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Israel, Jordan, and Egypt 2011 (Part 2 of 2)

 

13 days: September 16, 2011 to September 28, 2011

My Middle East Tour of Isreal Jordan EgyptThis was a faith-based tour with Globus named "Through the Ages: Israel, Jordan & Egypt"   http://globusjourneys.com/product.aspx?trip=1TU

 

Day 1 to Day 6 - Go to Israel portion (PART 1) of the Trip Journal

Day 7  Thursday September 22 Eilat to Petra, Jordan

Day 8  Friday September 23 Petra Tour

Day 9  Saturday September 24 Petra, Kerak, Wadi Mujib, Mukawir, Madaba, Mount Nebo, Dead Sea

Day 10 Sunday September 25 Dead Sea, Amman Airport, Cairo, Egypt

Day 11  Monday September 26 Cairo, The Pyramids at Giza

Day 12 Tuesday September 27 Cairo. Free day

Day 13 Wednesday September 28 Cairo

Go to THE EPISODE

Go to end of Part 2

DAY 7  Thursday September 22 Eilat to Petra, Jordan

GLOBUS Itinerary  Enjoy a leisurely morning before crossing the border into Jordan and arriving in the rose-red city of Petra, the ancient capital of Jordan.

Tonight, you may wish to join an optional excursion to experience Petra by night. (Breakfast, Dinner)

 

Our plan for today: Breakfast is from 7-10, 11 am checkout. Tour the area, lunch around noon, 1 pm border crossing to Jordan.

 

We didn't have to check out of the hotel until  11 am this morning so I did not have a wake up call.  I tried to sleep late, but it was so bright in the room I could not sleep very late.  I went down to breakfast around 9:30. Wow!  What a huge food selection!!! This is a vacation destination for Europeans so they had every indulgence on the breakfast buffet.  Belgian waffles, pancakes with syrup or chocolate sauce. There was, of course an Espresso station where you could place your individual order.  I have seen that at every hotel so far. Nice.   I had great vegetable pie and fruit. Daniel sat with me.  He was asking me a lot of questions about my lifestyle, job, and retirement. We had a great conversation.

After breakfast, I walked out to the promenade to buy a paper.  The English Israel newspaper is the "Haaretz".

20.34 Shekels ($5.40 USD)

 

Everyone in our group was gathering in the lobby with our luggage. Jen arrived and I helped her check out.  I had to leave the counter when she started complaining to staff about no one waited on her at dinner last night. I didn't want to hear it. 

Our bus was waiting outside in the hot sun until we could load.  Daniel asked me to run and find Jen.  She was lounging on the chair outside by the pool. I interrupted her conversation with the staff to tell her that the bus was leaving then I ran back to the bus.

 

 

We did a tour of Eilat. 

The shoreline in this area goes like this:  

Saudi Arabia

Jordan - The city is Aqaba Jordan has 12 miles of the Red Sea access given to them by Saudi Arabia.

 Israeli - The city is Eilat (where we stayed) Israel has less than 10 miles of shore.

Egypt - The city is Taba.  Daniel explained that Egypt got all the beach after this point in the peace agreement. Part of the agreement was one mile of beach past this point.  Israel had to give it back to Egypt.  Israel had built a Hilton Hotel on that part of the beach. Egypt got the hotel when Israel gave the land back

 

Eilat is a Free Trade Zone so everything you buy is tax-free.

Population: In 2010 the population of Eilat was 47,600 with a yearly growth rate of 0.6%

59% of Eilat's 12th graders earned matriculation certificates (what?!?)

Average Eilat salary is $1,600, average Israel salary is $2400.

In 2004 they got 4.8 days of rain. Since 2005 there has not been more than 2 days of rain per year.

 

We drove along the Red Sea toward Egypt.  We passed a huge port where there were hundreds of imported cars just sitting there. The cars are waiting to be transported.

We saw the pipes that are hooked to the oil tankers that are going to Mediterranean sea.

We passed the "dolphin reef" You can rent glass bottom boats to look at all the underwater sea life that lives in the beautiful turquoise water.  There is a Club Med here.

Very close to Egypt is the aquarium.  There was a large, very tall tower where the where the marine observatory is located.

 

As we passed, Jen asked "Is this one of the wonders of the world?"

 Daniel had to ask her to repeat the question twice before he could understand her question.  His response "No".

We got to the Taba border crossing to Egypt. 

We did not stop, but I got a quick photo of the sign to the right.

We drove about 10 minutes away and arrived about 12:30 at the Yitzhek border crossing to Jordan.

We are leaving Eilot or Eilat or Eiliat (all is correct).  Here is the first building that we encounter:

 

We had to gather all our stuff and go through this checkpoint to another building. At the second building, you walk up to window to pay.  Bev and Doug went first.  Then I paid.  I think I remember it was about 100 shekels.  I paid in Euros.  I still have more Euros to spend!  After that building, you go across this nice crosswalk: 

 

 

The drag everything about 2 blocks up to the next checkpoint in the little hut in this picture:

A  man in the hut asked us our plans.  I explained that we were going to see Petra, then fly home.  I didn't want to confuse the situation by saying we were going to Egypt...

After the hut, you finally cross into Jordan.  I met our  new tour guide. "Samer" seems very nice.

Then sit and wait, wait, wait. I walked to the little store  and found my Jordan souvenir - A silver spoon labeled "Jordan" to add to my collection.  I also changed some money and currency exchange booth.  I got Jordanian Dinar (JD).  It's about the same rate as the Euro  where 1 JD = 1.42 USD = 1 Euro.

Dave and Pat rolled across the border next.  We saw the sisters rolling their stuff to the guard gate hut. 

Finally, here comes Jen ----- 

She had her stuff on a rolling luggage cart!  Someone said that she actually had the gall to ask an Israeli guard to carry her stuff!!!  That was not going to happen. That's probably when they located the rolling cart for her 2 suitcases, red carry-on bag, large purse AND a small boom box.  No kidding.  She didn't read the Globus rules that a they are "unable to accept a second suitcase". 

 

When Jen arrived, we encouraged her to exchange her money. At the Kibbutz yesterday, she got over 400 Shekels (about $100 USD). She used about a 100 Shekels ($26 USD) at the border crossing and she had 20 shekels left in her wallet. Hmm, where  did she spend the rest of the money in one afternoon. Whatever.

At the currency exchange counter, she left the money in her wallet and pulled out her Visa card.  I had to explain that they would not take credit cards in this shack and she could not spend the 20 Shekels in Jordan, so she had to convert the Israeli money to Jordan money. Done. Let's go. 

The photo to the right shows everyone helping with her luggage.

 

Photo below is everyone handling their own luggage rolling to our new tour bus in Jordan.

 

In the Jordan bus, we all sat in the same seats where we sat in the Israel bus. Bev and Doug in the back, then the sisters, then Dave and Pat in the 2nd row, they told me to sit in the front row again.  Jen looked at the passenger seat in the new bus, but she ended up sitting in the single seat row.

It's 1:40 and we are in Jordan now!!!  In the city of Aqaba.  I can hear Lawrence of Arabia crossing the desert and saying "Aqaba!  On to Aqaba! "

About Aqaba and Jordan

There is a very busy port in Aqaba

There are no taxes in Aqaba. It is a tax free port.

It is 350 km to Amman. About a 3.5 hour drive.

4 countries border Jordan: Iraq, Saudi, Syria, Israel.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------->

In 1967 Jordan lost the West Bank to Israel.  In the July 14, 1967 Time Magazine (see cover to the right) reported that Jordan's King Hussein is privately disgusted at the postwar performance of his fellow Arabs: their invective, their whining - they considered it unfair of Israel to have used pilots who spoke Arabic to confuse their foes. "It is apparent," said Hussein, "that we have not yet learned well enough how to use the weapons of modern warfare."   -------------------------------------------------------->

In 1994, there was a Jordan-Israel peace agreement and there have been "no problems since this time. And the Israel embassy is still here"  .

King Hussein passed away 1999 with cancer. Queen Norah was born in America.  She was married to King Hussein of Jordan for more than two decades before his death in 1999.

The have 6 kids from the king. She is now here in Jordan.   The article in December 8, 2007 Marie Claire magazine is here:  More Than a Pretty Face: Queen Noor of Jordan http://www.marieclaire.com/world-reports/inspirational-women/citizen-queen  also see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_Noor_of_Jordan

King Hussein's son is now King of Jordan. King Abdullah II.

There are 120 members in parliament.  It is under the kings control.


Population of Jordan is 7 million. Half of the population of Jordan (3.5 million) live in Amman. Population of Petra is 45,000.

92% Muslim, 7% Christian, 1% other religion.

All of the Muslims (100%) are Sunni here in Jordan. In Syria is 35% Shia, and Iraq 72% Shia Muslim

We drove through the mountains. They are made of sandstone.

We are in the Wadi valley.  Jaba or Java? Means "mountain".

The highest point in the country is Jabal Umm al Dami 6000 ft. (1800 m) above sea level. Lowest point is Dead Sea -1378 ft. ( 420m).

 

Language is Arabic and English.

We had to stop the bus at a checkpoint.  An officer to came on the bus and welcomed us to Jordan.

At Mt. Nebo the red wine is good.

There is no compulsory militia service here any more since the peace agreement.

There is no oil here in Jordan. They have to import it. It is too deep to drill to it.

Jordan is rich with minerals. Phosphorous, magnesium.

There are high taxes here. 16% sales tax. They pay income tax once a year.

They have a serious tourism problem now. People aren't coming because they think there is a problem in the middle east.

Gasoline is about $1.20 USD per liter of gas is about $5 USD a gallon.

