After discovering and tossing out a stowaway, we got a lift to the airport with our friend Ann Herlihy and off we go.
catcase

July 6, 2011 - Newark New Jersey

Our travel team (Luke, Maya, Charlotte, Tao) is about to start assembling. We’ve entered the Planetary Airplaneportopolis and we’ll be spit out into a Hotel outside of Cairo, Egypt in about 36 hours.
sushijersey
Having sushi in Jersey

solariphone
Solar charging the iphone

July 7 - London, England

Still in the Airplaneportololis. Feeling the sensory dulling from disconnection from natural Earth, natural light, natural air and weather, a stable timezone and a stable latitude. Deep in a cacophony of language and culture now.
london
In London – waiting for the flight to Cairo

July 7 – Cairo, Egypt

Touchdown. Luggage. Visas. Customs. Spit out on the street and contact with our driver Mohammed and our travel agency rep, Ahmed. Dry heat. Tan sand. The ring road around Cairo.
ringroad
Rush hour traffic. Crossing over the Nile River. A lot of new construction. We see the Great Pyramid in the distance from the ring road.
pyramidringroad
Now going through smaller streets, closer to Egyptian daily life.
cairojuicestand
A date juice vendor.
Arrival at the Mecure Sphinx Hotel. Very close to the pyramids.
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Our adjoining rooms with a porch with the pyramid view.
mecureporch
We have dinner on the roof.
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Pita bread. Egyptian beer. Hummus. Tabouli. Cinnamon rice. A skewer of roasted veggies and a grilled whole fish. Mullet? And a great view of the pyramids.
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Night falls. An occasional spotlight on the pyramid. Many horn sounds from the traffic in the busy street below us. Back to the room and long deep sleep. A dream in the middle of the night about a document featuring Pi.

July 8 – Cairo

What a day. Breakfast buffet. Date juice. Omlet. Leave the hotel at 9am. A suited security guard will accompany us. There is a vast democracy demonstration in the square downtown. Roads are blocked. The Egyptian Museum and bazaar are out of the travel plan because of it. We head for the Pyramids of Giza.
pyramidnorthside
Only 300 tickets to enter the great pyramid are sold each day, but we get 4 tickets and enter. There are two holes that were blasted into the pyramid over a century ago. The first one was by a dude in the 800’s who thought the entrance should be right in the middle of the north face. He was wrong. The second blast got it right. The real entrance was concealed higher and to the left of center.
pyramidclimbing
We enter through the lower, central blasted hole and reach the junction of the original ascending and descending tunnels. No cameras allowed inside. Wait a minute. Let’s get oriented here. This thing we are in is nearly 5,000 years old. For over 4,000 years it was the tallest and largest manmade structure on earth. For all that time it remained sealed. There are over two and a half million multi-ton stones piled up here in a very precise way. Some of the long seams between blocks are less than one fiftieth of an inch off of perfect. Most of it is limestone. The pyramid probably never did have a capstone at the top. The outer surface of the pyramid is entirely gone. It was polished white limestone. Not just smooth. Polished to optical standards. When the sun use to hit this pyramid (which was and is all day, every day) the light would get thrown off it like a giant mirror. There are a huge number of very precise measurements in the construction of the pyramid that match up with the exact days of the year, the exact orientation (at that time) of magnetic north, the exact diameter of the earth and much more. Although there are around 70 pyramids in Egypt, this one is extremely unique – it’s not simply a burial tomb!

Back to the tunnels. We take the ascending tunnel. It is long and tight.
tunnelup
Finally, a little out of breath, we reach the Great Chamber with the high ceiling.
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There is a tunnel that goes forward level to the Queens Chamber, but we continue upward. At the top of the Great Chamber the path becomes level. We crawl under a huge stone and then another short stretch of low tunnel until we enter the Kings Chamber through a small square opening in the lower corner of the room.
kingschamber
Black Granite. Floor. Ceiling. Walls. Rectangular. Only an empty sarcophagus at the far end. We each take turns lying in it. Talk about a spot of power. Two and a half million multi-ton limestone blocks fitted together perfectly with no mortar. All to create this space. What an honor and privilege to be here. Charlotte and I are alone in the Kings Chamber after Tao and Maya leave. We begin making a heart tone. The chamber vibrates it perfectly. It lingers long after we are silent. It deeply resonates through our bodies. I can still feel it.
To get a sense of the special acoustical qualities of the Kings Chamber, listen to Paul Horn playing a flute in this space:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wPzfZOYZRQ
Now this recording is the actual same tone we chanted while in the Kings Chamber:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLF0Vz2hEoc

