<% pageTitle="2004 Dahshur Dawdle - Abu Sir Egypt" homeDirectory="/2004dahshurdawdle/" eventSponsor="belesemo" leftBanner="kerrit" rightBanner="ridecamp" %>

Egypt: I found a Horus!!!

I must go back to the Sun Temple! - that's the one almost in MA's front yard.

It's actually called the site of Abu Ghorab, and has 2 royal sun temples dedicated to the worship of Ra, the sun-god (where's the 2nd temple?)

In the Abu Sir Papyri - archives of Old Kingdom documents written in hieratic (shorthand form of hieroglyphs), found in Abu Sir's Pyramid of Neferirkare - it says there are 6 temples here, though only 2 have been discovered (where's the 2nd??).

It was a valley temple with a causeway and large stone enclosure. Inside was a large limestone obelisk (now missing) 122' high on a 66' high base. In front of the obelisk, the huge alabaster altar is still there - we stood on top of it. Hieroglyphs on the alter say, "The sun god Ra is satisfied." And, I like this even better, MA said Abu Ghorab means "Father of Crows."

She says crows are a nuisance to the farmers here, as they are to many people in the states. (People are all wrong about crows and ravens!)

Here they try to scare them away or shoot them, so the clever crows hang out during the day at the dump and other places, and around evening they fly one by one to behind the sun temple. There they wait until the call to evening prayer, when they fly into the orchards at the edge of the desert to roost, cuz they know people are at their prayers. :) (Who knows if everything is true in Egypt, myth or legend or truth, but the stories are great).

Morad came by, and sheepishly admitted he was sore from running when I asked him. Tracy went with him to the jockey club; there's some big race on Saturday. Pal visited, bringing a little memory card, and was able to transfer my digital pix off Steph's computer to his and MA's computers. MA went to his house to email.

The working boys came back to paint; Mohammed (MA's driver) and Nagette (her housekeeper) arrived. We were maybe going to the big market today... but another lovely Egyptian morning seemed to be slipping away; MA finally made it back and we were were off about 11 AM.

Mohammed drove - not so fast! We all told him he was a good driver. :) He smiled and nodded his head - I expect he knows exactly how Morad drives. First we went to Maadi to MA's bank - I used the ATM, where the Egyptian men stood aside to let me go first - and Thomas Cook.

Then Mohammed drove us through Cairo to the sprawling market Khan Al-Khalili, where Cairenes have plied their trades since its founding in the 14th century. It's a fantastic huge maze of shops selling anything you could ever want (well - except for a stuffed Horus - the Egyptian falcon in the hieroglyphs, which I really want to take the place of my Raven who I didn't bring) - it's full of little nooks and crannies and holes and corridors and upstairs.

Lots of gaudy tourist stuff - trinkets, Tshirts, Egyptian clothing, fabrics, papyrus, antiques, carpets, fantastically detailed inlaid wooden boxes, carved ebony and ivory, spices, sheeshahs, breads - thousands of people and lots of noise, colorful sights and smells and sounds and aggressive sellers "Hello Madame come in just take a look, hello madame sheeshah?" We had, at the newish fancy Naguib Mahfouz (a famous Arabian author) cafe, 'salad' stuff - which here is tabouli, baba ghanoug, tahini, and hummus. And, get this: REAL MANGO JUICE!!! So thick with real mango I chewed half of it. I about died in my chair. Not to mention a strawberry drink, a tamarind drink and guava drink - all pure.

Which fueled us to do more shopping.

Which made us thirsty for turkish coffee and erfa. I had this - a glass of hot milk with a whallop of cinnamon and a little sugar - yum! at the Fishawis coffee house - open continuously for 24 hrs a day the last 200 years (or so they say in Egypt) - which was a crazy place. It's in a narrow corridor, and continuously flowing by are tourists, Egyptians, roaming kids and men and women soliciting money and selling tissues, sunglasses, bad necklaces and bracelets, tiny cigarette water pipes, seats, cushions, robes, skinned foxes, wallets, cigarettes, all around people drinking coffees and smoking sheeshas.

What fun!!

I found a hand-sized black stone Horus, which the man told me was 10 pounds - I said "What!?" (This is about $1.65.) "For you, yes, 10 pounds." He sent me inside where the guy wanted his picture taken wrapping my falcon.

Then, in a spice store, as I waited on MA to conduct her spice business with the guy, I noticed they were talking about me. What was that all about? I asked MA. "100 camels he offered for you." 100 camels! My South African friend Janet was worth only 20 camels! But that was about 10 years ago - gotta be inflation. MA burst my Egyptian bubble by saying he probably didn't have the camels anyway. Oh well!

We left near 5 PM, and as Mohammed picked us up and drove us away, we passed the REST of Khalili - we had only touched a fraction of it. You could spend a month in there and never see it all - and maybe never find your way out.

Back home, we were due at (another) Mohammed's for pizza - his patio had a great view of the Abu Sir pyramids (one lit up at night). A 3/4 moon, with a large halo around it, was directly overhead, and many from the ride were there - Morad & Hortense, Janie, Sharif, Ali & Ramda, Somaya, Pal.

Salads and pizza and horse talk: how did we feed, how did we train; on a multi day ride we rode the SAME horse 5 DAYS?!

And out of this talk came thoughts of the first multi-day ride in Egypt, scheduled for November. Yes, we're all planning to come back!


[More ...]