Saturday, February 11, 2012
Saturday, Feb 11th, Kom Ombo and Edfu
After breakfast, we walked off the gangplank of the ship into our next ruin. It’s hard to do better than getting a guide to a ruin who’s a local archeologist actually still doing work on the place. Sayed shared his enthusiasm with lots of details about his hometown ruin, Kom Ombo (hill of gold). A temple dedicated to Sobek (crocodile god) and Horus (falcon god of the sky), and built over 400 years in the late dynastic period, the area was a major marketplace for African elephants brought to fight against the armies of the Seleucids, who used Indian elephants. Most notable are reliefs depicting medical equipment, and probably the world’s first advertisement for a cure for male potency. Also on the grounds is a Nileometer, using well levels to determine the level of taxes levied. Making a negative reference to the ex-President Mubarak, Sayed reminded us that he couldn’t have said that a year ago. Nearby is a newly-opened crocodile museum featuring mummified crocodiles.
Back on the ship, we sailed down the Nile enjoying lunch and relaxing in our cabins. Watching the Nile shore drift by, and passing several fisherman and riverfront farmers, I wondered if Pharonic kings 4,000 years ago had it any better.
Docking at Edfu, our transportation consisted of four horse-drawn carriages selected from among a dozen offered, with the winners being those with the healthiest looking horses. Ours was a seven-year old mare named Leila, driven by some teenagers, Mustafa and Ali. With our carriage-mate, Gabrielle, cautioning them not to abuse Leila, they nevertheless pushed her to a gallop in order to stay in the lead position or to impress the town’s girls on the street. At the ruin, I learned that a woman named Dorothy Brooke has established a foundation here to provide medical care and shelter for the working carriage horses. From the looks of the majority of the horses, food and rest seem to be sorely needed.
Saturday, Feb 11th, zKom Ombo & Edfu
At 4pm, we enjoyed High Tea on the deck. There are only about 40 passengers, and 12 crew aboard. While it’s delightful not to have to fight crowds at these ruins, I worry a little about the Egyptian economy. The vendors are still polite, but that might not last if fewer and fewer tourists show up this summer.
To see the photos from today’s adventures, click on: Saturday, Feb 11th, Kom Ombo and Edfu