I left Houston for New York City on August 7th at 10:35am. I pick up my Mom who just turned 60 to fly to Cairo on August 10th. This trip to Egypt has been one I have longed to take for many years. About two years ago I got a fortune in a Chinese restaurant: You long to see the great pyramids in Egypt. How right they were! Below is my name in hieroglyphs.
I have read many books on Ancient Egypt in preparation for the trip:
The World of the Pharoahs, The Search for Ancient Egypt, The Lost Tomb (KV5), The Discovery of the Tomb of Tutakhamen (by Howard Carter), The Complete Valley of the Kings, The Complete Tutankhamen, Guide to the Valley of the Kings, Pyramids: Tombs for Eternity, and The Murder of Tutakhamen. I am currently reading Amelia Edwards’ 1,000 Miles Up the Nile (written in 1877) and Tutankhamen: The Untold Story - both which are wonderful. I also started Barabara Mertz' Tombs, Temples, and Hieroglyphs. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Bob Brier’s 48 lectures on Ancient Egypt on audio tape, before and during the trip.
I also loved Anne Rice’s The Mummy which I read before I left, and Indiana Jones’ Secret of the Sphinx. Fun books that I read on the trip included Agatha Christies’ two books set in Egypt: Death on the Nile and Death Comes as the End (this one set in ancient times). The Egypt travel guides I took were Fodor’s Egypt, The Knopf Guide to Egypt (the best one) and The Egypt Guide.
I took my new Olympus camera that takes panoramic photos and my mom took her new video camera. I also took my journal for drawing pictures and writing this story.
The itinerary began in Cairo for a few days, flying south to Aswan (south of Luxor) for several days, a flight to Abu Simbel (south of the High Dam), a drive north to Luxor (via Kom Ombo and Edfu temples), and then 5 days in Luxor (the Valley of the Kings), with trips to Abydos and Dendera and then a flight back to Cairo for a few more days. In Cairo we planned to go to the museum, to the Giza plateau, to Saqqara and to Dendur (on our return). Several felucca (sailboat) trips along the Nile were scheduled including in Aswan trips to the island of Kalabsha, Philae, the Nubian villages and the Tombs of the Nobles.
In the Valley of the Kings we hoped for at least two days to visit many tombs including Nefertari’s and Tutankhamen’s. who would know we would be able to see the incredible tomb of Seti I?
Percy Shelly wrote this poem Ozymandias when he saw the fallen statue of Ramses II (the Great) at the Ramessum (temple of Ramses II) in Thebes (Luxor) on the West Bank.
"I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that it’s sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed,
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias king of kings,
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains.
Round the decay of that colossal wreck,
Boundless and bare
The lone and level sands
Stretch far away."
We had an Egyptian cab driver in NYC who took us to the airport and taught us a few words of Arabic. He was from Alexandria.
Our flight left at 11pm. We met our tour organizer, Dr. Richard Strick, a portly elderly gentleman geologist with white hair who has taken 21 trips to Egypt. He is a retired geology professor who paints Egypt now. Three of the travelers had cancelled, so there were only five of us in addition to Dr. Strick. An elderly gentleman from Seattle, Ken, an ex-military man, and two sisters from New Hampshire, Sarah and Emily, both in their 20’s, Sarah wishes to study Egyptology in graduate school. Mom read my copy of The Mummy Returns and I read Indiana Jones and the Philosopher’s Stone on the plane. We flew at 650 mph and arrived 10 hours later in Cairo. We flew Egypt Air with many Egyptians who had the absolutely largest suitcases I have ever seen in my entire life! They don’t serve alcohol, only juice, and our flight was a little choppy but we survived.