He said "1 gallon is 20? Liters here in Jordan." that doesn't sound right.

There is about 40mm of rainfall a year.

There are about 30 camels grazing in the field that we are passing.  All camels here have 1 hump.

There are Artesian water wells here in this area so you see people living here and there are towns on the desert highway.

Per Sam:  They are trying to stop kids selling to tourists so do not buy from them. Tell them to go back to school.  They go to Primary, elementary, and high school. Private university is very expensive.

There is Government health insurance, but you can only go to government hospital. Private hospitals are very expensive.

I've heard at least 3 different stories about how the red sea was named.

 

 

It is 2:50 he said we have another hour to the hotel. Nobody wanted a bathroom stop. We also did not stop for lunch because we ate breakfast so late this morning. No one wanted to stop to eat. I'm glad I had bread from yesterday and peanut butter crackers in my bag on the bus.

We traveled on the blue highway on the map #15. At Abu A-Lasan we are turning West on #5 tan road that goes North to Petra.

Sam went over our plan for tomorrow:  6 am wake up call. Breakfast is from 6:30 to 10:30 am. 7:30am leave hotel. Walk from hotel to get into Petra.  Well have a guided tour in the morning, lunch, then free time to enjoy the site and walk back to the hotel.   The Petra walking tour is about 6 km. It is 1200 meters high.  It will be hot. It is ok to wear shorts.

 

Around 4 pm we arrived at the hotel. Wow!  What a beautiful lobby! The welcome drink was mango juice or apple juice.

 

Hotel in PETRA Sept 22 to Sept 24, 2011 . We were supposed to stay at

Mvenpick Nabatean Castle    Taibah Street  Petra HKJ-71811  Jordan (962) 321-5720 1  Fax (962) 321-5720 9    http://www.moevenpick-hotels.com/en/pub/hotels_resorts/worldmap/petra_nabatean_castle.cfm

 

It is 10 minute drive from the entrance to the historic site of Petra. Situated in a breathtaking secluded position on a hillside at an altitude of 1,400 meters.

But that hotel was being renovated, so we got moved to this bigger and better and closer hotel:

Mvenpick Petra - Located directly at the entrance to the historic city of Petra, the luxurious Mvenpick Resort Petra is certainly one of the most notable hotels in the Middle East.

Mvenpick Resort Petra    P.O. Box 214     71810 Petra    Jordan Phone:+962 3 215 71 11    Fax:+962 3 215 71 12  E-mail:   resort.petra@moevenpick.com 

http://www.moevenpick-hotels.com/en/pub/hotels_resorts/worldmap/petra.cfm

http://www.youtube.com/moevenpickjo

https://www.facebook.com/Moevenpick.Resort.DeadSea

 

 

The temperature in Eilat was 38 degrees C. In Amman the temp is 28 and the gauge at the Petra hotel read 29.

 

 

 

My room is very, very, very nice. I looked out the window and I saw the entrance to Petra from my hotel room!  In the parking lot I could also see about 20 tour buses and cars parked all along the street.  Tomorrow is ALL WALKING for our group since we right by the Petra entrance.

 

 

 

Dinner is included tonight and they serve from 6:30 to 10:30 pm. Water comes with dinner and also tea or coffee after dinner.

 I was very hungry since I only had a snacky lunch. The hallways in this hotel are an experience.  My room was on the third floor.  I gazed down into beautifully ornate foyer room.  I see the sisters and Jen.   Debbie and Jen were having a beer.   I waved at them and walked down the stairs.

We sat a short while, then they opened the doors for dinner.  Yum, yum, yum and more yummy stuff.

 

 

 

All throughout dinner Sherrie needed to tell Debbie to calm down.  That is why Debbie was having a beer. I would have done the same.  I don't know exactly what happened, but evidently Debbie ordered some box lunches for tomorrow.  Jen expected Debbie to get her one also.  Jen was upset that Debbie didn't order (and pay) for a box lunch for her.  Sherrie also refused to pay for Jen's beer.

So Jen did not join us at dinner. She got some food and brought it back to the foyer room to eat.  She sat out there all by herself for over an hour.

After I left dinner, I sat down with her and mentioned that it would a really super good idea for her to be on time the next day. I calmly explained that she has been late every single day so far so it would really help our group if she could join us and be ready on time.  She seemed receptive, but little did I know what would transpire that morning and the next day.....

The plot leading up to "The Episode" thickens. 

Back to Top

 

DAY 8  Friday September 23 Petra Tour

GLOBUS Itinerary  A full day of guided sightseeing in Petra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.  Lost to the world for centuries, it is located in the biblical land of Moab.  Enjoy an unforgettable experience as you walk down the SIQ, the narrow gorge made famous in the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Stand in awe in front of the famed TREASURY.  In addition to seeing numerous spectacular temples and tombs created out of the rose-colored sandstone, sip tea in a BEDOUIN TENT.  

Breakfast and Dinner included today.

   

My wake up call this morning was scheduled for 6:30, but I was awakened long before that. At breakfast I wrote in my journal:

OK. This is a first. I cannot recall ever being this mad on a trip.  She crossed the line last night. I am sitting here at breakfast trying to contain myself. I'm actually shaking she has me so mad."

My morning actually started at 3 am.  And Jen made sure the entire day got worse from that point forward.

It was 3 am and I am awakened by very awful noises.  Howling?!?  The odd noises went on and on.  I would not call it singing. It was on the verge of yodeling. I heard slurred, garbled words and unintelligible babble. Like speaking in tongues? Maybe. Then there were the long hoooots at various ranges of notes in no seemingly particular order. It is definitely Jen.  I try to stay calm.  I look out the peep hole in the door.  Is she wandering the halls of hotel?? 

She finds a note, holds it for awhile, then she slides to another lower note. She belts that one out as loud as possible. Then she finds a higher note.  Lordy, lordy.  What is she trying to sing?  It sounds very eerie. Gawd.

I rummage through my suitcase and I find my extra big ear plugs.  I cram them in my ears and imagine that I am on the boat in the Maldives rocking me to sleep. 

The god-awful gawkward squawking continues in my sleep.

Then the phone rings.  My wake up call already?  It can't be.  I look at the clock and it says 5:40 am.  I lift the receiver and I hear this chipper voice "Susan, good morning.  How are you?" It's Jen.

What the F?  It is more than an hour before I wanted to get out of bed.  I try to tell her "I'm asleep and I don't want to get up until 6:30."

I hang up.  I can't get back to sleep. I eventually get up.

The phone rings again.  Its still before the time I was supposed to get up. I don't answer it.  I'm already upset about being awake and hearing her gawking since 3 am. I can't deal with her.

So after 6:30 am I hear noise in the hall.  It is a luggage cart. There is a knock on the room next to me.

I hear a loud clear yell "Just a minute!"

She is in the room next to me!

I hear him loading her luggage and he asks "Are you leaving today?"

The first thing that crossed by mind Yeah! Maybe she arranged something with Sam.  Our group is not leaving the hotel today. We are actually staying another night in this hotel.  But maybe she made other plans.

I actually watched the luggage cart go past my room with Jen behind it.  I made a conscious decision right then to NOT interfere.  I assumed that she knew what she was doing. And whatever she was up to, I did not want to get involved. 

So I make it down to breakfast.

I saw her sitting at 4-person table.  My heart skips a beat as she approaches me. 

"Good morning Susan!"

I barely got out "Morning.  I cant talk right now. I have to go."

I tried to move away.  She follows me.

I tell her "Do not talk to me.  You crossed the line last night with singing and phone calls and I am very upset right now. I cannot talk to you because I'm afraid of what I will say. So I don't want to say anything."

She responds with "Oh stop with that."  Then she fans her hand at me (as if to brush me away).

I'm not sure, but I think an apology at that point would have been very appropriate and received.  But that was not to be.

In all the mornings that she has been late, or she has held up or delayed the group, I honestly don't recall that she has acknowledged that she has ever done or did any wrong.  She can't/doesn't realize that she is an integral part of this group and she is single-handedly pulling it apart by requiring that everything revolve around her schedule and desires.  Like our tour at the make-up factory couldn't start until she was pulled away from talking to the Africans outside the building.  We had to wait on her to rejoin the group.  Our tour every day can't start until she chooses to join the group.  It is her small way (her only way) of being noticed in the group?!

Anyway, back to my breakfast with my upset stomach and shaking hands.  Maybe a very heartfelt, meaningful  "I'm sorry" from Jen would have really turned me around right then, but that never happened.

I grappled with the spoon to ladle pieces of slippery fruit into a little bowl. I was having trouble keeping my hand steady. There was a European (French?) lady next to me who had witnessed then entire exchange between me and Jen.  She took pity on me and said some very nice, consoling words that made me feel a lot better at that moment. 

I could tell in that instant that this woman had seen/experienced a very similar nasty experience that I was enduring at the moment.  It is very comforting to be around fellow tried and true genuine travelers that can relate to the situation.  I recall the African safari where everyone helped the one sick person in need. That sick person was my roommate the night before and she was really sick.  It was amazing how every single person on that tour helped her in every moment of need.  Well, that was definitely not going to happen on this tour with Jen.  Jen has succeeded in alienating us in the group.  Making everyone keep their distance so at least we could try to enjoy the tour.

So I take my breakfast food to the smallest table in the room. I don't want anyone to join me because I have to calm down before I can be a nice person.  I still need some time to deal with this and try to get over it. 

Maybe I will do those 800 steps to the monastery at Petra today.  That should help. I took an Aleve already.