We heard a lot of stories about how the pyramid was built and why and they all seem so wrong. Our guide even said the tomb was full of treasure that was stolen and removed long ago. Wrong. There never was anything inside this pyramid. That was not its purpose.

So here’s what I believe. I believe it is a huge machine designed to work with planetary (earth) energy systems and powered by the sun. I believe it creates energy flows that resonate with DNA and has the power to transform and mutate or evolve DNA. Its effects are strongest in those who respect its power and consciously release any resistance to its effects.

After leaving the pyramid, I thought,” What next?” Will the rest of the trip be mere tourism? We ride camels.
camelriding
We walk up next to the sphinx.
sphynx
Edgar Cayce says the hall of records from Atlantis is in a tomb 20 meters below the left paw of the sphinx. I try to feel its energy. We see the building that holds the solar boat. The world’s oldest boat. Made entirely of cedar and no nails.
solar-boat-3

Quick arrangement are made and we are off to Memphis – the ancient and original capital of Egypt. We follow a canal along the Nile, passing the stepped pyramid which was the first pyramid in Egypt. We visit a place where they collect ancient treasures of the area. We see a huge statue of Ramsus II.
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It is lying down but was originally upright. There are also souvenir vendors at all of these spots.
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At noon we hear the Muslim call to prayer, then a religious speech broadcast over the city PA system. It is hot. 38 degrees Celsius. (Later in southern Egypt it consistently reaches 42 degrees Celsius.) We try to remember to keep drinking water. We return to Cairo to eat lunch at a place called the Garden.
TheGarden
They lay out nearly 30 plates of food on our table.
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Our guide for the day, Ghan, translates our names into hieroglyphics. We’re beat, but they’ve added an unannounced tourist trap to the itinerary. They show us how papyrus is turned into paper. Then the store full of papyrus art. Eventually we all make our purchases and get back to the hotel and crash. After waking we assess our finances and briefly hit a cybercafé to reconnect with anything urgent going on beyond Egypt. The ‘Matrix Reloaded’ is on TV with Arabic subtitles. The commercials are strange. Corporate promotion of overconsumption seems particularly raw here.

All the water here is the Nile. The irrigation channels are in places totally covered with plastic trash. Out in the desert under the camel hooves – discarded flip-flops, plastic bottles and trash.

A little more sleep and we head for the airport in the middle of the night to fly to Aswan up river. The moon is getting full. A wedding party celebrates deep into the night.

7-9-11 – Cairo

If you want to know the hard and deep truth, follow the rocks. Off we go to the crystalline granite quarries of Aswan. Up before dawn. A bag breakfast in the van as we dash through Cairo at sunrise. Past the Citadel and on to the domestic flight airport where the choice of carrier is… no choice. It’s Air Egypt Express.
egyptait
Less than 2 hours later we are in Aswan. Landing, we fly over part of Lake Nassir. We are met at the luggage carousal by a guide and soon we are in a van going over the old dam built by the British a hundred years ago. Down through the city. Past the Nubian Museum to the river. We must have passed a hundred and fifty huge cruse ships sitting at dock.
cruiser
There just aren’t any foreign tourists. Finally we come across a dahibiya. It’s the el Hadeel! It’s really big – and a beauty.
hadeel
We walk down to the river and up a plank onto the boat and meet our guide, Hattem, and the captain, and a few of the crew. A cold towel for each of us and a drink of palm-date juice. We sit down with our guide and he blows our mind by telling us we will be the only passengers. What?! The entire boat – just for us!? There must be a crew of over a dozen. Just for us?! There’s a Jacuzzi. There is satellite big screen TV. A restaurant or dining hall.
hadeelcabincommons
A bar. Rooms for Tao, Maya and Charlotte and I. A top deck. A lower deck. An air conditioned lounge. It will take some time for this to sink in.
boatbeds

boatbaths

The air conditioning is a big hit as it hits 42 degrees Celsius out there. I think that’s about 110 degrees Fahrenheit. We get served a beautiful spicy peppery pizza for lunch with grapes and bananas for dessert. And then it’s off to the Temple of Isis.
TemplePhilae

