YAY!!! We are going on a hot air balloon trip today. Noelle is feeling better which is good because we have to get up early. We will be taking a water taxi, as usual, to get to the west bank. Here is a picture of the water taxis during the daytime. Usually, we would climb through one after the other until we got to the one we had contracted with, but,
this time, we are on a balloon tour and it’s dark so thank goodness the taxi is right at the dock! And, hey, there is breakfast!!. Look at Alexei in his jalibeya (man dress) and keffiyeh (turban). Whenever he was dressed in this local outfit, people would ask his name and he would reply, “Ismi, Macmoud.” They would always delightfully crack up. I don’t know why, but it was fun to watch.
I have wanted to go on a hot air balloon ride for a very long time. I tried to do it in Sedona, Arizona, but the wind wasn’t right and they cancelled it. This one is a go and I am like a kid…so excited!
Up, up and away we go!!!
When we went to Hatshepsut’s temple yesterday we passed a village that Alexei said had been filled with people including children on his last visit. In fact, we had brought a bunch of pens for the kids because they love receiving them. But, now the village is empty. Apparently the government is planning on creating a huge kind of “theme park” that will link the various archeological sites and so the people had to move. Here is the empty village from yesterday:
Here is another village. I am not sure if this one has people still in it.
Thank goodness for the Nile River and the irrigation channels that come from it. I am not sure what the wall is for. I don’t think it can keep out desert storms!
All too soon the ride was done. I am happy I finally got to do a balloon ride and what a great place to do it. Another check off of the ‘ol bucket list!
Next, we are going to the Valley of the Kings.
Back in the old, old days, i.e. the Old Kingdom (2000’s to 3000’s BCE), pyramids were built in which to bury the pharaohs as we shall see later in Giza. But, after the pyramids of the Old and Middle Kingdoms were plundered, the pharaohs of the New Kingdom (1500’s to 1000’s BCE), went underground in a valley on the west bank of the Nile. In 1979 the Valley of the Kings became a World Heritage Site. Over 60 tombs are here, ranging from simple pits to a complex tomb with 120 chambers. It is in this valley that the tomb of King Tutankhamun was found.
(Northern view of valley – Picture from Wikipedia
Below is a one dimensional map of the tombs.
I wish I could have taken a picture of the huge, three dimensional, map model I saw in the museum site at the V of K. It showed the tunneled corridors descending into various depths and ending in tombs and how some corridors took off of other corridors. I could really grasp the enormity of what had been accomplished by looking at this format. However, we were not allowed cameras, so all of the following pictures are from other sources. There are a lot more pictures you can see on line if you do a google search, but, they have copyrights, so I am not using them here.
(Picture of area around KV62 from Wikipedia)
(Picture of entrance to Horemheb’s tomb from Wikipedia)
(Picture by Crystalinks.com)
Not all of the tombs are open to visitors and many are open only on a rotating basis. We decided to not see King Tut’s tomb because, one, we would be seeing his stuff at the Cairo museum; and, two, the fee to his tomb was three times the amount of others. So, we decided to go to Ramses III and to Merenptah’s tombs.
As we entered Ramses’ tomb, suddenly, in my mind, a monstrous face appeared. I think it was trying to scare me. I started laughing, “Hmm, what the heck are you doing? That doesn’t scare me.” It squinted its eyes at me and then disappeared.
Noelle glanced back at me and gave me the “eye”; she knew something was going on in my head.
I don’t remember a lot about what I saw in the tomb, because the spirit kept distracting me by showing me how cool he was. He would point out various pictures of himself and his deeds and say, “See, see.”
I have only one picture from Wikipedia.
Finally, I said, “You are a dead king being remembered through decaying ruins. Is that what you want? Is that all you are?”
“What do you mean, is that all I am?”
“You’re stuck in who you used to be. Wouldn’t you like to come into present time and explore who you could be now? All this other stuff already happened. Yeah it’s cool for me to visit; but dude, you been there, you done that. Have you stopped living? I don’t think so – you are here, I am talking to you. You are still alive, but WHO ARE YOU NOW!?”
Woah, that caught his attention. He disappeared for a little bit, then returned.
“What happens if I leave here?”
“I don’t know for sure. Don’t you have your beliefs about becoming one with Osiris and Ra? Aren’t you supposed to go through a bunch of challenges and perils in the underworld, then come out on top and be immortal?”
He gave me a wry look and replied, “Well that hasn’t happened. So now what?”
“I don’t know for sure.”
“You sent Hatshepsut off into a white light.”
“No, Hatshepsut saw a white light and chose to go into it. A lot of my patients do this too; I thought it might be a Christian cultural thing, but maybe not. I don’t try to explore the afterlife too much because I want to be able to flow with my patients’ belief systems and allow Love to guide them to find Truth for themselves in their own time and in whatever way is best for them. After all, who am I? I don’t know what the Truth is. I believe in Love and I just keep following my path in Love, learning as I go, helping as I can. I do think that my self- identity as Linda is just a small part of who I really am. Linda, the “mini me” is only a character the “bigger me” is playing in this reality right now. I think that when I allow my consciousness to expand, I become the “greater me”, part of the One – the Source, and that there is no end to my beingness. It is all a matter of which viewpoint I am seeing myself from at any given moment. As I change my viewpoint from the Source, and my perspective compartmentalizes while descending through filters of beliefs and life experiences I eventually percieve life through the mind of “mini me”, Linda. Then through this character, Linda, I experience myself in a variety of relationships with all the parts of the reality I am in. Through my relationships with all, I get to explore myself, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I get to experiment with different aspects and combinations of myself to further my evolution as a creative being. It can be fun, it can be scary, but it’s all good. To me, the worse thing I could do is to get stuck trying to hold onto something that doesn’t serve my evolution now. Stuck because of fear. I have scared myself in the past – scared by what I created and then scared of how my fearful reactions created more scary stuff; but, I have since chosen to trust Love and to allow Love to guide my choices. Now I am more able to act rather than react. Now I can trust and enjoy living, exploring and expressing myself. I choose Love and when those times come that Love leads me to my next step – I take it.”