I was mumbling to myself and trying to write it out.  That is my therapy.  I don't want to bother anyone else, I just want to get it all out on paper.  Yes, I realize I have a writing problem.  I am very fortunate that my job in the real world is a Technical Writer.  I diverge.

So I'm at breakfast trying to contain myself. Pat walks in and I told I needed to be alone. I gave her a quick synopsis.  Pat gave me a pat on the back. OK.

We were scheduled to depart at 7:30.  Sam is there and he realizes that he has to deal with Jen. She has been sitting there with her luggage (on the cart) since 7 am.  I don't know what transpired, but at 7:40 we left the hotel.

Our hotel is in such a fabulous location.  We walked one block to the Petra entrance. 

Our Globus tour includes the (hefty) entrance price to Petra. The price for Tourists (overnight and cruise visitors) is :

50 JD ($70 USD) for 1 Day

55 JD ($77 USD) for 2 Days

60 JD ($84 USD) for 3 Days

The ticket price includes a horse ride out at the end of the tour.  But he said we should tip about 3 dinars.   If you want to ride a donkey from the restaurant to the monastery, you should only pay 7 dinars.  He said we can enjoy Petra and shopping until 7 pm.  Here's my ticket

 

 

About Petra

3 years ago they announced Petra as one of the 7 wonders of the world. Petra has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985.

Petra is a Greek word for Rock

It lies on the slope of the valley running from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba.

It is famous for its rock cut architecture and water conduits system. 

There have been human settlements here since 6th century BC

It was the Capital city of the Nabataeans from 3rd Century BC to 1st Century AD (4 centuries!)  They ruled the trade routes from Arabia, Egypt, to Africa. Petra population up to 30,000 people.  Ability to  control and conserve water was the key to their success. They found the Edomite people.   The Bible and The Torah describe the Edomites as descendants of Esau the eldest son of the Jewish patriarch Isaac.
106 AD the Roman Empire took over.

4th Century Christianity arrived

7th Century Muslims

12th Century Crusaders arrived. 

14 th Century it was abandoned and lay forgotten until 1812 when Johann Ludwig Burckhardt discovered the rose-red city

 

We started at Visitors Centre (blue dot on the right).  "The Episode"  happened at #8. I rode in a police car from #8 to the exit.

 

From the ENTRANCE to The Siq to The Treasury

Here we are at the entrance.  Sam is walking ahead and we are all stopped in awe of what we are about to see.  The shadows shows all of us taking photos.  Jen is hovering over Doug.

 

This half-mile path follows the course of the Wadi Musa (in Arabic, it means "Valley of Moses"). It is a meandering river bed that flows into Petra.  The valley was formed as a result of floodwater erosion.

Our 1st stop was at the Djinn (pronounced gin) Blocks where "spirits" live.

The "tower tombs" in the rock-cut funerary complex.  This is a "step tomb" because steps are carved above the opening so their soul can climb to heaven.   

 

Flint (not metal) was used to carve the sandstone.

There are unfinished tombs next to stair case tomb.  All caves in this area are tombs. There are regular tomb, common tomb, staircase tomb, classical tomb, royal tomb, wind tomb, family tombs, royal tombs, etc.  Some have triangle markings to indicate the number of people in the tomb.

There is an outline of the profile of face of an old man here. It is the father statue

There is a divided walkway here: one side is for people and on the other side is for horses - they cant cross over to where we are walking.

This is the Obelisk Tomb and Triclinium   25-75 AD

This is two separate rock-cut monuments carved into the sandstone cliffs.  The upper part is the "Obelisk Tomb" is crowned with four elongated pyramids (Egyptian influence) that represent Nabatean signs commemorating the deceased.  The head of the family is buried in the central niche, and there are five rock-cut burial niches.

Below the tomb is the "Bab el-Siq Triclinium", a funerary dining hall. Benches are carved along 3 sides.  They had the ritual wake there and annual banquets in honor of gods and ancestors. Wine was served.

There is influence from all cultures in the carvings because they traded with Egyptians, Romans, Greek.

To prepare bodies, they used Petumin (???) That is why the mummies are black. 

Here we are entering The Siq ("The Shaft").  It is a natural geological feature, a narrow gorge, a deep ravine, formed when water from the Wadi Musa swept away this split in the sandstone mountain. In some places it is only 10-13 feet wide!

Back in the day, there was an arch over this entrance.  You can see the remains of the arch on the right side of the entrance. 

On the left side you can see the water channel that they carved to divert the water into cisterns at Petra. 

 

 

There are over 28 springs running here so there is plenty of water.  You can see the aqua ducts that run all along the edge of The Siq in this picture:

 

 

 

In 1978, 12 tourists were killed here from rushes of water here.  In the winter, water comes from everywhere.  They have to close the site 3-4 hours when water makes it too dangerous for tourists.

The are building retarding dams and they are carving a tunnel 88 meters long to move water.

There is water in the mountains, it seeps thru the sandstone which makes the water very pure.

The Siq was probably paved in the 1st Century.  You can still see some of the paving.

 

The Niche Monument is a free-standing rock shrine. There are Djinn blocks for the father (eyes and no mouth), mother, and daughter gods.   There is also a god for trading, fertility, etc.  Above them are designs and Egyptian columns.

To the right of the niche are steps up to cave places (rooms) where god can be protected.

 

This is "multi-cultural statues".  A carving with 6 Greek columns.  The dots above look like deer tracks. but maybe  incense holes.

 

Natural elephant statue.

 

The 2050-year old Sabinos Alexendros Station is a set of sacred stone blocks done by "Sabinos" - the master of religious ceremonies.  There are 3 gods carved.  His signature is below the father carving here:

Pat and Dave are standing in the place where the bride and groom stand with the priest to be blessed by the Gods.

 

Soon after this was the end The Siq, then there was a very narrow gorge to the most spectacular sight:

And then you see THIS!!!!! 

 

The Treasury ("Al-Khanzna") was carved by the Nabataeans in the 1st century BC (60 BC - 50 AD)

This is Petra's most elaborate ruin hewn into the sandstone cliff. 

39.5 m high

Carved out of a single block.

There is a legend that there is a treasure in urn at the top. You can see bullet holes from shooting the urn to retrieve the treasure.

It is really mausoleum of King Aretas IV (9C-40AD)

the facade of the tomb is decorated with funerary designs and symbols related to the afterlife and death

There is a Hellenistic influence with six Corinthian capitals topped by a "frieze of winged griffins and vases among scrolls in the center of the facade is the goddess Isis, and she is surrounded by dancing Amazons (female warriors) with exes over their heads". At the top of the steps, just before you enter the chamber, there are circular holes in the floor which were most probably used for sacrifices.

A priest would enter the chamber and conduct their rituals.

Bamboo was used for scaffolding to do the carving. On the left side of the photo above, you can see the footholds in the stone.

 

In 2004, three Nabatean royal tombs from 1 BC were uncovered below: 

 

 

 

 

So we finally we get to this beautiful 7th Wonder of the World and then it happens. 

 

THE EPISODE

For the entire length of The Siq, Jen was whining about wanting to turn back, to go home.

Sam was giving us such a great tour telling us about very interesting things that I wanted to write.  Jen approached me.  If I took any time to talk with her, I was going to miss something that Sam was saying, so I just told her "No, I don't want to go back. I don't want to go home." Then I kept writing in my journal.  So leave me alone and let me write.

Several times she would try to get recognized by from anyone in the group.  She kept saying lets go back. I want to go back. "Do you want to go back? " she asked out loud.

Sherrie very nicely tells her "If you want to go back, you can. Just follow this path all the way back to the hotel."

Jen kept walking with us. She was not getting the attention that she thought she deserved. She has come up with these awful methods to garner that attention.

Finally we get to the Treasury.  WOW! That is truly a spectacular exhibit to admire.

Then it happened.  Something happened that will take me a very long time to forget.  So here I'm writing about it.  It is truly the best/worst UGLY American story ever told.

Jen will no longer tolerate being ignored.  She raised her voice with Dave: 

 

Dave just walks away.  Then Jen lost it.  Pat was near, so she started badgering Pat and trying to pick a fight. Jen was very agitated and she started pulling on her dress, or rather nightgown (with holes). Then she takes off her dress!   I'm guessing that she thought she was on the Jerry Springer show where they strip and fight every day for entertainment.  Well, this is a Muslim country. There are families here, and covered women.  And here is this 250-pound black American woman with no clothes (and no bra) taunting Pat to get her to fight. Gross.

Pat turns her back to Jen and starts to walk away, a wise move.  Then Jen lunges and JUMPS ON PAT'S BACK!   Pat is screaming "Get her off me!  Get her off me!"

The large crowd is aghast.  Postcard selling boys with their eyes popping out at the sight.

I couldn't watch. They get Jen off Pat's back I'm told later by Debbie taking a swing at Jens bare back with her cane - so Jen "got caned".   Then they got her wrapped up to hide the quite embarrassing sight.

This photo is Sam trying to figure out what to do.  Sam was trying to arrange how to get Jen home. Which is what she has been begging for the last couple of hours. So that did it, now she gets to go back to Texas.  Sam also said he won't guide our group if she is in the group.  So he had to figure out what to do with her. 

At one point after the episode, Jen approached Pat. I'm not sure what Jen's intensions were.  Pat was still very distraught from Jen mounting her.  Pat got every emotional and she was shaking when she ordered Jen to back away, "Get away from me".

So while everyone was trying to figure out what to do, Jen was left sitting on a bench (next photo below).  She started going on about "white" people.   A French tour group was too close to her, and she went nuts again. Jen: "I will kill all the whites!"  She attacked a white French woman in that group. She was facing the woman and she grabbed the woman's arms and was trying to throw the her to the ground.   