Turns out this is really about ground zero for the appreciation of Isis. Consider it valuing feminine magical power. The story. Isis was married to Osiris. Brother Seth kills Osiris. Isis brings him back to life. Seth kills Osiris again. Cuts him into 42 pieces and hides him all over Egypt. Isis finds all the parts and brings Osiris back to life again and conceives a son with him. Osiris opts to return to the underworld to help departed souls. Their son, Horus, grows up to slay Seth. Temples devoted to Isis spread beyond Egypt. To Greece. To Rome. To Germany. In the 4th century, pope Constantine outlaws Isis worship. But here, just beyond the reach of the Roman Empire, Isis worship persists for another five centuries. The temple complex itself is on an island created by the British Nile dam. The entire temple was actually moved from a lower island because the dam was putting the temple under water. What an undertaking! There are 10’s of thousands of hieroglyphs drawn on the walls and ceilings – every surface.
philae-heiroglyphs
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A huge number of the larger carvings are chiseled off. The work of Christians trying to kill the heart of the worship. We return to the Hadeel. At 8pm we have dinner. Fish with a lemon sauce, rice and a salsa-like salad followed by a cake with fig sauce. Very good. Hateem takes us on a walk into the heart of the city to a cybercafé where we all rent 30 minutes for $10E. Afterward we head across the city square to Hateem’s favorite outdoor cafe. We have coke, date juice, Turkish coffee and smoke sheesha from a water pipe.
sheesha
Sheesha is tobacco and herbs. There are only men here and some play backgammon.

Returning to the boat, there is a disco wedding going on at a restaurant on shore next to us.
aswan-wedding
We had ordered some Egyptian beer and wine for this trip down the river and Charlotte and I sat on the upper deck as we watched and listened to the wedding and she had a couple glasses of white wine. The entertainment was quite dramatic with a fogger and bursts of flames. Returning to the room we found the air conditioner barely working and spent the night somewhat uncomfortably hot.

July 10 – Aswan

We awake to what we now know to be a typical summer morning. No clouds, hot, little breeze. On the deck we are cooked omelets for breakfast with fruit, yogurt, bread and cheese. After breakfast we move out into the river. A small tug boat provides the power.
tug
Down the Nile we go. Out of the city.
aswanshore
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Past small colorful Nubian villages. The sail booms are lowered as we pass under a bridge. Later we stop at an island and have lunch and a swim!
swimming

We learn that the wind almost always blows from the North upstream. Later in the afternoon we see a large old structure on the right. Kom Ombo. It’s a temple from around 300 bc this is a dual temple. T
KomOmbo
he right side honors Subul, the crocodile god and the left side honors Horus.
komombo2
Again, all surfaces of all columns and walls have carvings and hieroglyphs – some still retaining a lot of their original color.
crok
komombo3
We see our first of several well type holes that were used to measure the rise of the Nile.
nileguage
Approaching and leaving these temples we are hit by a swarm of young boys trying to sell trinkets.
boys
Upon leaving, Charlotte does buy a dress from a vendor for $5 US. She also accepts a bracelet from a boy presented as a gift. But after she gets on the boat the kid yells at her to throw it back. Later this incident leads to a full discussion about poverty and tourism in poor areas. In my mind all the solutions I hear are inadequate, short of a world-wide devotion to economic justice where we take economic well being to be a human right and make it a priority to have everyone’s basic needs met.

