It’s Just Like Eat N Park, Only Better…

OK, maybe Eat N Park isn’t your place, but I know that somewhere, sometime, you have bellied up to a buffet at some restaurant and thought, “Wow…there’s so much food and so little belly in which to squeeze it.”  You know, there are just more things to eat than there is time and energy to eat it.

If you know that feeling, then you know how Ariel and felt when we were given a full day and a half to explore Luxor, Egypt.  Luxor, as our guide was quick to point out, is home to 1/3 of all of the monuments in the entire world.  Again, there may be some who might want to argue that statistic, but the same guide says that it’s home to half of all the monuments in Egypt.  The temples, statues, tombs, and monuments grow like weeds here in this ancient city which, when known as Thebes, ruled not only Egypt, but the world.  We focused our time and energy on a few places: the Temple of Edfu, the second-largest temple in Egypt and one of the most well-preserved.  It’s dedicated to the god Horus, who has the body of a man and the head of a falcon.

We also spent time at the great temple of Karnak, considered to be the largest religious structure ever built.  It was built to honor the god Amun and establish his primacy in Egyptian mythology.

The great Temple of Luxor is connected to the Karnak temple and was used for a variety of experiences.  We enjoyed seeing it as it is one of the few edifices open after dark (and thus enjoyable when the heat of the sun is at least diminished – it is about 100 degrees every day, and not a whisper of a cloud.

We also enjoyed visiting the Valley of the Kings (no photos allowed!), the Burial Temple of Hatshepsut, and the Tombs of the Workers who were charged, for 400 years, with carving out the tombs that comprise the “City of the Dead” that is on the west bank of the Nile River.

We can either lament the fact that we couldn’t see it all…or savor the opportunity to have seen some of it.  To that end, we share some images in the hopes that you will celebrate with us this opportunity of a lifetime.

Ariel examines a wall of hieroglyphics at the Temple of Edfu.

We couldn't get the plaza of Edfu temple in one shot. It's huge!

Well, it looks like Ramses II wasn't content with building the Temple of Luxor, he wanted to make it onto the Blog, too! Congratulations, Big Guy!

"When in Rome..." So here we are at the Temple of Hatshepsut, assuming the position of a dead King bound for the afterlife...

So there’s one more story, at least, from Luxor.  The preamble: “fast” and “food” do not go together in this culture.  At all.  It has taken an hour or more from the time we order to the time we see our first food in most places.  So on Saturday, the group of us was sitting in the New Mish Mish cafe, waiting for our schewerma to come, and we saw a horse-drawn cart parked outside for at least half an hour.  We wondered why in the world this cart, pulled by a large draft horse and a diminutive donkey, would be parked in the middle of the street.  Finally, I noticed that the team had gotten the first wheel of the cart over a speed bump in the road, but then it had to stop and the beasts simply were unable to either pull it forward or back it up.  There was a stack of timber on this cart at least six feet high.

So we decided to lend some international aid to the situation.  The cart driver was surprised when a couple Americans, several Australians, a Canadian and a German trooped out of the restaurant and got behind the cart and pushed.  I don’t know how happy the horse and mule were, but the merchant was thrilled to be on his way again…and we got a story to tell.

This Mutt and Jeff team with its wagon was blocking traffic for half an hour until we helped them over a bump in the road. Score one for International friendships!

Here’s hoping you have a story or two of your own today!

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