Wednesday, February 23, 2011


TODAY: I read a blog that is written by a woman in NYC who “unschools” her children. She is very creative and a wonderful writer. On Monday she wrote about the unrest in the world today. Here is a portion of her blog: A dictator toppled by his people, and revolution spreading. Young people who surf the net and communicate through Twitter and Facebook can no longer be told that a dictator is acting in their best interests. George Bush said we needed to ‘spread democracy’, but in truth, democracy isn’t democracy if it’s forced on a people. If it’s only offered to those we think we can control. The events in Egypt, Tunisia and now in many other pockets of the Middle East are proof that democracy is best – strongest and most persuasive – when it comes from within. From the oppressed people themselves. Just as it did in our country over 200 years ago. “

For more pull up Amy’s blog at:

Tuesday, November 29th, 2005 Luxor Temple and museum

We spent the night docked in Esna. Jim awoke early and took some wonderful sunrise photos from the window of our stateroom. After a leisurely breakfast Jim joined a group headed out to see the local temple. This one is unusual because it is below ground level. For hundreds of years only the top was above ground. They have dug all the earth away from about one-tenth of the temple; the rest is still buried under the town. Because of being buried, the color is still fairly good on many of the bas-reliefs on the temple walls. I decided that I could miss one temple and stayed aboard ship to wash my hair and work on my computer in the lounge after taking advantage of the internet access while we were docked. Telephones and therefore the internet only work when we are docked. The internet fee was $10.00 for one-half hour.

Everyone returned from the temple tour and we left the dock to cruise up and down the Nile between Edfu and Esna. Twice a year the locks at Esna are closed for maintenance. Yep…we hit one of the closures. Actually, the locks are still open today but if the ship proceeded north to Luxor through the locks, they would be unable to return in time for the next tour group. So, we’re cruising up and down the Nile today and will have to make several hour long bus trips to and from Luxor in order to complete our scheduled sightseeing opportunities.

Lots of confusion with guests about the issue of the locks and what was happening that required busing to Luxor. Basically, many of the people did not read their information sheets carefully prior to coming on the cruise. We’d been told in Cairo that the hot air balloon event was not going to be possible for our tour group. Lots of unhappy people, especially Jim and I, as we’d really planned on that happening! Several of the men, but mostly Jim, had been quietly working with Rita since Cairo to try to reschedule the balloon rides. Jim had even agreed to pay the extra cost to stay at a hotel in Luxor the night before if necessary. About 11 am, Rita called a special meeting and announced that she had been able to convince the tour company to arrange for the balloon ride. This was an optional event and at first she gave a price that was $100. higher than anticipated; that created a big up roar; but then she corrected herself and twelve of us signed up for the event. They hired an extra bus to take us to Luxor at 4 am tomorrow morning. That also required an extra set of security guards. Nearly everyone in both groups planned to go but they still needed the bus and security guards for the few that didn’t want to go on the trip. Lots of planning behind the scene for the tour company; but we were happy that they did go the extra mile when we asked for the event to be rescheduled.

After lunch we enjoyed the afternoon cruise on the Nile and arrived back at the docks in Esna about 4 pm. We then boarded our buses for an hours drive to Luxor to visit the Luxor Temple and Luxor Museum tonight. Another issue for travel between Esna and Luxor is that we were required to join a police caravan with other tour groups and private cars for security reasons. The chef had prepared a box snack for each of us to have on the bus as dinner was scheduled after our return at 9 pm.

The Luxor Temple was spectacular to see at night. We arrived just as the lights were coming on at dusk. Difficult to film but the contrast between the lights and the blue of the early evening sky were wonderful. The Luxor Temple was built by the New Kingdom Pharaoh Amenhotep III. Over the centuries other rulers extended and rebuilt this temple and then it eventually became buried under sand and debris. It was rediscovered in 1881 and when the sand, rubble and a small village were cleared away the interiors were found to be nearly perfectly preserved. In one of the courts we were shown the area where a remarkable collection of statutes was discovered in 1989 under the flooring in a secret chamber.

Our next stop was the Luxor Museum where we were able to actually see the collection of statutes in a special addition built to house them at the museum. This museum also has an exquisite collection of Theban relics that were carefully gathered from the temples and necropolises of Luxor. Luxor was also known as Thebes in ancient times and was one of the capitals of Egypt. Across the Nile, on the West Bank, lies the world’s richest archaeological site known as the Valley of the Kings.

We had another hour’s ride back to Esna accompanied by our police escorts, arriving about 9 pm for dinner. The guests started disappearing after each course, such a shame as this was our farewell dinner and the chef had prepared a special dinner of six courses ending with a flaming (actually sparklers stuck in the top) baked Alaska for dessert. But people were tired and thinking about the early morning call for our big day tomorrow; Jim left after the soup course. When we left the dining room we discovered that the crew had been busy and we had six large towel creatures on the floor of the lobby and more hanging from the ceilings of the hallway to our rooms. All of this extra work was done in hopes of bigger tips in the morning as we leave the ship for the last time. I was so glad that we’d taken the time to pack our bags before leaving for Luxor; it made the early morning much easier.

A note about our trip to Luxor: coming home we experienced another drive without headlights. They would flash them occasionally, but on the whole we were driving on dark roads without headlights! Also I noted a different type of security. They have built what I called “pillboxes” reminiscent of WW II; a small box with windows on top of a tall pillar that was reached by ladder. We saw them regularly along the highway and inside of the towns and “yes” there were police officers in all of them; even during the night!

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