Saturday, March 15, 2008
Seeing The Big Places
After lunch we all went out of the boat to get on a bus to go see two very big temples. The first temple was called the Temple of Karnak and it really was big. There were statues of lions with sheep heads on them in front of the front wall of the temple. Apparently in Egypt when something has a lion body and some other head, it's called a sphinx. So these were called ram's-headed sphinx statues. If it has a person's head, it's just called a sphinx. I wonder what they'd call it if it had a moose's head....
Once we went through the front gate, there was a big empty space with some very large statues and columns. One of the statues looked like it had feathers coming out of its head, but that might have been because it had a palm tree just behind it. Maryanne has been telling the other people we are traveling with that they should wait to see the temples in Luxor because the other temples really were not as amazing. Well, I guess that she was right. Everywhere we looked there were groups of people listening to guides in a million different languages, taking pictures and getting sore necks trying to see the tops of all of the very tall things in Karnak.
After the huge empty space, we went into something the guide called a hypostyle hall. At first, I thought he said hippostyle hall and I was pretty excited that we were going to see some hippos, but there aren't any hippopotamuses in Egypt anymore. If the last space was very empty, this hall was very full. There were hundreds of huge columns in the space, and people with cameras everywhere. The room was almost like a giant forest filled with enormous trees and tiny little people. Just the sort of place that a moose would really like. The guide man said that there are 134 columns in the room and that at one time it was very dark, having a roof of very large stone blocks on top of the columns. There was a lot of time to build such big things because they say that the kings were building in this place for over two thousand years. I wonder how they could remember what it was that they were building.
We walked all over the place at Karnak. There are so many broken buildings there. I wonder how people know what they all are. The guide man said that people learned to read the pictures that are carved on the columns and walls. I guess that the old Egyptians used the pictures to carve their names on the buildings. One of the things that they built in Karnak was a very pretty swimming pool, but I never saw anyone swimming there.
After a while we found our bus again and we went to another temple in the same town. This temple was called Luxor Temple and one of the things that I liked about it was that there were places where I could sit and rest. I sat on one king's lap. They said that he was a strange king called Akhenaton but that he made this statue before he changed his name to that. This temple had been covered in sand and mud for a long time and the people forgot that it was there so they built a mosque and a church on top of it. When they dug the temple up, the church and the mosque were left way up in the air. Now people in the mosque are over the old temple. Very strange.
There were a lot of statues of the old Egyptian kings in this temple. One of the kind of cool things was the fact that they would put statues of their children with them. I got a picture of myself next to one of the girls. She was very pretty.
After all of our traveling around, this was the last day on the boat. We were going back to have dinner and sleep and then in the morning we were going to fly to a place called Sharm el Sheikh. Maryanne says that this is a holiday place on the Red Sea and that I would see fish there. I wonder if the sea is really red like the sky was the last night in Luxor.