Kelocity.com

A runner with an appetite for adventure!

Introducing Adele to Cleopatra September 30, 2012

Filed under: Cairo,Los Angeles — Kelocity @ 2:50 pm
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On our maternity leave bucket list was visiting the California Science Center to see the Cleopatra Exhibit. Last week, we seized the opportunity and headed downtown.
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Irving and I visited Egypt a couple of years ago, and have since been fascinated with the history. It’s crazy to think that these pieces traveled all the way to Los Angeles for us to see.
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There weren’t too many artifacts, but the ones they had were pretty significant. Most were found under the sea in Alexandria and they were preserved really well.
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PS. I am so impressed with myself that these photos with no flash came out!
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I wonder if Adele will be intrigued by ancient Egypt like I was too. Don’t all little kids want to be archeologists?
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We did our usual walk through the giftshop after, imagining what Adele might pick out someday.
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I love museums. We are so lucky to have so many close to us here.
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Egypt: A Nation in Need February 3, 2011

Filed under: Cairo — Kelocity @ 8:20 am

I just can’t believe all the chaos going on in Egypt right now. First Russia, now Egypt. I noticed the corruption, sadness and frustration when I went just three months ago. But I never expected anything like this to happen. In general, the people we came into contact with were just desperate for a better life. Yea the street beggers and souvenir vendors are aggressive, but as a tourist, it comes with the territory. When you dig a little deeper, you see people who are just trying to make a living in a country that offers them no help. Although the deaths and devastation are a tragedy, I really do hope that something good comes off the protests. They deserve a government who will help build their nation, celebrate their history and encourage economic and social growth.

 

This is what the Egypt museum looks like this week:

cbc_egypt [CBC]

 

And this is me in front of it just a few short months ago:

I’m crossing my fingers for them so that they can enjoy peace once again and my kids can visit a new Egypt some day.

 

Around the world: A Video! January 22, 2011

Filed under: Cairo,Dubai — Kelocity @ 2:37 pm
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I’ve been working on a little video from our trip to Egypt and Dubai.

Enjoy!

 

Video is 6 Minutes Long.
 

Our last day in Egypt… November 14, 2010

Filed under: Cairo — Kelocity @ 10:00 pm
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Originally 11/5/10…

On our last day in Egypt, we woke up on the train and got our stuff together. I actually slept surprisingly well (it’s amazing what a little sleeping pill can do, right!) I was just starting to think “maybe I was scared of this train for nothing…” and then I saw a huge cockroach in our room. Needless to say, I spent the last hour standing in the hallway with my bag zipped up waiting to jump off as soon as humanly possible. Ew.

ANNNNYWAYS… we dropped our bags off at the Victoria Hotel and headed out by bus to explore a little more of Cairo.

By the way, we could see (and hear) roosters from our hotel window… See them up there on the right?
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The city is busy, congested and dirty, but also a little bit charming.
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We headed to the Citadel which is a Persian style mosque high on a hill.
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We know it has Persian influence because of the star and crescent on the top.
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Our tour guide took us inside the mosque and taught us the proper etiquette for entering. First, you must take off your shoes, and women must cover their shoulders and knees.
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The courtyard was really beautiful with nice marble floors.
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Then Sherif taught us how to wash your hands, feet and mouth before going inside. (We didn’t really have to do this, but it was neat to see how the locals would do it.)
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Inside it was really pretty. The floor is carpeted because they pray on the floor.
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What a cool experience to see how other cultures practice their religion.
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Inside the mosque was also the tomb of Mohammed Ali.
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From the outside of the Mosque, we got some really nice views of Cairo.
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Then we headed out towards the desert to see the Step Pyramid in Saqqara. It was built in 2700 BC. They didn’t know how to build the sides slanted like a triangle, but they had the structure down pretty good. They used stone to build six layers.
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Surrounding the walls was a row of cobras who were thought to protect it.
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All around us were tombs, little pyramids and other excavated sites.
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This was thought to be the first ‘room’ in ancient history. It had walls, columns and a roof.
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Then we had our last group lunch together. Per usual, I stuck with rice, fries, bread and a little veggies (cooked). You might laugh, but I was one of the few that didn’t get sick at all on this trip!
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After lunch, we went to the Khan Al-Khalili market (which is the largest market in Cairo). It has been around since 1382AD.
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It was a maze of vendors and souvenirs. Some of it was overwhelming, but it was a fun experience.
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On our way back to the hotel, we saw one of the busiest markets for the locals. This is just a typical Saturday for them. Can you imagine?
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Driving in Cairo is just crazy. There are no traffic lights, no lanes and no rules!
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After cleaning up at the Hotel, we headed out towards the Pyramids for the ‘Light and Sound’ show. Once the sun goes down, people gather in seats to see the pyramids light up at night.
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It started off pretty neat, it was awesome to see them light up against the starry sky.
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But things got a little weird when the Sphinx began to talk via laser lights… (just sayin’)
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Definitely a little hokey, but I’d still recommend it. It’s worth it to sit and gaze at the pyramids in the desert at night.

