Thursday, August 31, 2017

Temple Of Dendera....Off The Beaten Path

Off the beaten path about an hour from the city of Luxor, is the Temple of Hathor at Dendera. Built in 1st century BC it is one of the best preserved temples in all of Egypt. Ptolemy VIII and Cleopatra II had the temple built and later Romans Emperors continued to decorate it in honor of the goddess Hathor. The complex covers some 40,000 square meters and is surrounded by a thick mud wall.

Dendera Temple Complex

Currently The Temple Is Being Cleaned So Wherever The Paint Colors Are More Vivid It Has Already Been Cleaned, A Long Painstaking Process

Cleopatra had a palace on the grounds that included 29 rooms, 10 bathrooms and even a swimming pool that was posh enough for the Queen. Hathor temple is the only one with more than one level, but the upper level was closed off some years back when an American jumped off the roof. We were even allowed to crawl down into the crypt to explore the creepy tunnels of the underground world.

Cleopatra's Swimming Pool

The Ruins of Cleopatra's Palace

This is the parking lot of this place
we are the ONLY car there

As our driver made his way out of the temple complex we passed by a police security checkpoint commonly seen throughout Egypt. The policeman and military officers chatted with the driver and guide inquiring about who they had in the back seat. When we were touring Cairo our guide there said it was much easier to tell the police that we were from Canada, as less questions would be asked. But this time we heard the driver say the word, "American," to which the police officer looked perplexed and repeated the word. The officer waved to a car behind us allowing them to pass by but kept our car on the side of the road. Clyde asked our guide, "what's going on, " and when he answered, "I don't know," we began to worry.

Our Police Escort

But a few minutes later our car was allowed to proceed, as we followed behind a pick up truck with two policeman in the back. They were each holding rifles that were pointed out the window, again a common sight here, but why were WE following in this manner?

Still concerned Clyde questioned our guide again. "Are Americans considered to be trouble and not liked in Egypt," he asked? Our guide said, "no, just the opposite." He went onto explain that we were being given a police escort to protect us, because if something happened to Americans travelling through Egypt it might hurt relations between Egypt and the US. So in other words we were being treated as royalty.

We followed the police into the nearby city of Qena where we stopped for lunch at a famous restaurant. That was the last we saw of the police as we walked into the restaurant for our meal. Our meal choices were either chicken or pigeon (yes pigeon, the bird). Each meal came with tahini and bread, salad, rice, lentil soup, cooked vegetables, a bottle of water and even pudding for dessert. It was all very tasty but messy, but not to worry since there was a hand washing station nearby.

Lunch Is Served

Salad, Served With Fresh Lime As Dressing, Rice, Lentil Soup, Flat Bread, Water, Tahini For Dipping, Cooked Vegetables To Start

Yep!  That's a pigeon! Clyde's Lunch It Was Stuffed With Rice

With full tummies we relaxed on the long ride back to Luxor in the back seat of the car. Since we are renting a house on the West Bank of the Nile we were dropped off at the National Ferryboat dock. In the midst of hundreds of robe, clad Muslims we paid our 1 Egyptian Pound (equal to 57 cents) and boarded the large ferry with plenty of bench seats. The ride across the Nile takes about ten minutes and from there we were picked up by the manager of our house with a car.

Ferry Boat To Get Across The River, Price Is 1 Egyptian Pound (57 cents each)

Another day of temple hopping, police escorts, usual tastes and ferry rides across the Nile.....along the gringo trail.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Nubian Dance Show, Belly Dancer And A Whirling Dirvish.....

During our time onboard the Nile River cruise there were a few nights of entertainment offered up for passengers. One night was a Nubian Dance show where Clyde was expecting female belly dancers. Was he ever disappointed to find a troupe of bare chested African men performing traditional dance and drum routines. While it started out interesting it ended up rather silly with passengers dragged up onto the dance floor to act silly. And since the main language onboard was Spanish this whole African number took on a Latin vibe with instructions given in Spanish. There was even a gorilla that came out to scare, entertain and cuddle up with passengers including myself. There was only one problem with this scenario. A man dressed in a furry gorilla suit with temperatures of 115 degrees creates one rather ripe and smelly ape that should have been left out in the jungle.

Nubian Dancers....All Men!

Passengers Get Dragged Onto Dance Floor

Clyde Thinks I Am Looking Starry Eyed At This Guy....NOT!

My Smelly Gorilla Friend

On the last night of the cruise dear Clyde was promised a show with a female belly dancer along with a famous whirling dervish.  Out came a pretty, young girl dressed in a lovely, red, skimpy costume who began to move to the seductive beat of the drums. Since I used to belly dance many years ago and Clyde is familiar with belly dance moves,  before long he leaned over to me and said, "she's pretty but she has no technique." True, that she was an attractive young lady who could pull off some sexy moves she was not a belly dancer.

Belly Dancer For Clyde

After she was done like a flash of lightning, in came a traditional whirling dervish, who began to twirl. A young man wearing a dress of many heavy layers, dervishes go into a trance-like state of prayer during these performances. His impressive layers of skirts contained lights that glowed in the darkness of the room and as he twirled he looked somewhat like a flying saucer or carnival ride.

Whirling Dervish In Action

The perfect ending to a wonderful, relaxing and exciting cruise along the Nile River in Egypt.....along the gringo trail.

The Temples Of Abu Simbel On The Border Of Sudan......

The only shore excursion that was NOT included in our cruise package was a trip to Abu Simbel. But everyone that had been to Egypt before us said it was a MUST SEE, so we listened and went. Located a 3-4 hour drive from the city of Aswan, it was a long day that began at 5am.

Only 8am And We Are Melting....112 Degrees So We Have Our Cooling Towels On

One Giant Foot

A Fallen Head....Notice The Ear And Nose

See The Ear

This massive temple complex was originally cut into solid rock in southern Egypt but later had to be relocated due to flooding of the Nile. A major undertaking that was organized by UNESCO, these ancient wonders would have been lost had they not been moved. Located in the village of Nubia near the border of Sudan they are situated on the western bank of Lake Nasser. They originated in the 13th century during the reign of Ramses II as a lasting monument to him and Queen Nefertari. If viewing these impressive temples was not enough just to realize that this whole complex was taken apart piece by piece, numbered and reconstructed is unbelievable.

The temple complex is SO immense it felt like we had the whole place to ourselves with few other tourists around. We roamed around for about an hour or more feeling pretty small against the massive structures. Definitely well worth the long drive and early hours of rising to witness this spectacle in the middle of the desert.

See How Huge These Are Compared To Clyde

Amazing To Think....This Whole Thing Was Relocated Here!

Our driver had us back to the boat by lunchtime, around 1pm and we wasted away the afternoon hours lazily watching the sights of the Nile float by.....along the gringo trail.

Life In Portugal....At A Snails Pace....

Yesterday was just another day in Portugal when my dear husband Clyde said he was going to run to the pharmacy for a few things. Time passed...