Tag Archives: Pyramids

Time Travel. And Associated Musings.

Sometimes the travel bug bites me unexpectedly. My toes itch and I start looking for flights to some faraway locations. But then the reality hits, such as work and other commitments, and I go for a much quicker and cheaper alternative. Time travel. Back to a location that has captivated me in years past.

architecture-in-cairo-5-ud103A few days ago, I did some work that reminded me of my visits to Egypt, of which the latest was about three years ago. So I traveled to Cairo. And I invite you to join me as I revisit some disparate memories – through pictures taken on my small Canon Powershot or on my first iPhone.

I fell in love with the history and culture of this ancient country on my first trip in 1999.

tiny-at-the-pyramids-ud103When I visited the pyramids, a sand storm suddenly blew up. I still remember how my hair was full of sand and how a tiny sand corn found its way into my left eye. The latter was not fun, but it was all worth it. Walking inside and around the pyramids, life as it played out around cairo-market-tut-replica-ud1032500 B.C. became palpable. I could almost see and hear the builders and the large funeral processions. I remember lingering around the Great Sphinx for a long time listening to the echoes from the past.

I also visited the Cairo museum and was fascinated by the many ancient objects, in particular all the treasures from King Tut’s tomb that were on display at the time. He was the ‘boy pharaoh’ Tutankhamun, who ruled Egypt for ten years until his death at age 19. There were rooms full of his things. I remember a golden mask, a golden throne, a small wooden chair, his chariot, his bed, his small gloves and other clothes, among other things – all beautifully preserved for over 3300 years. I was mesmerized by the workmanship revealed by these objects.

The ancient mythology was still alive in the works of many contemporary artists in Giza. I bought some of their works on papyrus, which was produced by the craftsmen pretty much the same way it always had.

egyptian-papyrus-art-ud103On one of my following visits, I attended meetings at the historic Mena House in Giza, about half a mile from the pyramids. I will never forget the sight when I was seated at my breakfast table the first morning. The Great Pyramid, built by Pharaoh Khufu around 2540 B.C., rose towards the sky right in front of my eyes.

the-pyramid-of-khufu-was-built-by-pharaoh-khufu-around-2540-bc-ud103And during my stay, I could admire the pyramids right there in the hotel gardens during the outdoor coffee breaks.

the-pyramid-of-khafre-was-built-around-2520-bc-ud103On my two most recent visits, I stayed in Cairo due to security concerns at the time. I travelled from the hotel to my client’s offices through Heliopolis, famous for its architecture. I snapped pictures of its beautiful, old buildings with my iPhone from a moving vehicle.

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minarets-2-cairo-ud103Being ‘stuck’ in Cairo, I also visited some famous food establishments with my colleagues. The one that I truly loved was the classic Egyptian restaurant, Abou El Sid. I think its ambience of ‘old Cairo’, dating back to 1940s, is best presented in sepia and soft, warm hues.

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ligthning-at-abou-el-sid-cairo-ud103We sampled various types of traditional Egyptian foods – all delicious. A highly recommended experience if you get a chance to go there.

But the jump from traditional to hyper modern was short. We visited, mostly for its many dining options, the City Stars Mall. Despite a sculpture of a pharaoh on its side wall, it is a sprawling luxury complex with impressive architecture and shopping alike.

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Back to the traditional, I visited (again) the famous Khan el-Khalili market, first established in the 14th century. It is an intriguing place. Local merchants are offering everything from real antiques and souvenir replicas of ancient statues to food, clothing and traditional Egyptian jewelry.

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cairo-market-jewelry-shop-ud103

cairo-market-souvenirs-ud103A set of copper plates is one of my cherished souvenirs from Cairo, along with the papyrus art from Giza.

the-pyramds-on-copper-2-ud103And looking at them now, I arrive back home. With no jet lag or hole in the wallet. I think I will do a few of these time travels before rushing to buy new tickets. I hope you enjoyed the journey back in time. I wish you peace.

 

 

Chasing Ancient Birds. In My Dreams.

There I was, walking around at the pyramids in Giza in ancient Egypt. A few thousand years ago. With my latest Canon. It was hot and hazy, but the heat didn’t bother me. I felt happy and light on my foot, smiled at everyone I met. They were mostly traders returning to Cairo with caravans of fully loaded camels. I was over the moon because I had managed to snap a picture of a Sacred Ibis.

sacred ibis artwork
Sacred Ibis, my artwork based on a stock image.

That bird was Thoth’s favorite. And Thoth represented many things important to me: knowledge, writing and justice. Even a little bit of magic. I had never seen him in person, of course, but he was pictured everywhere with a head of an Ibis.

Thoth
Thoth, pictured on a wall in Cairo.

The Sacred Ibis was also the first letter in the hieroglyphic alphabet. An important symbol of writing and preserving the stories for the afterlife.

Egyptian papyrus art
Art work on papyrus.

After getting my all important shot, I went to see the scribes and artists in the nearby village. Some of them had simple workshops, but many were writing, drawing and painting on their papyrus rolls right in the open.

Egyptian papyrus art
Art work on papyrus.

Their art was nothing short of amazing. I tried to buy a few art works but somehow my paper money didn’t do the trick. So a few of them took pity on an art-hungry stranger and gave me samples of their work for free. I was grateful for their kind gesture.

papyrus art
Art work on papyrus.

After receiving the rolls, I said my goodbyes and walked back to the pyramids. I asked one of the guards to take a picture of me.  For my blog, I told him. To my surprise he didn’t even ask me how to use the camera, just snapped the picture and smiled. He was more interested in my camera bag of soft leather, and asked who’d made it. I said I didn’t know, but that it was probably made in China. He thought it was funny and burst out laughing. He couldn’t fathom that there was no art work on it.

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Tiny at the pyramids in Giza.

Soon after my picture was taken the wind started blowing. A sand storm was approaching. Still remembering the previous storm, I didn’t want to get another sand corn in my eye. So I  decided to return to Mena House, my accommodations for the night.

Giza pyramid from Mena House L

Suddenly I woke up. The sun was shining in my face. I wanted to go for breakfast in my favorite spot, out in the gardens facing one of the pyramids. But found myself back in my bed in Florida. My hubby was already up, Bumble was still snoring lightly next to me. It took me a while to wake up to my current realities of a new week in the 21st century. And I couldn’t help but wonder where this pleasant dream had come from. My hubby of course has a theory.

I hope your week has started well.

 

The Empire of Time

Sitting at the foot of the pyramid

I turn my face toward the afternoon sun

like so many have done before me

its rays warm my body

enlighten my thoughts

and bring me some perspective

of life as a continuum

the past merging with the now

and the future stretching

to the eternal empire of time.

Embrace of Time

Listen.

Hear the silence

softly sweeping

the night’s mysteries

into the embrace of time.

Like strands of pearls

the moments of joy

and the moments of pain

are silently joined together

to become the colorful mosaic

of each life

and of all humankind.

 Listen.

And you will know.