 

Then they segregated, or maybe the correct word is sequestered Jen away from people.  The police had to keep all the tourists away from her.

 

This really gives new meaning to crazy American.  UGLY American.  The local man who watched the episode told me step away because I was white.  So we got to spend a lot of time at the Treasury building.  

A Muslim family sitting on the bench also saw the entire episode. I felt compelled to apologize to them.  We had to explain that she needed medication.  As if that justified her actions. NOT.   There is a new meaning of rude American and it is named Jen (I am not publishing her full name....)

10:45 and we were still at the Treasury. We had been there maybe 30 minutes so far. Waiting, waiting, waiting. 

I asked Sam how many times he had been there.  After 290 times, he stopped counting 3 years ago.

Dave took my pix next to the camel.

I started a conversation with some boys. I asked one boy to write his name in my book.  He could not write, so the boy passed my book to another boy who could write his name. The first young man never went to school and he couldn't write.   A local man "Ally" observed our exchange.  The local man told the boy to go to school so he could read and write.  He was almost scolding the boy because it looked bad to the tourist (me) that he couldn't write. 

11:15. We had been at the Treasury for an hour.

A police car arrived.

We had to wait at least another 15 minutes for the Globus/Discovery tour representative to arrive.  There were already 2 police vehicles at the Treasury.

Then they had to tackle the next hurdle: how to get Jen into the car. 

 

They had to coerce Jen to trick her into getting into the vehicle.  Dave got in.  Pat started to get in.  Dave yells and Pat and he orders her to get out.  She listened!  She got out! 

Sherrie, Debbie, then Pat start getting into the other police car.  They wanted to give the impression that everyone was leaving together.  It was a trick.  Then they got Jen in the car. She sat next to Dave in the back seat.  Bev wasn't allow in the vehicle because Jen was demanding a white person?!? Then I hear my name Susan! Where is Susan I am ordered to get in the passenger seat. Jen would not shut up unless I was in the front seat. OK. So I got in. I didn't have choice.

The Globus/Discovery tour person also get in the back with Dave and Jen.  We take off. 

The other car didn't go anywhere. Everyone got out of the car and they continued with the tour.

So here I was seeing Petra through the windshield of a police vehicle. 

Everyone else has to walk the 6 km to see the sights.  I get an air conditioned comfortable ride from the Treasury all the way back to the hotel.   Were 4-wheelin' thru Petra!  I'd like to hear from anyone else that has ever done that! 

It took a long time, maybe 20 minutes to get to the hotel.  We rode through the main streets of Petra, then off-roads, then through town.  Here is my picture of us driving out of Petra and a camel and donkey coming to work at Petra:

 

After driving a long way through town, we finally arrive at the hotel.  Everyone got out of the pickup except for Jen. She would not get out of the truck. She was sitting there, sulking in a very selfish way.  She wanted to go home.  

Dave and I had to deal with her because the Globus/Discovery guy seemed scared of her.  I asked her something about Austin, Texas and family.  She shut me up and told me to quit asking such stupid questions. I told her I would look up airline flights for her so she gave me her passport.

I asked the hotel manager if I could use the Internet and I found flights from Amman, Jordan (AMMQueen Alia Airport, to Austin, Texas.  I printed out the schedule.  By this time she was in the lobby and someone had given her a cigarette.  I tried to explain that there were no flights today so she would have to spend the night.  That was not acceptable.  Jen "I have to leave today." She was not going to stay in the hotel. She would not spend one more second in that cold room 353 where she spent last night.  She wanted "the natural heat of Texas" on her face. We tried to get her another room.  The only other room available was suite. Whatever.

She could not understand or would not comprehend anything. She was screaming at me. That was a first for me to deal with such an unruly, rude, insensitive person. Her hot cigarette ashes landed on my left hand. I screamed and jumped up.  I had to walk outside to compose myself.  The Globus/Discovery guy approached me started trying to explain our options.  I couldn't hear him because of the ringing in my ears and I couldn't see him because of the tears in my eyes.  He realized I was very upset.  That's when I lost it.  I broke down in tears. I could not hold it together.

I paid thousands of dollars for this trip to see Jerusalem, Petra & Pyramids. She had already tainted Israel and ruined Petra for me.

Dave was great.  He calmed me down with his voice and made me realize that this was not our problem. After a bit, I composed myself. Dave helped me get into the truck and he told the them to take us back to Petra so we could finish our 1 day of sightseeing.  We left them to take care of Jen.  She was their problem.    

They called on cell phones so they could coordinate us meeting up with the group.  Dave and I rode back in the truck and we met the group near the theater. Thank goodness for cell phones.

 

BACK to the TOUR

Dave and I rejoined the group and we had a cup of mint tea.  The description of the day's events said: "sip tea in a BEDOUIN TENT. "  I guess we were in a tent.  Whatever.

 Sam was very nice to review the information that Dave and I missed on the tour.  He explained about the Treasury building: it has 12 columns, 31 roses on the front, 7? something somewhere.  I could not concentrate. 

After we finished the tea, we continued with the last part of the walking tour. After about 20 minutes, Sam's cell phone rang.  The other Globus? person who was taking care of (in charge of) Jen at the hotel called to thank Sam for "the present" very sarcastic.   Sam held the phone up for us to hear Jen singing (?). That guy had his hands full.

Sam ended the official part of our tour about 1:15 pm. We had time on our own until Petra closes at 7 pm. He estimated that it would take about 1.5 hours to walk back to the hotel.  He said "less time if you ride a donkey."

I had to sit. It was a very stressful day because of Jen. I was mentally exhausted and my body didn't want to do anything either. I bought a coke. 2 USD for a 250 ml coke. Whatever.  I wrote and wrote and listened to the Arabic chattering by the donkey owners.

Hmm, do they own the donkeys and horses? 

I was sitting near the donkey hangout by the 5 star restaurant.  A kid tried to give me 5 Euros and asked if I wanted a drink. That was odd. No.

I didn't feel like doing anything right then.  I wrote that "I cannot let her ruin this day on my trip." But she already had. 

I managed to see a little more of Petra.

 

The Theatre

The Theatre ("en-Nejr") is massive.  Roman theaters are "built",  this amphitheater was CARVED into the mountain side in 1st century AD.  3000 can be seated now, but up to 7,000 when it was carved.  It was put in this location so as to bring the greatest number of tombs within view.

Rectangular gaps in the seating are still visible. Almost enclosing it on three sides are rose-coloured mountain walls, divided into groups by deep fissures, and lined with knobs cut from the rock in the form of towers.

This is my first view of the Theater from the front seat of the cool, air conditioned, comfortable police car.

 

 

Another photo of the theater.  The small arch on the bottom left is the entrance to the tunnels on the side of the stage.  The tunnels had painted plaster and marble walls!

 

Street of Facades  50 BC - 50 AD

Petra's oldest facade of rock-cut tombs. Neatly arranged in ascending street-like rows along the cliff face. The tombs are fairly similar with vertical facades featuring crow-stepped attics and simple rectangular entrances.  My photo how I saw it from the police car:

 

 

 

More street facades:

 

The Royal Tombs

Built for wealthy or important people.  They are "remarkable for the vivid striations of color rippling through their sand stone walls".

Different styles overlap and merge gradually from tomb to tomb, indicating how Nabatean drew from different influences in their architecture design, including Assyrian Hellenistic/Greek and Roman. 

I marked my picture below to show:

The Palace Tomb - 5 levels high.  The upper levels had to be rebuilt.

The Corinthian Tomb - an important tomb in it's day. It baffles archeologists because of its lack of symmetry.

The Silk Tomb - Gets it's name from the "beautiful streaks of yellow, gray, pink and brown caused by wind and water erosion, which ripple across the walls and five them the appearance of shot silk."

The Urn Tomb - The Urn Tomb arches are 2 levels high. They support the terrace in front of the Run Tomb.

 

 

Here is a picture of common tombs - very plain and weather-worn compared to the ornate Royal tombs.

 

 

 

MAIN STREET - The Roman Cardo or  Colonnade Street as I saw it from the police car.

The  2 big free-standing columns in the middle of the picture are the remaining structures of the Temenos Gate - The grand entrance to the street and market area.

At the end of the street, you can see the wall of the "Palace of the Pharaoh's Daughter" aka "Qasr el-Bint el-Faroun". 

 

 

The "Palace of the Pharaoh's Daughter" aka "Qasr el-Bint el-Faroun" is Petra's most important main temple. It is still standing because they have learned how to put wood in between the stone to withstand earthquakes so the building will survive.

 

 

 

This is the sign where you turn right to walk up the road to see the Byzantine Church buildings. 

 

  When we were in the police car,  this is also where we turned to take Turkmaniya Road out of Petra.  I forced myself to walked up the road to see the church complex. That was interesting.  

The Church Complex of Petra  375 - 600 AD

This complex comprises the Petra Church, Blue Chapel, and Ridge Church. The Petra Church as seen here in the floor plan is a tripartite basilica, measuring around 26 m E-W by 15m N-S, with three inscribed apses and three corresponding entrances. It was probably built in the last half of the fifth century AD.

The church's preserved mosaic floor has beautiful illustrations, Many of these images lie inside circular medallions and depict animals, birds, humans, vegetal produce, and vessels, as well as personifications of the four seasons, the ocean, earth, and wisdom.

The Blue Chapel was named for the four blue Egyptian granite columns that were presumably moved there from a  nearby Nabatean monument. Inside the chapel lies a base for a bishop's throne in the apse, a marble pulpit and marble chancel posts and screens.

