God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Kom Ombo and Edfu Temples (& belly dancers)

OK--I must admit, one might think that if you've seen one temple, you've seen them all. And even more--at times it almost seemed that way. But...and there are always buts...it just isn't true. Each is different in its awe inspiring grandiose existence; each further underscores the admiration for the architects, builders, lowly laborers, dreamers, artists, carvers, technicians and scientists who so long ago created such megalithic  beauty. And yes, I do leave out the pharaohs and their consorts who commissioned such memorials to their time on earth and hoped for passage to the next. They are not the ones who left us these testimonials to the past. Well, actually, that isn't true, as if it were not for desires for immortality, none of this would have been done. So, yes, do include them, it is only right. Plus, they did build rather remarkable civilizations.

I do need to back up for a moment to last night--the great Belly Dancer/Whirling Dervish Show. I had been teasing Casey that he would not be allowed to see such depravity--much too young for witnessing the gyrating, sweaty female form shaking tassels and whatever. And..I was only half teasing as I remembered what Ken and I had seen in Istanbul. In my sometimes puritanical mind, it just wasn't kosher to take a child--yes, he is 13 but definitely a child--to a "girlie" show.

But, since this was a more-or-less family cruise, I figured it would be "va bene" (as we say in Italy.) As it was, I need not to have worried as this belly dancer was no more than could be seen at any middle school dance--which, now that I think about it, can be pretty raunchy sometimes. There was no belly on display and the shakes and shimmies were pretty pathetic. The kids, who were all sitting together acting grown up throwing peanut shells on the carpet, actually got pretty bored.

After the aged woman (I forgot to mention the age) came the whirling dervish who was quite entertaining and spectacular. He gave a good show with a costume that lit up with multi-colored lights as he twirled and whirled non-stop for 15-20 minutes. I am quite certain that the real dervishes in Turkey do not use colored lights--but then, they are not on cruise ships, either. We all enjoyed him--adults and kids. I am sorry, though, having just scoured all three cameras, it seems we took no pictures of these two. I would have loved to share this with you. Oops--here is the non-belly dancing belly dancer--or, actually, she did have a belly.

Back to two more amazing temples...Kom Ombo and Edfu-Temple of Horus.

The Temple of Kom Ombo was dedicated to two deitites--Sobek, the feared crocodile god and Horus, god of victory and war; he was also a doctor and healer. Sobek's wife was Hathor, usually depicted as a revered cow. She was the goddess of fertility and childbirth and the protector of female royalty along with many other things in Egyptian mythology. She was later equated with Venus and Aphrodite. It seems that the gods were very versatile in their benevolence and influence.

Kom Ombo is the only temple we visited which sits squarely on the banks of the Nile. It is a pretty impressive site as it magically materializes when you round a bend in the river--there it is just waiting to be explored.

View of Kom Ombo from the Ship

If you look closely, you will see important carvings  
of the medical tools used by physicians in Egypt .

Our next stop, after docking overnight at Edfu, was a buggy ride to the Temple of Horus at Edfu. As with all the temples, this one has something special that distinguishes it from the others. It is almost wholly intact--with roof, ceiling, complete walls and interior rooms. For the most part temples are skeletons of what they once were so it is is fascinating to see more completely what was.

Horus was the son of Isis and Osiris after Isis was able to revive Osiris who had been killed by his evil brother Set. Horus eventually was able to avenge his father's death and destroy Set. Osiris became the god of afterlife. (The truth is that these stories are very convoluted and complex with confusing twists and turns and so what I offer is super simplified.)

We were driven to Edfu in rather delipated, much used carriages..
but they got us there and back. Riding the streets was interesting.

Another reminder as to just how enormous these places are.
And, the people of Egypt were small people.

Temple of Horus at Edfu Facade

The Sanctuary of Horus and barge. Inside Edfu Temple

Horus and Us

I must give credit to Casey at this point as he is my guru in recognizing all these gods and creatures and their interconnectedness. He studied this in 6th grade and I am in awe of what he remembers and learned. 
He had a good teacher. Thank you, Mrs. Maier.

This was a good day--well, they all were--and we haven't even been to Karnac, Luxor and Petra, yet. So much in so little time.

Things were more or less quiet on-board this night. There was to be an "elegant" attire party with the ship's captain and other staff; however, elegant was not very elegant which was fortunate as I had no elegance with me. We had a quiet dinner with our table mates whom we had enjoyed--particularly Casey as Camille was at our table. She and her parents were from Singapore and then we also had a beautiful young couple from Hong Kong. It is so nice when you like the people you eat your meals with as there were assigned tables.

(If you can, enlarge to full screen.)

While sleeping we sailed onto Luxor where we awoke the next morning.

Next: Karnac, Luxor Temple, Hatshpsut, Valley of the Kings, and Christmas on the Nile.


B.j.Greenwaki said...

Another great blog entry. Egypt is moving further and further up on my bucket list. Thanks, Jane.

sandrac said...

Wow!!!! Kom Ombo and Edfu both look spectacular (far more interesting and authentic than the poor belly dancer!)

Wonderful photos, Jane!