For dinner we had like a fish stew with peppers and lime as well as a plate of rice and something like donuts for desert.
dessert
The travel guides warn that intestinal issues are common and after breakfast I experienced it. Maya gave me an antibiotic and we picked up some antinol at a pharmacy which seems to do the trick. I was never in much discomfort.
sunset

Monday July 11 – The Nile

We had overnighted along some farmland and woke up to a very windy day.
farmhut
A tug boat is required today to pull us downstream against the wind. We learn that the Hadeel is only about 5 years old. After a few hours we stop at the Temple of Horenheb.
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We are at a sandstone quarry and this temple was made for the quarry workers who came from all over.
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There were shrines here to over 60 gods. It was amazing to us that the coloring had survived for four thousand years.
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We took a long walk across desert sand to see many of these and returned to the boat exhausted. It is very likely near 110 degrees again today. It doesn’t seem to bother the stands of papyrus.
papyrus.jpg
The crew brought the boat back upstream to a beautiful mango grove where they set up lunch for us under a mango tree.
mangolunch.jpg
They picked fresh mangos for our dessert. They were great. My solar charger has been working great also. It takes about 4 hours of sun to charge the batteries, then I plug my iphone in and it takes about an hour to drain that juice into the iphone, giving it about a 40% charge and then I put the charger back in the sun.

I took a long nap in the afternoon. When I awoke, the sails were up.  Tao helped.
sailsup.jpg
Unfortunately, wind conditions were not right for actually sailing down the Nile. We could have sailed up the Nile. The river was not wide enough to effectively tack back and forth against the wind. Actually a small tug boat kept us from losing much ground while sailing. We passed by a long village close to the shore and had fun waving to all the people.
villagewoman.jpg
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A short while later, just before sunset we circled around and docked on a small island.
dockingonisland.jpg
The day quickly got cooler and the staff threw a party.
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We all danced and danced.
dancing.jpg
The staff had set up a barbeque on the island.
islanddinner.jpg
Earlier in the evening we were having a good conversation with Hatem about Native Americans and current US politics, I was hoping we would get to continue it. The barbeque was great. Lentil soup was the first course, then a dozen dishes including fish barbequed on skewers then three wonderful sweet desserts.
islanddinner.jpg