The Ridge Church (Jumay'an Hill) is a simple building made up of two wings separated from the nave by five columns on each side. It has a large cistern under the nave that was fed by rain from the roof.

This complex of three churches was built over earlier Nabatean building and tombs which remained in use throughout the Roman period before Christianity became dominant in Petra in the 5th century, at which time some building and tombs were converted the churches. The finely-carved capitals of the columns in the Blue Chapel, for example, are Nabatean, suggesting that these may have been recovered from an earlier temple.

The Petra Papyri

In 1993, a cache of 152 papyrus rolls was found in a room adjacent to the church. They had been carbonized in the fire and that is what preserved them. Written in Greek, the 6th century documents deal with real estate transactions, disputes, contracts, sales, divisions of property, marriages, dowries, and inheritances.  They reveal the active agricultural hinterland and confirm the continuing importance of Petra as a regional administrative center of the Byzantine Empire.

Baptistery

This baptistery, constructed in A.D. 450-500, is one of the largest and best preserved in the entire Near East. The font consists of a cruciform basin sunk into a large, almost square platform. At one corner is a stone jar built into the platform. It might have served for extra water supply or storage but, more probably, was used for baptism of infants. The four limestone columns supported a canopy over the font and then also supported the second story.

 

 

I also walked up to the Museum. It is very authentic (rustic).  I saw a sandstone head of Hermes. 2 other heads. Coins, lamps, a broken mosaic.

 

From the museum, this is my picture of the Main Street and the Royal Tombs in the background.

 

"At the point where the valley opens out into the plain, the site of the city is revealed with striking effect. " Yup.

 

The walk up to the monastery is about 45 minutes up about 800 steps. The monastery El-Deir door is 130 feet high and 150 feet wide.  That would be nice to see. On any other tour I would be the only person to exert myself, but not this time.  I was going to allow myself to enjoy doing less. I didn't have to do everything.  I was OK with skipping the monastery.  It really felt nice to be on my own at that moment. I didn't have to answer to anyone and I could just sit there and do nothing.  So I let go of what happened in Jerusalem and now I will have to let go of what happened in Petra. That's not going to be easy. Whew. I could have done without seeing a naked 250 pound black woman.

I started the long walk back to the hotel.  You have to walk back the exact same way that enter.  The guys with donkey's are very aggressive. They want you to ride back because they need the money.  They can only take you as far as the Treasury, then you have to walk thru The Siq. Then you can ride a horse to the entrance/exit.  I was walking very slow. 

About 100 guys must have asked if I want a donkey ride. I guess if they ask enough people, someone will eventually say yes.   I told a couple of them that I was in a police car driving through Petra to get here, so I really needed to walk back so I could see the sights.  One guy asked "how is the Lady?".  I told them she is back at the hotel where she has medication.

As I was walking through the narrow Siq, I was all alone sometimes.  It was very eerie.  All the sudden, I heard a loud echo of horse hooves. The sound bounced off the canyons walls.  It got louder and louder as the chariot approached. They are going fast so you have to jump to the side  so you don't get run over.

I exited Petra and bought 2 big bottles of water.

I saw Sam on a bench so I joined him to get the latest Jen news. 

He said he got 3 police escorts to take her to Amman. They considered her a danger to herself and others. After all her threats to kill and blow things up, they had to go thru her luggage to make sure there wasn't anything that she could use as weapon.  They didn't even find any medication!  That had been her excuse to take our water because she needed to take her medication.

Anyway, Sam said that it is actually his younger brother who also works for Globus who "handling" Jen.  He said she stripped in the hotel again. Very loud screaming.  Jen: "All the Jordan police in my ass!". Yeow.

At 6:45 pm my heart skipped a beat in horror. I heard the chanting for the Muslim prayers and I thought it was Jen.  Nope, she is gone. Whew.

If I ever get back to Petra, maybe this big new visitor center will be done.  Here is a photo of what they are building: 

 

 

I so so very very tired. I went back to my room to rest a bit before dinner.  I notice that my white reeboks shoes are PINK because of the  red sand stains from walking around today.

 

Dinner buffet was delicious as usual.  Finally very relaxed and very enjoyable. I had a "Dinner Beverage" beer and I put it on my room bill.  The cost was 8.932 (about $12 USD) and worth every penny.

That night I paid 1.00 JOD ($1.40 USD) for one hour of Internet.  The hotel gave me username and password to get on their network.   I sent an update email saying I was alive and well and having fun.

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DAY 9  Saturday September 24 Petra, Kerak, Wadi Mujib, Mukawir, Madaba, Mount Nebo, Dead Sea

GLOBUS Itinerary  Stop in Kerak to visit the CRUSADER CASTLE and Wadi Mujib, the Jordanian Grand Canyon.  Continue to Mukawir, where Salome danced and John the Baptist was imprisoned and beheaded. Included feature in MUKAWIR is an Orientation. Then, on to Madaba to visit ST. GEORGES CHURCH, which houses a precious 6th-century mosaic map of the Holy Land.  Also explore the MADABA ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM.  One of todays highlights is a visit to MOUNT NEBO, where Moses saw the Promised Land. Arrive at the Dead Sea resort with time to experience the feeling of buoyancy in the heavy water.

Breakfast and Dinner included today.

 

 

We have a 7 am departure so Sam asked the hotel to start breakfast at 6 am.

At 7 am sharp, we departed. No more waiting. No more high blood pressure surprises today!  We have many things to see today.

We had a 3-hour drive to Kerak, and 1.5 hour tour of the castle and city.

Everyone is taking the same seats in the bus each day. There are 18 seats and one guide seat, driver and passenger seat.  Bev and Doug always in the back. Sherrie and Debbie and I all get 2 seats each.

The whole demeanor of our group is so much more relaxed today. It is so nice to know what to expect from responsible travelers.  Our unknown who threw us off is no longer with us.

 

The speed limit on this hiway is 85 mph.  There are many speed signs.

The landscape here in Jordan resembles Tibet again. Rolling brown hills and dirt colored mountains.

There are incomplete buildings with rebar sticking out of the top floor of the build. The do that so they can claim the building is not finished yet, so they don't have to pay taxes.

Sam said that donkeys cost more than cars here!  Because you can make money with donkeys.

There are very strict about animal care. You are in serious trouble if you strike (hit) an animal. The animal may be taken away from you. They usually ride donkey or horse home every night.

There are piles of rocks along the landscape.  The piles mark the property lines.

Friday is the main holiday (day off) for Muslims its a family day.

We are passing phosphorous mines.

We stopped for gas. Unleaded 95 was 795 , Unleaded 90 was 620, Diesel/Kerosene 515. If there are 1.4 liters in a gallon, that is about $6 USD per gallon of gas (I think..)

10 minutes after the gas stop, we stopped for bathroom & souvenirs at Al QUDS Rethouse   Address:   Al-hasa-desert road   Phone:   +962 3 2277389    962 79 6677728    Obaidah2814@hotmail.com

This is how I will remember the very nice sisters
Debbie and Sherrie always helping or playing with
a kitty-cat, even if you get a little scratch!

Jen update: Sam getting lots of Jen update phone calls. He answers the phone, I hear him saying "Oh my god.. oh my god.." Then he gives us the update:  Globus tried to call Jen's emergency contact, and other phone numbers that she had, and the person would just hang up and pretend not to know her.  She is in Amman now. They took her to the airport this morning for a 12:30 flight. She started screaming and took off her clothes again in the airport! They had to evacuate and close the Amman airport and she is not allowed back in the airport. So she is still in Amman. Sam said the Embassy said they could not do anything.   She wants to come back with the group. That's not going to happen.  No thank you. She is a problem but I'm thankful it is not our problem. We paid for this tour and I am going to enjoy it now finally. I am so glad that this is Globus tour and not a Cosmos tour.  Cosmos tours are generally cheaper and they have a "guaranteed share" policy - they pair you with another single person so you don't have to pay the single supplement.  I am so glad that I paid the single supplement on this trip.

 

We get to Kerak

There is lots of traffic.

Population of Kerak is 100,000

From the Atlanta Journal Constitution October 8, 2001 "West's 'holy wars' bred distrust in Islamic world" by Larry Kaplow.

 

The Crusaders came here from Europe 900 years ago

The Crusaders led Christian holy wars in the Holy Land, ones marked by massacres, decapitations, sieges and looting.

From the 7-story walls of the castle in Kerak, French commander Reynold de Chatillon, known for wanton cruelty, used to throw locals into a moat that tourists visit today.

Even now, Arabs carry the trauma of the Crusades like survivors.

Unease stirred when President Bush spoke of a "crusade, this war again terrorism" after the World Trade Center attacks.  The people here got worried. That means they are against the Muslims.

The Crusaders controlled trade routes and looted treasures, but cloaked their acts in a noble calling, religion.

In 1095, Pope Urban II ordered knights to recapture the Holy Land from the Muslims. "Christ commands it"  he said.  Cyprus fell in 1156, Jerusalem in 1099. Knights swung their swords for days, making the stone street run with blood.

The Crusaders left a legacy of hate in their wake.  "The schism between these two worlds dates from the Crusades, deeply felt by the Arabs, even today, as an act of rape" write Maaluf in the 1984 book "The Crusades Through Arab Eyes".

At the end of the Crusades, the Arabs won. Under Saladin, a Muslim general, Jerusalem was retaken in 1187.

Saladin was brilliant and merciful. He would strike deals with Crusaders to let them escape with their lives.

This statue in the center of Kerak shows Saladin on horseback, swinging his sword.

"The most disastrous effect of the Crusades on the Islam's heartland was Islam's retreat into isolation" writes historian Peter Mansfield.