The next morning, we packed up our bags, said good bye to our new friends, and headed off to the airport.
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By the way, the Cairo airport is the most disorganized thing I’ve ever seen in my life. We went through security four times. It was insane. But at least they had free wifi! (go figure!)

We are SO glad we went on this trip. It was the adventure of a lifetime.

And with that, I leave you with this. It was a store that sells placards… why on earth would anyone need a sign that says ‘chicken’?
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Thanks for following us on our journey to relive our trip. I hope you enjoyed the stories and pictures.

 

Luxor and the Valley of the Kings November 13, 2010

Filed under: Cairo — Kelocity @ 8:06 pm
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Originally 11/4/2010…

Today, we woke up at 5:30am. As the sun was rising, we headed towards the Valley of the Kings. On the way, we saw Hatshepsut’s temple in the Valley of the Queens.
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I was sad we couldn’t really get any closer than this. But apparently it’s closed for restoration now.

Our bus winded it’s way through the beautiful mountains until we came to the entrance of the Valley of the Kings.
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They didn’t allow cameras to be taken onto the grounds (major bummer), but it was kind of nice to look around and take it all in without worrying about capturing it on film. The tombs are literally in a valley in the middle of big stone mountains. You have to take a tram to get to the main entrance.
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There are 63 tombs that have been uncovered so far in the Valley. Each one is noted with ‘KV’ for ‘Kings Valley’. They are listed in order of being discovered. The newest one was found in 2006, I’m sure there are even more to find if they keep digging! It is the first tomb they’ve found since 1922 (when King Tut was discovered).


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We went inside six different tombs. Each was amazing, magical and breathtaking. They are almost 4,000 years old! You read about them in elementary school and it was really inspiring to see them in person. Just incredible.

We went inside the following tombs, click on the links for amazing 3D images and descriptions!

  • Ramses IV which is KV2.
  • Ramses VI which is KV9.
    Ramses III which is KV11.
  • Tuthmosis III which is KV34.
  • King Tut which is KV62.

Tuthmosis III (or Thutmes III) was the most impressive of all the tombs. It was carved high into the rock, and Sherif explained that it was the ‘Indiana Jones’ tomb. There were booby traps inside to deter grave diggers. You had to slide down slick rocks, jump over deep pits and cut holes into the rocks to get to the mummy and it’s treasures (of course people still found a way to get to the tomb, but it was worth a shot!) It was so fun climbing inside.

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The most decorative tomb was Ramses III, you could still see the paint on the ceilings as if it was still fresh.

[source]

But of course, the most famous tomb is King Tut. You have to pay extra to go into his, but it was totally worth it. Since he died so young, his tomb wasn’t elaborate or big, but it was jam packed with treasures when Howard Carter found it in 1922.

All of the tomb’s treasures, outer coffins and the golden mask are in the Egyptian Museum, but his sarcophagus is still inside the tomb.

[source]

On the other side of the tomb is King Tut himself. He doesn’t look like a boy king anymore, but his presence was definitely felt inside the tomb. Maybe they’re still afraid of the curse of king tut, or maybe it’s to make money from charging people to go look at him, but they left the body inside indefinitely. Oh Egypt.