Tuesday, July 12 – The Nile

We slept anchored on the island. Clear night skies every night and the moon getting full. We woke early and made our way downstream to the largest city in Aswan province, Edfu. Around a million people. We were met at the shore by a horse drawn carriage.
carriage.jpg
It tossed us around getting through the side streets but did pretty good on the rare flat straight stretches. After a couple miles we came to the Temple of Horus.
templeofhorus.jpg
Wow. Big. And well preserved. It spent most of the past 2,000 years under silt. It is almost inconceivable that something this awesome would be abandoned for such a long time. A lot of the explanations we get about the drawings and hieroglyphs seem plausible, but I think there is a lot of inevitable projection of current cultural values distorting the truth.
horusdude.jpg
The columns are colossal.
collosolcolumns.jpg
We see much more paint still intact. I really want to see a scale model of these places in their original brilliant colors. I later learned that one of the hieroglyphs we spent several minutes studying, was special to the Russian mystic, G. I. Gurdieff. As a young man, he led searches throughout Asia trying to discover an ancient wisdom. Gurdfieff stood before this very spot and interpreted this carving to depict 7 wise persons carrying wisdom from Atlantis.
7wiseguys.jpg
After returning to the boat,
WOMANONSTREET.jpg
we continue downstream (against the wind) and have to tilt our masts back to get under a low bridge. I can’t imagine how the cruise ships manage. Every morning when we return to our cabin, there is a towel sculpture waiting for us on the bed. Each day it gets more outrageously elaborate.
BEDART.jpg
For lunch we have Egyptian Pizza. Pita bread with the pizza toppings inside.
egyptianpizza.jpg
We all jump onto the tug boat
boardingtugboat.jpg
and cross to the other shore where there is a very small settlement, including about a dozen young boys with donkeys.
babydonkey.jpg
As we get on shore there is chaos. Everyone yelling. Kids. Donkeys. Us. Boat staff. All on top of each other. Maya saw a donkey get punched in the face. Kids got hit with sticks.
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And somehow after a couple minutes things get sorted out and each of us was on a donkey headed up the garbage cluttered back trail behind the houses.
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We pass a huge bricked off area that we are told was once the capital of southern Egypt.
oldcity.jpg
We ride over a canal, over a railroad track, over a major highway to a major landmark-park. Only it appeared empty. Hatem scared up a caretaker who took money, got us tickets and opened the tombs high up on the cliffs.
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This place is called Al Kab. Here we saw the best preserved coloring yet.
coloredcarving.jpg
These were tombs of the city nobles. Tax collectors, high priests, etc. We had to pay $20E as pictures were not allowed – I mean free pictures were not allowed.
sky.jpg
Depiction of sky with stars.
The wind kicked up a few times on this outing and I was surprised that sandstorms included sizable pebbles that hurt when they fly into you. Ouch!
sandstorm.jpg
Maya opts to walk back rather than donkey ride as her stomach was bothering her.
returndonkeyride.jpg
But we all do make it back to the boat without major incident.
Later with the wind still strong, we come to the old locks at Esna. The old locks don’t work anymore so it’s more like just a gate to get through. Rather than go through the locks we dock along the city. Hatem leads us on a walk through the old part of the city. We pause to watch a laundry shop press a shirt. By foot!
ironingEdfu.jpg
Then we pass by a vendor with a bunch of bulk grains.
bulkgrains.jpg
And then we come to an excavated temple in a pit. It seemed to be popular with the pigeons.
EdfuTemple.jpg
We return to the boat. Tao complains of some nausea and goes to lay down. Dinner was stuffed eggplants and we had a good conversation with Hatem.
stuffedeggplant.jpg
Maya had read where few Egyptians leave the country and assumed it was a cultural cause like attachment to family or land. Hatem told us of the 5 places he would like to visit and the difficulties he has obtaining visas. One place is New York. One of the requirements is $80,000E in the bank for each person (He would be traveling with his wife and young child. Since 9-11 it is very difficult for Muslims in Arabic countries to travel to many places.

After dinner, Maya, Charlotte and I sat out on the top deck drinking Egyptian wine and beer. And watching the street life of Esna.
Edfustreets.jpg
Slept well and awoke after a particularly vivid dream going over an aerial photograph of some land in Brandon just south of a golf course. We had a contract to buy the property but myself and two partners had to complete some processes before the sale could be complete. Then this fellow could come in and put in a road and extend the city water lines.

Again today there are no clouds in the sky. We asked Hatem if there were every any clouds and he pretended to not know what we were talking about. I think I mentioned that we asked Ghan back in Cairo about a rainy season and she said last year it lasted nearly two days.

Wednesday, July 13 – Esna, Egypt and north on the Nile

After breakfast we went first through the old locks
edfulock1.jpg
and then the new lock.
edfulock2.jpg
They were very narrow and we used a technique of pulling on ropes attached to one side of the lock to keep straight. A fellow who may or may not be the captain had me and then Maya dress up in Arabic costume and steer the boat.
captainluke.jpg
captainmaya.jpg
As we approach Luxor there is a long string of high bluffs stretching to the East.
bluffs.jpg
We waive to the people on some big cruise ships as they go by and sometimes absolutely nobody waves back. Are we invisible? Or are these cruise ships of the living dead? We passed by a dry dock with lots of ships being repaired.
drydock.jpg
Tao recovered enough to join us in the afternoon. We docked a few miles south of Luxor just across the river from the most expensive resort in the area. We have fish and rice for dinner and discuss optional tours. A hot air balloon ride over Luxor would cost about $100 US each. Eventually we decide we can’t afford it. We discuss adding a tour of the Ramses VI tomb for $50E each but decide that also is probably not worth it. Tomorrow we will leave for the west desert at 6 am. We spend some time working out a tip for the boat crew and the guides. It will consume most of our money.
nilemoon.jpg