Well, that was a mouthload, Linda!
He stared at me, then got a little smile on his face. A white light appeared before us. I turned to look at it. When I looked back there he was in full regalia sitting upon a huge white horse. He yelled, the horse reared, and they charged into the light. I heard his voice floating back to me, “I will be back!”
“Well okay then.”
Hmm, that was quite the interchange. I continued to explore Ramses’ tomb and then, as we were heading out, I saw a white light off to my right. There was this hunky dude, in a T-shirt, jeans and bare feet. He smiled, “I think I’m gonna like me in this now.” Then he and the light were gone.
Oh, baby, yeah; I have no doubt you are gonna have fun!
I started laughing again and Noelle said, “Okay, who are you talking to inside that head of yours?”
I just shook my head.
We left Ramses’ tomb and headed to Merenptah’s. In my head, I heard a voice say, “So you got rid of Ramses.”
“No I didn’t. He made a choice.”
“I heard the whole thing and I saw the whole thing with Hatshepsut too.”
I stopped walking and stared at him, “Okay, so what are you going to do?”
He grinned. A white doorway appeared. He straightened his shoulders and regally went through it.
I looked around and, just like my experience at Monte Alban, little white lights shot off into the sky.
Now both Noelle and Alexei are looking at me. “What’s going on?” Noelle asks.
“They’re leaving.” I said.
Alexei said, “Linda if you send all of them away, what’s going to be left?”
“I’m not sending them, they are choosing to go.” I defended. I thought to myself, “What’s left? Beautiful ruins of historical achievments for us to learn from, admire, and enjoy.”
Such as Merenptah’s sarcophagus.
(Picture from Wikipedia)
We left the Valley of the Kings and took a water taxi back to the east bank. This time Alexei got to steer!
Next stop is the hotel and then the Luxor museum. We took a buggy ride and Alexei got to drive this too.
The museum was very cool to visit. I liked it. It was opened in 1975 and had great displays. It prides itself upon the quality of their artifacts and the uncluttered way they are displayed. But, Alexei said, “Wait until you see the museum in Cairo!”
(Picture from Wikipedia)
(Hathor – picture from Wikipedia)
We headed back via the same carriage and Alexei drove again. Noelle calls this my Mother Teresa look. Whaddya think? If only I was haf as good as she was.
I want to comment here about how much the economy is hurting due to lack of tourists. Despite our telling this carriage driver we did not want to ride back from the museum he waited almost two hours for us to finish our visit and then talked us into taking the ride again. These people are desperate for tourists. I felt it so strongly at Luxor in particular. In the Souk (markets) where we were headed to next, I could feel the desperate need to sell stuff. I have been to markets in poor places and have bought from very aggressive sellers, but, the feeling here in Luxor was different. Also, the little “baksheesh” (tip) was everywhere! With any little help a person gave to me, they expected baksheesh. One guy kept hounding us to tell him what we were looking for so he could take us to the right shops. We told him no and then ignored him as he followed us. When we did stop at a shop, he told the seller there that he had brought us and wanted baksheesh from him. Over the days I became aware of how I stopped asking for help and was even trying to not look like I might need help, because I didn’t want to deal with it. It was weird because this kind of stuff doesn’t usually bother me. It came to a head later, in Giza. Another lesson for me.
I also felt like people were not living and that they were just trying to exist. I had emailed my sister with this concern. The energy was so low. I really wanted to see people outside of the markets and in their natural home life, but, I wasn’t sure that would happen. I did see a small family reunion in the hotel lobby. Everyone was happy to see each other, but still, the energy seemed so tired.
We planned to spend the rest of the day “souking”; first though, a trip to our favorite ATM. To get there we had to go through the “tourist’s market” where we had been many times already. This time though, Noelle fell. The men all around us jumped to their feet, ready to help. One of the shopkeepers came running and offered an oil to put on her tender ankle. Embarrassed, Noelle struggled to her feet and brushed away all of the attention. I noticed the guy though. I had seen his shop many times but had never gone in. Now, I realized he was a healer and that he had some kind of healing agent he was trying to get her to use. How funny that I am just now noticing him. Nevertheless, we left in a hurry.
Noelle felt okay and thought she could still go souking. The following pictures are of the markets. There are different types of markets from those for tourists to the ones locals shop from. Pretty much anything you want you will find in the souks. A little disclaimer here – it is entirely possible I have mixed up pictures of markets from Luxor and Aswan, sorry.
Ahh, sugarcane juice, Alexei’s favorite:
Falafel and Hummus, I think:
And shawarma for me, of course!
Then there is the sheesha – the water pipe smoking. This is mostly a man thing. In fact, I don’t think I saw any woman who was not a tourist, smoking a pipe. Alexei loved to have his sheesha and tea. I tried the pipe once and inhaled- big mistake for me; I am a singer, smoking messes up my vocal chords. Thereafter no more inhaling, if I smoked at all. Noelle would smoke now and then; but mostly, we had the tea.
Well, it has been a long day. Noelle managed to souk while gimping around on her ankle. Tomorrow we head out to Karnak. So, one last sheesha ‘n tea, please.