[source]

It was such an amazing morning, we know we’re so lucky we got to see the things we saw. So much history in one little valley.
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We wondered, why would they pick this valley to bury their pharaohs? They believed that pyramids was the way to afterlife (directly to the sun). But pyramids became too risky since tomb robbers knew where to spot the treasure. But the top of this mountain looked like a pyramid! Perfect! Disguised AND still an express train to the sun.
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While we were driving out, we saw archeological crews still digging. I wonder what amazing things still have yet to be discovered.
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My memory is a little fuzzy on this one, but I think this is the Temple of Ramses. (The ordinary people were too afraid to go anywhere near the tombs, so they built temples to honor them instead).
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After that, we stopped quickly at the Colossi of Memnon. These were built in 1350 BC.
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There was quite a history behind these statues, they’ve been through a lot over the past 3,500 years.

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I love tour books, I always want to know what I’m looking at. lol NERD!
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Then we took the bus to one of the highlights of the trip… the Temple of Karnack.
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Sherif, our tourguide, led us back in time when he described the wonder inside.
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This was a view looking back towards the Nile. Before they built the dam, the nile used to flood all the way up to where I took this picture!
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Leading up to the main entrance was a row of Ram heads.
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Each ram had a god under it’s head. Partly to give the rams spiritual protection, but also to physically support the stone so it didn’t crack. Genius, no?
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Inside was a huge statue of Ramses II.
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Around the temple were giant walls. And they built these walls by creating mud ramps. After it was complete, they’d remove the temporary ramp… but in this temple, they stopped building before they had time. You can see it here…
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Inside the temple are huge pillars. They built these by filling the interior with sand as they built, then they’d climb up and keep building. When it was done, and the roof was on, they cleared all the sand out.
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The paint can still be seen on the ceiling!
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There was a really pretty drawing on one of the walls that shows two Egyptians in love. This was extremely rare in Egyptian art.
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Outside the temple, is a Scarab Beetle.
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You’re supposed to walk around the statue 7 times and make 7 wishes.
So around and around I go!
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Nearby is the sacred lake that the priests used to use as holy water.
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It’s a long story, but one of the pharaohs didn’t like his wife (who commissioned the obelisk) so he covered it up. This is the reason it is now one of the best preserved obelisks in Egypt. (Joke’s on him, right?)
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Then we headed back to the boat to shower and pack up. Our three night cruise down the Nile was over.
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We will miss this boat. It was a lot of fun. (In the background, you can see the Valley of the Kings lit up.
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It was time to head out of Luxor. I assure you it’s MUCH better than the one in Las Vegas!
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Back to the train station for another night sleeping in a closet train compartment. Before we got on the train, we went to a supermarket to buy dinner. This consisted of Cookies, Nutella, Kit Kat with Hazelnut Cream and Pringles. Yes. I was definitely nutritionally lacking on this trip.
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It wasn’t so bad though. You make the best of it.
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Tomorrow is our last day in Egypt. There is one more post left to share. I hope you are enjoying them!

Make sure you enter the contest! I’ll be picking a random winner, so give it your best shot!

 

Exploring Luxor November 12, 2010

Filed under: Cairo — Kelocity @ 2:00 pm
Tags: , ,

Originally 11/3/2010…

We woke up today at 6am to get to the Luxor Temples before the crowds. Our tour company is “Contiki”… so our motto on the trip was to get to the sights before “Antiki” (get it?) lol

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Our first stop was the Temple of Horus in Edfu.
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It was built in 200BC and is the most well-preserved temple in Egypt because it was covered in sand for nearly 2,000 years.

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See the ‘windows’ carved into the sides? These didn’t used to be there. In 300AD, when Christianity was starting to boom, people moved into the temple and cut holes for sunlight.
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The temple is really deep, there are several rooms leading down a long hallway.
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At the end of the hallway, was a granite shrine that originally housed a boat that would take the god once a year to the courtyard where the people could have a look.
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Here is a depiction of carrying the god out of the temple.

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Don’t these look like they were just carved yesterday? It’s amazing.

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When people moved inside the temple in 300AD, the Egyptian religion had long been forgotten. The new religious dwellers scratched the images of the old gods off the walls.
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But even though the faces of the gods are gone, the stories scratched into the walls remain.
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Written here is a long play that the people could read.
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Back on the boat, we enjoyed another relaxing day of lounging, reading, blogging and sleeping. Smile
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Midday, our boats passed through some locks in the River. Because of the Dams, the water level changes and you have to go through like the Panama Canal.
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It’s a slow process and as we waited, kids swim along the boat and throw empty film canisters onboard. They want you to put money in it and throw it back to them.
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It’s so sad because they are so poor.
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In the afternoon, they had teatime on the ship.