Thursday, July 14 – Luxor, Egypt

An early morning wakeup for breakfast at 5:30am out on the deck. At 6 am we take a van into the western desert/mountains to the Valley of the Kings. There are 62 tombs of Pharaohs here. All were once hidden with traps for grave robbers. Some go very deep under the mountain. Cameras are not allowed here. If you are caught, it’s a $1,000E fine on the spot. Inside the tombs much of the color is still very intact but it is likely deteriorating quickly due to the exposure to  humidity and carbon dioxide from hundreds of thousands of visitors. We have a ticket to visit three tombs of our choice. A couple tombs cost extra. King Tut’s tomb is $100E per person extra. We skip that. (It’s been emptied out anyway) All the actual stuff is in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. I think the first tomb was Ramses IV, then Rarmses I and then Ramses III. Ramses II is the most vast tomb. (He had tombs made for over 160 children within his tomb). From there we go a short distance to the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut.
queenhestemple.jpg
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Finally a short distance later, the Collosus of Memnon.
collossus.jpg
We opt out of a tour to a rock factory. We’ve been to enough of those tourist traps. Back at the boat they have cool towels and date drinks waiting for us. It is barely 9 am. I imagine the trip would have been much more difficult in the main heat of the day.

We spent the rest of the day on the boat. After dinner we were entertained by our server who produced about a dozen different fancy table towel/napkin folds.
napkinart.jpg
Later, after dark, we took a long walk through the local village in search of an internet cafe. We finally found one across from an outdoor funeral service.
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On the way back we attracted a following of about 20 kids who kept yelling ‘Hello’ at us and set off a few small pipe bombs for us.

Friday, July 15 – Luxor, Egypt

Today we ate breakfast an hour early to get to the Luxor and Karnack temples and back before noon prayers. Friday is the big day off in the Muslim world and the noon prayer on Friday is something like the Christian Sunday morning service. Our driver took us over the bridge to the east shore and then downstream to Luxor. The temple was easy to get to as it was near the water.
LuxorEntrance.jpg
Huge columns and lots of them.
LuxorColumns.jpg
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Heading downstream from the temple was a 1.5 mile long Avenue of the Sphinx’s. I
AvenueSphynx.jpg
t was still being unearthed. An organization headquartered in Chicago has put together a huge outdoor exhibit showing the artwork in Egypt through the ages. We then took the short trip to the Temple at Karnack. This is huge! Over 60 acres. It seems nearly every Pharaoh had to add something here. Ramses II put together a room with about 136 huge columns.
karnakcolumns.jpg
Tall columns.
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There were more rows of sphinxes. Obelisks, statues and a scarab sculpture which we went around 3 times for good luck.
obilisk.jpg
karnakchar.jpg

We drove Hatem to the train station and said goodbye and handed him a tip of about $155US.

We spent the rest of the day relaxing on the boat. Taking naps, reading, talking. Lunch was buffet style.
buffetstyle.jpg
Dinner was special as they had a cake for us with flares exploding.
flamingcake.jpg
The smoke filled the cabin and the cake was delicious. After dinner we fired up the Jacuzzi.
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Then retired to our last night on the boat. The beds are very comfortable and the very subtle rocking motion is wonderful for sleep.

Saturday, July 16 Luxor to Cairo, Egypt

Charlotte and I awoke and went out on the top deck to watch the sun rise.
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We watched until it was too bright.
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This is the place to be in touch with the sky as there are never any clouds. The sun, the moon, the stars – they never hide themselves here. It gives you a closer relationship to these cosmic forces. The plant life gathers up the sun energy and powers all the animal life – this life (my life) is no exception. We experience the sun directly and intimately when we notice our aliveness in this moment. The connection is as real as real gets.

We spent a lot of time this week inside the temples and tombs of ancient Egypt. Yesterday at the largest temple of them all, the Karnack Temple, we saw dozens of guides telling thousands of people what they were experiencing. Nearly all the guides are modern Egyptian Muslims making a living for their families. They all present this ancient culture as a dead religion. They all talk about the symbols and images but are incapable of bringing it to life. Where is today’s Pharaoh? I know he or she exists but is unknown. The sun, moon, starts and all the forces of the Earth create a Pharaoh. A person.  Purified from petty concerns. Open to the limitless power and mystery around us and in us. Motivated to defeat suffering everywhere, he acts.

