Day 287… After farewells to the felucca crew, we take a private van to Luxor (approx 5 hrs). On the way at a pleasantly dusty and incomplete pit stop, I notice something that resonates with me on some level for some reason. The Middle East seems to be an almost exact analogy for Central America. .. Unfinished buildings… way of life… livelihoods. .. beggars and hawkers… satisfied lives mostly despite a vast difference in currency and lifestyle of tourists… generally happy people… and even an oddly similar shape to the continent (Africa and South America) as well as bizarrely coincidentally mirrored pyramidical temple construction and ancient beleifs. I wonder if South Africa will mirror South America?
Anyhow… back to the trip. So today we check in and then jump back into the old bus to continue on to the spectacular temple complex of Karnak (we do the Valley of the Kings tomorrow), Luxor is full of wonderfully preserved reminders of the Pharaohs.
The Karnak Temple Complex, is a series of decayed temples, chapels, pylons, and other buildings constructed during the Ptolemic Era reign of Senusret I. Note that there are other pharaohs that helped build the holy city but Senusret I is the most important. ‘Karnak’, translated as “The Most Selected of Places” was the main Egyptian religious center during the eighteenth dynasty Theban Triad who widely worshiped the god Amun. Below are some interesting facts about the ancient temple complex.
Karnak is an open air museum and the largest ancient religious site in the world. It is one of the top tourist magnets to Egypt. The area consists of huge pillars, towering columns, massive avenues of sphinxes, and an obelisk that stands 97-feet tall and weighs 323-tons. a whopping 30 pharaohs contributed to the construction of Karnak, and this list includes Queen Hatshepsut who ruled for over 30 years… was one of the most well respected Egyptian rulers… and constantly felt she had to prove herself as capable as any king… even going so far as having masculinised statues of herself erected… having an architect lover but never marrying… and being bad ass enough to build HER tomb in the Valley of the Kings and NOT in the Valley of the Queens.. but with a tunnel leading from 1 area to the other.
Over eighty thousand servants and slaves were assigned the task of serving Amon-Ra in Karnak. To show off his opulence and power, over 5,000 statues were erected in his honor. Karnak is the second most visited place in Egypt after the Pyramids of Giza.
In the evening at dinner, our guide organises a 2nd honeymoon cake for our 2nd set of honeymooners, Nikki and Tauso (Jedi and Madz were 1st with a cake). Hilariously… the staff at this restaurant didn’t get that memo and tried to bring a birthday cake, before our guide Mohammed leapt at them to remove the bday sign and do the across-the-neck “NO… CUT!” signs and JUST stopped them singing ‘happy bday’… so instead they sang them ‘happy bday’ but in Arabic to do the backpedal. Lols.