating the site, and you can see many tombs being uncovered in the nearby limestone cliffs.

Here he is again, at the Temple of Hap-whatever.......

"Friends" forever, but awaiting reunification....

This might be the best picture I've ever taken.   She was trying to
sell me something, but became enamored with Ole.  "Who is this?"
she would say over and sweet, yes?

The “Valley of the Kings” was our next stop, and one of those places you hear about, but can’t imagine it until you are there. Imagine standing in the middle of South Dakota’s badlands – add a thousand feet or so (making the Badlands a bit taller) and you have an idea of what this area is like. After the pyramids were given up as the way to bury the Pharaohs, rulers chose these hills, hoping to find a way that would stop robbers from stealing priceless possessions buried with them. Well, that didn’t happen of course, but these tombs remain startlingly glorious because of the decoration and imagination of those who built them. Sixty-two tombs have been found thus far, and we visited 3 of them. (Another four people spent 100 Egyptian Pounds to enter the tomb of Tutankhamun.)

You cannot take your camera into the area of the Valley of the Kings – a good thing, I think, so that those people who insist upon using flashes can no longer ruin the artwork. That said, you can understand why we have no photos to share…..only our memories. The tombs are long and steep. The entire corridor is filled with writings and artwork, and one can see where the long-gone treasures had been stored. Colors remain in tact, and in many cases, they are quite vivid. Wonderful! 

While we Friends were off doing this tour, the students got the chance to learn more about Karnak and Luxor Temples – our tour and photos show yesterday.

Now, we are enjoying a day in the sun as we float down the Nile. THIS is living! J Enjoy the photos of people you know and love……………

How about THAT for an action shot?

Comments from Bekah Walker:

20 January 2011
After our 4:00 a.m. wake up call and flight from Cairo to Luxor, we toured sites at the Nile's West Bank.  Luxor houses nearly 50% of the arifacts in Egypt and is what our guide (Walaa) calls an "open museum" because there are artifacts everywhere.  We visted the renowned Valley of the Kings and the beautiful Temple of Queen Hatshepsut.  Thankfully then we went back to check into our hotel so we could all catch up on some sleep!

On the 21st, we left Luxor for the town of Asyut which is further north, for our visit to Assiut University.  We stopped at Abydos to visit one of the oldest necropolises in Egypt, which is reported to house the body of the god Osiris.  After out tour we continue north with a police escort - down the bumpy roads to Asyut.  We stayed that night in the University Guest House.

We performed a 1:00 concert on the 22nd at the University for an enthusiastic crowd.  Afterwards, we had a cultural exchange with some of the students there; we talked about school, music, and the cultures of our respective countries.   We also posed for what seemed to be dozens of pictures, just like the rest of our concerts.   We then hopped back on the bus for the long drive back to Luxor to board our cruise ship (the Al Jamila) for the first night of our 4-night Nile cruise.  After an 11:00 p.m. dinner (!) we all went to bed.  Here we were, finally reunited with our "Friends" group after what seemed like a terribly long separation.

Bekah Walker is a Junior English and History major from Sioux Falls.  She plays the flute and piccolo in the Augie Band and wants to bring a camel back to South Dakota.  :-)

1 comment:

  1. Zander Larson doesn't think the Red Sea is red. He would like to say hi to his Grandpa Dale and Grandma Nadine. He wants everyone to know that his grandma is the best cook in the world.