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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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.

 

Exploring Luxor November 12, 2010

Filed under: Cairo — Kelocity @ 2:00 pm
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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.

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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
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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?)

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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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