For more information:   http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/sbook1k.asp    and    http://www.islamicity.com/mosque/ihame/sec10.htm.

 

 

Saladin vs. Richard the Lion Heart (King of England until he died in 1189).  Richard organized the Third Crusade (11891192) to attempt to reconquer the Holy Land from Saladin. It was somewhat  successful, but fell short of its ultimate goal they failed to retake Jerusalem.

The Kingdom of Heaven is a 2005 epic action film about the Crusades of the 12th century. The Christians in Jerusalem fall to the Muslim leader Saladin. Saladin allows them leave the city, alive.

In 1184 Saladin came to Kerak.  In 1187 he came to Kerak again and finally took the castle from the crusaders.  They signed peace agreement in 12 century.

Sam is careful not to say "Christians". He correctly says "crusaders" instead.

This is the statue of Saladin in Kerak.  Notice the cross in his hand:

 

 

 

The statue from another angle.

I love the t-shirt that the guy is wearing in this picture:

  "Nobody seems to understand the nature of the project"

You can see the statue on the left side of this picture (through the bus window), along with the police station and mosque minarets in this congested area.

 

 

Kerak Castle

10:15 we started our tour of Kerak Castle / Crusader citadel.   Here's a model of the city with the castle.  You can see the sheer drop on three sides of the castle.

 

A map of the layout of the Castle:

 

This is the text from sign in the castle, I paraphrased a little....

 

Kerak is a large wedge-shaped castle, built on a ridge and protected by steep valleys on the east and west.  On the north and south, deep ditches have been cut across the ridge, isolating the castle from Kerak town and from the hill to the south.

Outer Walls

The massive North Front is strengthened by two corner towers.  The entrance (2) that tourist use is across a wooden bridge spanning the North Ditch.

The East Front (bottom of map) has four towers. A steep masonry slope or glacis runs around the bottom outer wall.

The South Front (left side) is dominated by the massive Keep (5), which stands on a high cliff protected by a glacis.  Beyond the Keep is the main Reservoir (6) and the South Ditch (7).

The West Front  (top of map) has towers at its two corners, and a large West Tower (8) between them.  The corner and tower are protected by glacis.  The principal entrance to the Mamaluk castle was through the West Front.

The Upper and Lower Courts

The castle is build on two levels: the Upper Court (9) and Lower Court (10) separated by an Inner Wall (11).  The Upper Court contains many of the main buildings of the castle, such as the Crusader Church (12) and the Mamluk Iwan (Reception Hall) and Mosque (10). The south end of the upper court is dominated by the Keep (5).

The Lower Court was principally dedicated to storage and defence (sic). Most impress in the Lower Court are the underground galleries (14).  One gallery now houses the Archaeological Museum (15).

 

Note:  A glacis, in military engineering is an artificial slope of earth used in late European fortresses so constructed as to keep any potential assailant under the fire of the defenders until the last possible moment

 

Our tour started at (2) in the map.  We went down steps (11) to the Lower Court. 

 

 

We visited the museum (15).  The Kerak Archaeological Museum is a "Commemoration project between the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and Japan"  The museum opened in 2004.

Construction of the castle began in 1140.  There are 11 towers in this castle.

They had a model of an armament-siege tower.  And "Muslim armor" or "Mail proper" - a metal chain link coat worn to protect the body.

They use AD or BC to date and also BP which mean "before present".

1,400,000 10,000 BP there hunters and gatherers here

632 AD: death of Prophet Mohammed

1946-51 King Abudullah I

51-53 King Talal

53-99 King Hussein

99- now  King Abudullah II

 

There is a very cool wind up here, but still a beautiful day for touring.  Sam said it is raining in Amman right now.

This picture shows the steep "glacis" around the castle:

 

This is the massive Keep on a high cliff.  It is #5 in the map above.

We walked around alot inside the castle.  Many, many vast dimly-lit vaulted rooms and corridors below ground.  Maybe a kitchen or bath:

 

Looking out through very thick fortified walls


Exit the tunnel

 

 The tour of the castle ended 11:20.  Then we had a very slow drive through the traffic and congestion in the city of Kerak.  The Bedoins park their cars in the middle of the street, then go shopping.

 

We finally made it to the highway and we are headed to the Grand Canyon in Jordan.

Wadi Mujib

This is a gorge in Jordan which enters the Dead Sea at 410 meters below sea level. The Mujib Reserve of Wadi Mujib is the lowest nature reserve in the world, located in the mountainous landscape to the east of the Dead Sea, approximately 90 km south of Amman.

The 220 square kilometers reserve was created in 1987 by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature and is regionally and internationally important, particularly for the bird life that the reserve supports.

It extends to the Kerak and Madaba mountains to the north and south, reaching 900 meters above sea level in some places. This 1,300 meter variation in elevation, combined with the valley's year round water flow from seven tributaries, means that Wadi Mujib enjoys a magnificent biodiversity that is still being explored and documented today.

Over 300 species of plants, 10 species of carnivores and numerous species of permanent and migratory birds have been recorded until this date. Some of the remote mountain and valley areas are difficult to reach, and thus offer safe havens for rare species of cats, goats and other mountain animals.

At 12:50 we stopped for pictures of the Grand Canyon and Mujib Dam.  We drove on the road in this picture and OVER the dam.

 

Jen update 1:35: She is screaming driving everyone in the hospital crazy. Jen "I want to kill Clinton". The medical hospital refused to treat her. They had to move her to different (mental) hospital.  All the police in Jordan know Sam now because of "the incident".  Someone theorized that Jen has done this before because she knew exactly what to say about hurting herself and others to get attention.   I picked up a pamphlet somewhere from the Hashemite kingdom of Jordon Tourism police department. Here's URL just in case....  http://www.tourist-police.psd.gov.jo/en/ 

 

 

1:45 we arrived Mukawir.  Herod build a fortress on this mountain.  This is where John the Baptist was imprisoned and beheaded.

 Its a beautiful day so I did the hike up to the top with Dave and Pat.  This is what is left of the fortress.  There are lots of other ruins also.

2:30 leave Mukawir. We have about another hour until the next bathroom stop and lunch.

3:10 we arrived Madaba and our first stop is lunch. Finally.  I was hungry and nibbling on my frosted mini-wheats.  The bus stopped on a busy and we got out and ran across the street to a local eatery. Sam helped us order Falafels. A falafel is a deep-fried ball or patty made from ground chickpeas and/or fava beans.  They served wrapped in a flatbread (known as lafa) and topped with lettuce, pickled vegetables, and drizzled with tahini-based sauces.  Very very yummy.   The best lunch for 80 cents US.

 

 

About Madaba  http://visitmadaba.org/

 

"Ma" means water "Daba" means fruit so the city of fruit and water.   They have very fertile ground here.

The capital city of Madaba Governorate of Jordan, which has a population of about 60,000 (per Wikipedia) Sam said the population was 110,000 and 50% Christian, or did he say 15?

Madaba is the fifth most populous town in Jordan. It is best known for its large Byzantine a mosaic map of The Holy Land. The mosaic was made around AD 527-65

Madaba is located 30 kilometers south-west of the capital Amman.

The town of Madaba was once a Moabite border city, mentioned in the Bible in Numbers 21:30 and Joshua 13:9.

 

The bus parked and we walked a short way.  At 3:45 we arrive at St. George Church, The Church of the Map

 

In the late 1800's there were clashes with the Muslims so Christians moved from Kerak to Madaba.  They were permitted to build churches on existing sites.  They we clearing this Byzantine church site and found the mosaic. They built St. George around the mosaic in 1896.  It is now a Greek Orthodox Church.

The mosaic was about MILLION pieces, but because of earthquakes, it went from 1,000,000 to 600,000 pieces in the mosaic pavement.  It is a geographical map of about 150 sites from Holy Land (Jordan, Palestine, Delta Nile and Phoenicia) with Jerusalem.

 

This is inside the church.  The red chain blocks off the floor with the mosaic.

 

Here's my photo of the mosaic

 

 

 

This is a post card that I scanned in. 

#4 is the Jordan River.  It shows fish swimming toward the Dead Sea #3, then the fish turns around and swims back up the River. There is no life at all, it is a Dead Sea.

By the dimensions of the mosaic, the Dead Sea would measure 70 km by 13 km. 

In the mosaic there are boats trading wheat and salt.

 

 

 

4:25 leave mosaic church.  It is great weather.  Seem like about 78 F.  Cool breeze.

 

Jen update: She must stay in Amman at the hospital for 3 days so they can determine if she is safe to fly.

 

4:30 We stopped at Jordan Jewel Art & Mosaic

We saw how they make the mosaics:

Create the image, cut the stone fragments, stick it on the cloth, treat it, pull the cloth off.

To make the mosaic in the picture to the right, it will take about 350 hours, or 2.5 months (about 46 8 hours days).

5 pm leaving factory.

 

 

Now we are going to Mount Nebo - Memorial of Moses.  

More than 3000 years ago, it was from here that Moses saw the Promised Land just before he died.   According to the final chapter of Deuteronomy, Mount Nebo is where the Hebrew prophet Moses was given a view of the promised land that God was giving to the Israelites. "And Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho." (Deuteronomy 34:1).

According to Jewish and Christian tradition and the Bible, Moses was buried on this mountain by God Himself, and his final resting place is unknown. Scholars continue to dispute whether the mountain currently known as Nebo is the same as the mountain referred to in the Torah.
 

Since 1933 there has been reconstruction work on the Memorial Church of Moses.