We hung out on the boat,
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reading and taking naps and about 3 pm the driver showed up and took us to the airport for our flight to Cairo. We got behind a Chevy pickup with an unusual load – 3 camels!
3camels.jpg

No problem getting to Cairo at dusk. Lots of traffic getting to our hotel near the airport. There was a really crazy wedding going on in the lobby. After getting settled we ate dinner out by a swimming pool. We were served a salad – a basketful of full veggies. A tomato, a red pepper, two green peppers, a pile of olives, etc. They had good hummus and tabouli. We got to listen to a couple singers entertaining us with recorded background music and a mid-east drummer.

Sunday, July 17 – Cairo, Egypt

We got on the internet a bit last night. The headlines in the Cairo paper are all about the protests in Tafrir Square downtown.
newspaper.jpg
We’re headed there next as that is where the Egyptian Museum is. Our hotel was a bed and breakfast deal so we had a good meal before heading out. One strange offering was scrambled eggs that were at least 50% yogurt. Our same guide that was with us last week in Cairo, Ghan, joined us. Next the driver and security person arrived. We came into the city via a very long bridge and it went right to the museum.
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They took our cameras. The museum is 2 stories. A good part of the 2nd floor is all the booty from the King Tut find. There was stuff in the museum even older that the first dynasty which puts that stuff at over 6,000 years old. We saw a couple 15 foot mummified crocodiles, an infinite amount of jewelry, kazillions of statues, some perfectly preserved after 5,000 years. We saw a full size replica of the Rosetta stone found in the Nile delta in the late 1700’s by Napoleon’s gang. It cracked the hieroglyphic code as it had the same text in hieroglyphics, the common Egyptian script and Greek. After about 2 hours in the museum we headed for El Tafrir Square where there were over 20,000 people camped out in the heat of the day.
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In the cool evenings the numbers grow to around 100,000. We made it all the way up to their security barrier. There were no weapons allowed beyond that point – probably keeping our security guy out. Although some of the folks at the gate looked pretty tough, we talked with one guy quite a bit and he ended up smiling and giving us all the peace or victory sign. He even invited us to come in and join the protest. The current protest had been going on over a week and it was in response to the military leadership moving very slow on the demanded reforms. Mubarak’s trial was delayed, and the trial was set for a military court not a publicly broadcast civilian court. Hundreds of police that killed non-violent protesters had not been brought to justice. Promised elections have been delayed and the list goes on. We saw a car with the windshield smashed out and a huge office building right next to the museum with some connection to Mubarak that had been totally burned out.
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From here we went through some really slow, heavy downtown traffic to get to the bazaar. The bazaar is not one big open area. It is big, but it’s a whole section of the city with narrow streets and alleys packed full of shops all spilling out onto the streets.
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We walked and shopped the tourist section, then Charlotte and I ventured into the Egyptian section.
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Together we got t-shirts, dates, perfume oils, a fez, flavored tobacco, cloth, jewelry and more.
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We all met up at an outdoor cafe on the edge of the bazaar for water, soda, fruit drinks and a smoke on a hookah.
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Then it was off to the airport. Tips to everyone which basically wiped us out of money. At check in we tried to get vegetarian meals on the plane – we’ll see. Oddly, every single flight we’ve had, our seating has been precisely over the wing and this is no exception. We flew over the vast Nile Delta. I was surprised by the large number of villages I saw there. Finally the Mediterranean coast and then the sea. We flew over the Alps and got to London as it was getting dark, 9pm and Heathrow was shutting down for the night. They gathered up all us overnight layovers and had us go to Gate 2 of terminal 1 where we spent the night. At 4am they released us. I bet it looked like the long awaited arrival of Zombie Airlines. We went much deeper into the airplaneportopolis zombie state. Arrivals, departures, arrivals, departures… until finally one of these places was called Jackson, MS and our friend Gen Barbour came to our rescue and delivered us home.