Thursday, 3 July 2008

Valley of the Kings (and other random titbits)



The flight from Gatwick to Luxor was relatively run of the mill. We were met by our guides at the airport and ferried to the boat in two coaches, which was to be the arrangement for the rest of the week. We were subsequently split into two groups according to cabin number and assigned to an Egyptologist/Guide for the week.

We had Ayman in our coach to the boat, and he later turned out to be our assigned Guide. As he welcomed us to Egypt and gave us a run down of what would happen once we got on to the boat, he mentioned his colleague’s name was, Osama (I’ll let you create your own jokes). That's a picture of Ayman. It's not a good one, actually. He's more like an Egyptian Ben Affleck look-a-like in real life. Osama threatened to smash my camera if i photographed him.

After we’d settled in, we went up to dinner. The tables seated 6s and 4s. We ended up on a table of 6, and we were told to stick to the same table for the duration. Our table companions turned out to be a couple, Dave and Diane, from a small village in Northamptonshire, and Sharon and Davinda, East African Asian sisters.

The food was quite good. Lots of fish (surprise, surprise), but also beef, chicken, lamb etc. The food labels were a constant source of amusement, as for example, Carved Lamb was once labelled as Craved Lamp.

Each night, in the reception, they put up our itinerary for the following day on the notice board. We had early starts each day in order to beat the sun, nevertheless it was relentless. The temperature ranged between 44 – 47 degrees Celsius throughout the trip! My bottom lip used to be pink; it’s now the same colour as the top lip. I’m still not sure how I feel about that.

Before going in to each meal, we had to ‘purify our hands’ i.e. use the anti-bacterial hand gel from the dispenser outside the dining room. I once tried to slip past without complying, but I was summarily bounced back by the Head Waiter. I later began to refer to this as the purification ritual as we would all form an orderly line and approach the dispenser on our way in to meals.

Valley of the Kings

Our first excursion consisted of a trip to the Valley of the Kings (every time someone said Valley of the Kings for some reason, I would hear dramatic music in my head as in dun, dun, duuuunnnnnnnnnnnn), Valley of the Queens and Hatshepsut’s Temple, taking in the Colossi of Memnon – the guardians of the Valley- first.

The next stop was Valley of the Queens. The Ancient Egyptians apparently cared more about the after life than the present, and so they would prepare their tombs and amass great treasures throughout their lives so they could use them in the after life. Due to Tomb Robbers (tomb raiders, I guess), the Pharoahs began to move their tombs to harder to access places such as the west bank of the Nile in Luxor which borders the Sahara desert. This didn’t help much as, the tombs continued to get raided. The main reason the tomb of Tutankhamen and Tutankhamen himself is so famous is because his was one of only 3 to be discovered with all the treasures intact.

His tomb in the Valley of the Kings (dun, dun, duuuunnn) contains his mummy, but the treasures have been moved to a museum in Cairo. The entry ticket to the Valley of the Kings (dun, dun, duuunnnn) gives you access to 3 out of the 62 odd tombs, but there is an additional fee to see King Tut’s tomb. We chose not to (not because we’re cheap, I hasten to add!) but because it was very hot and would have involved a walk back to the gate to get a ticket and then back again.

Ayman sat us down for a talk about the Valley, and the Kings etc. Very interesting, you can watch and listen here. You can see he’s very passionate and knowledgeable about his subject. Whilst cameras are allowed through the gates, video cameras are prohibited in the Valley of the Kings (dun, dun......yeah, ok its getting old now), you have to leave them at the gate, presumably because recording moving pictures is not allowed. I completely forgot as I filmed this (besides, they should know that most digital cameras these days have a recording function) and Ayman didn’t say anything although I caught him giving me looks to say ‘oi, you’re not meant to be doing that’. I played dumb, and continued filming him, but finally gave in after about 10mins.

After the Valleys (Kings and Queens) we made a stop at Hatshepsut’s Temple. Hatshepsut, was the wife of Tutmose II. When he died, she co-ruled with her step-son because of his age, but later muscled him out and assumed the throne on her own. She faced lots of challenges along the way and to gain acceptance, she started to dress as the male rulers did with the kilt and headdress and a false beard. Her statues also represent her as a man. She also claimed divine lineage i.e. Amun-Re impregnated her mother who then gave birth to her.

She ruled for about 20 years, during which there were no wars at all (hmmm, i wonder why?). After her death, the step-son finally ascended the throne. He hated her so much for what she had done to him that he then proceeded to destroy and deface all her statutes across the land, and tear down buildings, temples and obelisks she'd erected.

************
Next up...
Baba Gropers

18 comments:

Shubby Doo said...

1st...

Shubby Doo said...