 

They moved the mosaics outside to protect it during the construction. They moved the mosaics in 24 inch squares.  The Mosaics depict farmers hunters, and animals surrounded by geometric decoration.  That is a Peacock in bottom right corner.

A Greek inscription dates it to AD 531.

 

   

Text from signs at the site:

Memorial of Moses - Jabal Nebo

Mount Nebo, 1 January, 2008

In order to protect the ruins and the beautiful mosaic pavements unearthed in the Basilica of Moses and to give space to the pilgrims who wished to gather in prayer in the sanctuary dedicated to the Prophet and Lawgiver, the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land (Terrasanta) in the year 1963 had erected a temporary roofing which has raised many concerns in recent years because of its instability due to soil movements.

Therefore, we have decided to substitute the old rooming with a new structure more durable and more convenient to the historical and religious purposes of the sanctuary. The final proposal of the new shelter prepared by our team of architects has been based on the premise of improving the existing shelter, as suggested by international experts.

During the work the Church and the adjacent area will be closed.

Please, to help us in the work and for security reasons, follow strictly the suggested path to reach the western terrace (no. 5) of the Byzantine monastery to enjoy the biblical view on the Jordan Valley, the Dead Sea, Jericho and Jerusalem.

The Mountain of Nebo and the Sanctuary of Moses with their history can be shown and explained inside the Mount Nebo Interpretation Centre (No. 3).

Group of pilgrims can attend liturgical celebrations in the Rest House (No.4) adjacent to the Interpretation Centre.

In the tent raised in the eastern paved square of the sanctuary near the Interpretation Centre are shown important mosaic floors found on Mound Nebo recently restored by the Franciscan Archaeological Institute (No. 2): the upper mosaic floor of the chapel of Priest John with the personification of the Earth in the centre (middle of the 6th Century A.D.) and the mosaic floor of the church of St. George (536 A.D.)

The final intention is that the sanctuary remains a source of peace and reconciliation in the name of the Prophet to whom the Basilica is dedicated.

 

Mount Nebo Archaeological Park

The sanctuary of Moses on the western peak of Siyagha (fig.8) developed from a three apsidal church build in the Fourth Century A.D. A baptistery chapel was added and paved with mosaics in the A.D. 530 at the times of Bishop Elias of Madaba by the mosaicists Soelos, Kaiomos and Elias (fid.4). The three nave basilica with the side chapels was build in A.D. 597 at the times of Bishop Sergius. The primitive church became the presbytery of the new sanctuary. In the first decade of the Seventh Century at the times of Bishop Leontios, the chapel of Saint Mary was added.

The modern small monastery of the western slope of the mountain outside the Byzantine monastery which had developed around the basilica, is inhabited by the Franciscan Fathers who take care of the sanctuary.

It is mentioned in the Bible, and in the Stela of Mesha king of Moab.

Up to the present time, a total of three churches and a small monastery have been excavated: the church of Saint George on the highest point of the acropolis, build in 536 and paved with mosaics by Naouma, Kyriakos and Thomas; the church of saints Lot and Procopius on the lower terrace of the acropolis build and paved with mosaics in they ear 557 (fig.7); the church of Amos and Casiseos adjoining the chapel of the Priest John on the eastern slope of the tell.  The chapel of the Priest John was mosaiced a first time at the end of the Fifth Century at the times of Bishop Fidos, and a second time in the middle of the Sixth Century at the times of Bishop John.

The pilgrim Egeria on her way to the Memorial of Moses met numerous monks near the Springs of Moses on the north of the mountain in the 'Uyun Mousa Valley (fig.9).

In the summer of 1984 the Franciscan archaeologists began excavating two Byzantine churches among the vineyards: the church of Kaianos (fig.6), built and paved with mosaics at the beginning of the Sixth Century, rebuilt in the second half of the same century; and the church of the deacon Thomas (fig.5), built and paved with mosaics possibly in the first half of the Sixth Century.

 

Mount Nebo

Numbers 33:46-48  They left Almon Diblathaim and camped in the mountains of Abarim, near Nebo. 

Deuteronomy 32:47-49 [ Moses to Die on Mount Nebo ] On that same day the LORD told Moses, Deuteronomy 32:48-50  Go up into the Abarim Range to Mount Nebo in Moab, across from Jericho, and view Canaan, the land I am giving the Israelites as their own possession.

Deuteronomy 34:1-3  [ The Death of Moses ] Then Moses climbed Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab to the top of Pisgah, across from Jericho. There the LORD showed him the whole landfrom Gilead to Dan.

 

 

Pat is looking and the spectacular view. On the left side of the picture to the Southwest is the Dead Sea. 

Hebron 65 km 40 mi  SW

Herodium 47 km 30 mi WSW

Bethlehem 50 km 31 mi W

Qumran 25 km 15 mi W

Jerusalem mt-of-Olives 46 km 28 mi W

Ramallah 52 km 32 mi WNW

Jericho 27 km 17 mi WNW

Nablus 66 km 41 mi NW

Lake Tiberias 106 km 65 mi WNW

 

We can see Amman from here.   In the winter, you can see Jerusalem and Bethlehem from Mt. Nebo. But you can't see them now because of the evaporation of the lake causes a haze.

 

Finally done with touring and we are going to the hotel.

 

 

 

Hotel AMMAN DEAD SEA  Sept 24 to Sept 25, 2011

Mvenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea

Sweimeh Dead Sea Road,  Amman HKJ-1180  Jordan  

PO Box 815554, 11180 Amman Jordan

962 5 356 11 11

(009) 625-3561 111

r

All rooms are equipped with air-conditioning/heating, satellite TV, direct-dial telephones, coffee and tea-making facilities, and hairdryer. A special benefit is our free minibar, available in all rooms.  Private beach access and several swimming pools including an infinity pool and a heated winter pool.

 

www.moevenpick-deadsea.com

http://www.kempinski-deadsea.com 

http://www.youtube.com/moevenpickjo

https://www.facebook.com/Moevenpick.Resort.DeadSea

 

 

This resort is huge!

There a six swimming Pools

 

Summer Infinity Pool
Winter Pool
Spa Infinity Pool
Private Pool #1 and #2
Kids Pool


Ten restaurants and bars
Shopping
Spa
Solarium
Clinic/Therapy center
Fitness Center
Tennis
Theater

 

It was 104 degrees, but it sure did NOT feel that hot to me. 
The temperature seemed quite comfortable....

 

 

The entire resort was build to make you feel like you are in Old Jerusalem.  This is the entrance to my room.  I passed a 1400 year old Olive Tree on my walk down to the Dead Sea.

 

 

This is one infinity pool

 

This is another infinity pool

 

 

This is The Dead Sea

 

 

Check out my Grampa and Grandma at the Dead Sea in 1960!  Too Cool.

 

About The Dead Sea

A salt lake bordering Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west. Its surface and shores are 423 meters (1,388 ft.) below sea level, the lowest elevation on the Earth's surface. The Dead Sea is 377 m (1,237 ft.) deep, the deepest hyper saline lake in the world. With 33.7% salinity, it is also one of the world's saltiest bodies of water, It is 8.6 times saltier than the ocean.

This salinity make it incapable of supporting life, hence, its name. However it will support bathers - literally.  You float!

The Dead Sea is 67 kilometers (42 mi) long and 18 kilometers (11 mi) wide at its widest point. It lies in the Jordan Rift Valley, and its main tributary is the Jordan River.

The Jordan River is the only major water source flowing into the Dead Sea, although there are small perennial springs under and around the Dead Sea, creating pools and quicksand pits along the edges.  The fresh water evaporates quickly. There are no outlet streams.

Rainfall is scarcely 100 mm (4 in) per year in the northern part of the Dead Sea and barely 50 mm (2 in) in the southern part. The Dead Sea zone's aridity is due to the rain shadow effect of the Judean Hills. The highlands east of the Dead Sea receive more rainfall than the Dead Sea itself.

To the west of the Dead Sea, the Judean Hills rise less steeply and are much lower than the mountains to the east. Along the southwestern side of the lake is a 210 m (700 ft.) tall halite formation called "Mount Sodom".

Dead Sea water temperature is always 26 to 28.

Rules:

Do not get any Dead Sea water in your eyes.  You might go blind?!?

Don't stay in the water longer than 30 minutes.

After you get out, wash with fresh water within 30 minutes.

 

Mud covers the banks and sea floor, squishing coolly around your feet and ankles, and feels like a gooey mess of Jell-O.
 People take the stuff and smear it all over their bodies.
  The gelatinous gunk, a brew of minerals including magnesium, calcium, bromine, and potassium
offers relief for people suffering from psoriasis, skin disorders and it is used as a beauty aid
 - Ron Feinberg, Atlanta Journal Constitution, April 11, 2004.

 

You pay hundreds of dollars in a spa to get this mud treatment!

 

Dave and Pat made it down to the Dead Sea to swim just as life guards were getting people out of the water, but they let Dave and Pat going for 5 minutes. They were out and showered and Bev and Doug showed up.  Bev got to put her feet in the water.  I put my hands in and they feel oily. It sure did sting the paper cut on my finger.

There a very very beautiful sunset at 7 pm.

Wow.  This is where Jen could be if she hadn't stripped. I don't think they could have removed her from the group for being difficult or argumentative. It took that extreme act to remove her. She sure would enjoy this if she were here. I honestly cant think of a more beautiful resort that I have been to. Wow.

 I did a lot research before this trip so could appreciate the significance of the places we were going to visit.  After I got home, I did alot more research and reading in order to write this journal so now I appreciate where I've been.  I still feel somewhat inadequate when it comes to Bible old testament.