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In the evening, we went to a Papyrus shop and learned how they make it.
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We drove back along the Nile and saw the Valley of the Kings all lit up! (We’re heading to there tomorrow!)
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Our next stop was Luxor Temple, built by Ramses II.

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The focal point was the pink granite obelisk in front. There used to be two, but the second one was given to France as a gift.

[source]

Recently discovered was a two mile row of Sphinxes connecting Luxor Temple to Karnack Temple. One by one they are restoring them.
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Inside, the temple was breathtaking.
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Since it had been buried under sand for nearly 2,000 years, it was very well preserved. No one knew it was even there, and they continued to build on top of it in the 13th century. When they excavated, they left the Mosque above the temple walls.

On the left, up above, you can see the original door!
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There was also lots of color preserved here as well.
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Me and Ramses II.

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I wonder how many more buried temples and treasures they’ll find in the next hundred years. This stuff is amazing!
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Stay tuned for the Valley of the Kings, King Tut and Karnack!

And don’t forget to enter the contest!

 

Abu Simbel

Filed under: Cairo — Kelocity @ 7:00 am
Tags: , ,

Originally 11/2/2010…

 

This morning, our wake up call was at 3:30am!! Sounds early, but we had a flight to catch that would take us to Abu Simbel. It was only a 30 minute flight, and I slept the whole time. When we arrived, the sun was just coming up.
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See this big mountain? Do you know what’s on the other side of it?
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The magnificent Abu Simbel.
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Abu Simbel was  built in 13BC by Ramses II. Originally, it was carved into a single piece of rock on a cliff. However in the 1960s, when they built the dam on the Nile, they had to move the temple. Otherwise, it would have been forever under water.

So they literally cut the temple out of the earth, block by block, and removed it from this place here:
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And put it on higher ground here:
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In this image from google earth, you can see the chunk of earth they cut out when they moved it. (Isn’t that amazing?)

Capture

Each one of these statues is Ramses II.

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So what happened to the second head? There was an earthquake and a rock rolled down the cliff and smashed it off. Now it lays in front:
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The hieroglyphics were really amazing.
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Inside, the temple is stunning (but you can’t take pictures). The most amazing part is that deep inside the temple, there is a statue of Ramses that used to be covered in gold. Twice a year, when the sun rose, it would hit at just the right angle and the rays would reach inside and light it up.

[source]

Next to Ramses’ temple was another smaller one that he built for his wife, Nefertari.
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With the flooding of the Nile, it was a gorgeous backdrop for such a stunning work of art. There is so much history that goes with Abu Simbel. Google it to read more!
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Then we headed back to the airport to head back to Aswan.
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Once back on the boat, we relaxed, read, blogged and napped all afternoon.
(can you find me? always with a nose in a book.)
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We enjoyed the stunning views of the river bank as we cruised.
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And as the sun set, we remembered how lucky we are to be on this amazing adventure together.
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Finally, our boat stopped at our next destination: Kom Ombo.
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Kom Ombo was built in 180BC by Cleopatra.
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But Cleopatra wasn’t Egyptian, she was Greek. Her influence can be seen on the design of the temple.
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Some of the original color can still be seen (this amazes me).
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Our tour guide Sherif told us so many stories about the sculptures.
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The temple was originally constructed to worship the crocodiles!
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The Egyptians feared the crocodiles that lived in the Nile, so they thought if they built a temple to worship them, maybe they wouldn’t  hurt any more people. Every year, they trapped a crocodile in this well…
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…and put him on a pedastal and gave him food, clothes and jewelry.IMG_1919 (2) (Small)

The ceiling is still intact too, the paint still quite vibrant.
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Seeing the temple at night was such a unique experience. The crowds are gone and you can walk around and explore on your own.
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When we got back to the boat, we had a party and everyone had to dress up like an Egyptian. There were so many great costumes, but I used what I had and improvised.
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Irving bought a shirt at the Bazaar too. What do you think?
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Stay tuned for pictures from Luxor!

And don’t forget to enter the contest here to win a great Egyptian prize!

 

 
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