Ok…what is up with the dates of your posts? (3rd july ke?)…

Anyway…lol @ another Osama threatening violence - albeit to your camera (I can’t believe I just said that!!!).

Also lol @ at your lip colour…

tut tut my dear… not partaking in the ritual to purify your hands before your meal… UCS, for such antics I deem you ‘a non-conforming herectic’!!! :-)

Didn’t Hatshepsut marry her half-brother when their father die and assume the position of great royal wife?… stepson? thought Thutmose III was her nephew… guess stepson could be still be nephew. Not surprised he tried to write her out of history it was the Egyptian way.

I love Hatshepsut’s legacy sha…21 years of peace… we are natural nurturers… ok so where am I going with this…maybe a woman in charge (I guess maybe with fila and wearing agbada) is possibly what Nigeria needs!!!

UndaCovaSista said...

@shubby - to answer your question, Hathshepsut married Tutmose II, who was her half brother. Tutmose III was Tutmose II's son from a mistress/other wife, so step-son if you look at it from a 'son of her husband' point of view and nephew (ish) if you look at it from a son of her half-brother point of view...

Lol@ a fila and agbada wearing female president! Wouldnt that be something!

UndaCovaSista said...

@shubby - oh yeah, and i began composing the post on the 3rd.

bumight said...

The Ancient Egyptians apparently cared more about the after life than the present

so very true.

don't all (or at least most) egyptian pharoahs try to write out their predecessors?

I'm glad u could take the picture u took. any more pics?

Jaycee said...

I saw the story of Hatshepsut and the ancient Egyptian Pharoahs on Discovery channel...since then I've been wanting to visit...

Thanks for ur summary. Loll @ videoing a 10-min clip nonetheless! And yeah, the purification ritual story is funny...so they had a bouncer who ensured u did it by all means? Wow...at least that would prevent more people from falling sick during the trip I guess...

Your trip is making me long for Egypt...lol.

kay-shawn said...

Really nice pix from Egypt. Would really be nice if you had a better picture of the Ben Affleck look-alike guide or what d'ya think?

Naapali said...

power struggles within families are the most vicious. The story of Hatshepsut reminds me of the the book Empress by Shan Sa.

naijalines said...

You make me want to visit Egypt right now. Looking 4wd to Baba Gropas... on your blog of course. Ph-ew!

Naapali said...

@ UCS
Reading this and all your previous posts just confirms to me that you are one of the effikoest boffins in this blogville and that is no small thing. See how you have turned your vacation into a scholarly disquisition on ancient Egypt. It is not like you need the encouragement of that other egghead shubby doo.

@ Naijalines
- hmmm are you sure your interest is limited to cyber Gropas?

kay-shawn said...

Hiya, there’s an interesting debate on my blog. Your contribution will be highly appreciated. Thanks.

Shubby Doo said...

@Naapali...na me you come call egghead = anti-intellectual epithet = spurious intellectual pretensions = too out-of-touch with ordinary people...

haba, why bring me into this?

Fine...Doc...gloves are off...get ready to roll with the punches cos we fighting!

UndaCovaSista said...

@naapali - Oh puh-leeeeeese!!! That transference ish aint gon' work with me
YOU'RE the biggest boffin of them all. Full stop!!

UndaCovaSista said...

@Bumight - More pics to come soon...

@Jaycee - what can i say? There's always one who's got to try and see if they can get away with things (usually it's me...Lol!)
Once again, congratulations on your engagement! you go girl!!

@Kay-shawn - Thanks. I'm sure i can dig out a more flattering picture. watch this space...and thanks for stopping. Will go over and check out the debate asap.

@naapali - True words...

@Naijalines - nice save. Lol!

30+ said...

So that is the story of Hatshesput, if only...

UCS you are boffin and should flaunt it with pride - lol

Got your comment about blogville idol, dunno why jare even I had to leave comments without signing in.

Abeg can you get back to me on how I am suppose to pronounce genre o.

I am kind of looking forward to the baba gropers and at the same time wondering why I am looking forward to it - lol

UndaCovaSista said...

@30+ - ok, i will wear it with pride cos you said so :). The baba gropers post is being composed as we speak.
Tried to email you , but alas no email address on ya blog. I'll go over there and answer your question on genre

naijalines said...

@ NAAPALI

Don't worry, I will get you. I won't say pound of flesh lest you find another stick for that. Let's just say I have your number... figuratively speaking of course!

And your teasing is just going to make my 'revenge' worse :)

guerreiranigeriana said...

...so osama wanted to smash the camera if you photographed him...why?...that bit tickles me to no end...don't ask why...

...and your not knowing how to feel about your changed lip color is toooo funny...shei you want to kill me...

...and i so feel you on the women rulers=no war/peace...