 

I went back to my room to freshen up before dinner.  It was huge buffet and I sat with the two couples.  They were many many wonderful choices on the buffet.  I had Duck with orange sauce. Yum. Grilled green beans were really really good. Lamb kabobs, stuffed with mushrooms and sauce., bull salad bar, huge (at least 10) selections for desert. Wow.  There was something in a warming dish that I tried for dessert.  I found out the next day that is was called "Um Ali".  Um Ali is a type of bread pudding with pistachio, nuts, dates, raisins. It almost looks like porridge (oatmeal) but it is a lot better and very YUM YUM!

I did not see the sisters. Maybe they ate earlier.  They sure are being very good about pacing themselves and seeing and doing as much as possible.

 

After dinner I walked down to the Sea.  There was a beautiful sunset to enjoy:

So we have a travel day tomorrow, then 2 days to tour Cairo Egypt, then fly home. Whew!   

 

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DAY 10 Sunday September 25 Dead Sea, Amman Airport, fly to Cairo, Egypt

GLOBUS Itinerary  Transfer to Amman and board your flight to Cairo, Egypt. Start soaking up the atmosphere of this exciting city.

Breakfast  included today.

 

 

I did not set a wake up call. I was hoping to sleep late, but I woke up at 6 am. I slept great!

I could have just gone to breakfast, but I realized where I was, and I had to take advantage of this only opportunity swim in the Dead Sea.    I'm in this dream-world place an intensely beautiful setting. It would be in insult to ignore the moment and just go to eat.

It is sad to think the Jen has already paid for all this and she is in some hospital somewhere.  That's a shame.

I will probably never get back here again so I better enjoy this while I'm here.  And I want to say that I swam in the Dead Sea when I get back, so I'm going to do it. 

So, I convinced myself to put on my swim suit. I really enjoyed the walk down to The Sea.

 

The resort is built so it feels like you are walking through the narrow streets of Old Jerusalem.  There is broken clay pot so I grab a piece to remember this walk/ this place/ this experience.  I passed the two infinity pools, the family pool, the children's pool and play area, the spa, and I arrive at the beach with the raked sand, umbrellas and empty lounge chairs everywhere.

Bev and Doug were already there. Bev had slathered herself with some of the famous Dead Sea mud Just like going to a spa!  She was trying to rinse off the mud. She says you know me I have to try everything!.

I walked to the end of the ramp and put my foot in the water.  It was WARM!!   It felt very inviting.  It was very easy to slip in. I wanted to get in. The water was abfab (absolutely fabulous). So warm.  It was easy to just lay back and you float. I floated out to a deeper place and it is possible to put you feet down, but if you relax, your feet float back up.

I could smell the salt. That sounds off, but really could smell the salt.  The water was so clear you can actually also see the salt. Looking down into the water I saw swirls in the water. Melted salt

Beach at the water line was rocks. Big and little. Smooth stones mostly at the end the end of the walkway in the water. Only knee deep there, then it gets deeper quickly.

As I was walking back up to my room, I saw Dave and Pat.

I walked down to the sea.  I was the only person there!!! Workers were raking the sand, preparing for people later.  I put my towel down, walked down the steps and out to the end of the dock.  The water was clear, about knee deep.  I put a foot in the water. Wow.  Warm!  That was a surprise. A nice surprise. It was very easy to lower myself into the very warm, very comfortable water. The experience was so serene. I was the only person in the water for as far as could see up and down the coast.  I floated on my back.  I tried to put my feet down and they floated right back up when you relax. You can easily float on your stomach an keep your head out of the water.

I looked down into the water and it is so clear.  I could see swirls in the water. Was that melted salt maybe?  There was a strong wind pushing me away from the dock. I tried to go upstream so I could float down to the dock.

It was a very relaxing calming experience.  there was a bucked of mud on the beach by the dock.  The mud is so very smooth. No scratchy grains at all.  It is supposed to be very moisturizing also. You probably pay $200 at a spa to get that mud spread over your body.  No thanks.

I did a rinse off shower after I got out of the water.

 

 

Sam said to put "Hi Sam" in the subject of emails to him.

 

Sam does not like Cairo. Traffic and trash (rubble). No on e is running the country now, but it is secure right now at the moment. There is not control in the city or the country right now.

 In 100 years the dead sea will disappear.

  

Observation:  The yam mica (hat) is a great sunscreen for men with thin (or no) hair on top.

 

This is the most relaxing morning of all. At the most incredible resort of all. It is such a shame to think that Jen is in a mental institution and she paid to come here.

 

 

Everyone was waiting in the lobby ready to go, but we were still waiting for our luggage to be brought up from our room.  Dave and lugged his and Pat's bags up the walkway and up the elevator. I should have brought mine also. Samer had left us with his brother who also works with Globus.  He had to arrange to get the our luggage brought up to the lobby. So I thought I had time to go to the bathroom one more time. I left my bag for Beverly to watch.  When I got back to the lobby, everyone was gone and Globus guy(I forget his name right now) was watching my bag. I should have brought it with me.    So we were a little late getting off at 10:20.

 

From the newspaper today:

Jordanian Times: 1 person died in Petra on Saturday after falling off scaffolding on a root of the building under construction in Koura District. DOA.

They also reported on a man in Denver Colorado that got 18 years for putting a dead chicken in his ex-wife's air duct and pouring an unknown substance in her piano and erasing her hard drive.

1 hour 10 minutes flight time. 1:12 sitting on plane. Very relaxed boarding,

Took lots of pix on the tarmac. There are 1.2 gigs (out of 4) full on my SD card. I'm not touching that other SD card. I hope I can recover those pix. We got two little sandwiches on the flight.  I saved on e for later. Maybe dinner. Sitting here trying to imagine naked Jen running thru the aisle. I wonder where it happened in the airport.

 

 

Internal flight info: 

RJ 503  AMM 25 Sep11 to CAIRO

CHARTER flight from Queen Alia International Airport to Cairo Egypt

 

Starbucks in the Amman Airport.  I think there is a Starbucks on the moon also.  As we wait in the airport, I wondered where Jen stripped and caused the airport to be evacuated.  Yeah, nobody would want to see that.

 

This is too cool. This is my Aunt Carolyn True (on the left) at the airport. They flew on propeller planes!!! OMG! How uncomfortable is that!

Here I am boarding my Jet to Egypt.  I can't believe they let us take photos on the tarmac.  There were other people taking pictures also.

This is my first glimpse of the pyramids from the airplane.  Look how close the city of Cairo has spread - right beside the pyramids.  I wonder what it will be like in 10 years.

 

Arrive in Cairo Egypt at 1:33 pm.

  

 

 

It 2:20 and we are on the bus in Cairo.  This is huge bus for our little group of seven people!

Mohammed, "Mo",  our guide introduced himself.  Very impressive:  He is an "Egyptologist". He teaches and he has his doctorate PhD.

Population of Egypt 85 million. Population of Cairo is 24 million.

There are 134 Gods here.

I took a photo of the stadium in the Officers military academy.

It is about 28 km to hotel.

Photo of the gates of entrance to the Mubarak compound.

Mo likes Anwar Sadat who did the 78 peace agreement with Jimmy Carter.

Sadat became President.  He achieved peace.  Then he was assassinated 10/6/1981.

Then Mubarak ruled.

The Military council runs the country now. Elections are at the end of October.

We drove by the biggest Mosque in Cairo  Al-Azhar. Founded in AD 970. 5 minarets

Religious makeup is 20% Christian 20% Muslim

Pix Coptic church cross on top.

 

After the revolution, only about 60% police force came back

The Yellow building is the train station.

The Red building is the Egyptian museum.

Nile river pix south and north.

International tower.

 

Optional excursions:

$40 USD for the Sound and Light show tonight

$? Nile River evening cruise and dinner.

$45 USD for Religious visit. Old Cairo, mosque, hanging church, synagogue.

Do not drink the tap water. 2 bottles is $1 USD from the driver.

 

1 USD = 6 pounds.

Open buffet dinner cruise $50 USD.

1205 sisters, 1207 Bev and Doug, 1212, Davis, 1209 me.  Reception on floor 1.

 

Friday Jan 28, 2011 building burned. Revolution start Jan 25. Mohammed (not Mo) is 33. 2005 was the last election, but he did not vote because it wouldn't be effective.

 

The Government television station on Tahrir square did not televise the demonstration. They chose to show the quiet bridge on the other direction. Other TV station showed the demonstrations.

Revolution started from Facebook and email messages.

We saw there were demonstrations on wall street in NYC so there are revolt everywhere.

 

Hotel CAIRO Sept 25, to Sept 28, 2011

 Sheraton Cairo   Galae Square  Cairo ET, Egypt   (202) 333-6980 0, Fax (202) 333-6460 1

www.sheratoncairo.com

Sheraton Cairo Hotel is ideally located on the west bank of the River Nile within a walking distance from the Opera House, Egyptian Museum, business districts, sophisticated shopping centers and the downtown embassies, close to historical area as point of interest.

Sheraton Cairo, with its cosmopolitan modern adjoining towers, stands as one of Cairo's landmark.

Plan for tomorrow:  Depart 7:30 am, See Pyramids, Sphinx, Museum. Back to hotel by sunset.

 

6 pm meet in the lobby to go to the Sound and Light show. The cost of the Sound & Light Show optional excursion is $40 USD.  I gave him the money for the show, for the optional excursion dinner cruise tomorrow night, and for the optional excursion tours on the last day.  He gave the money back for the tours. He said to wait and pay that later.

The Sound and Light show is about 1 hour long and it is in English.  We'll be back by 9 pm.

 

This is my ticket.  Notice the hundreds of seats.  Hundreds of seats were empty when we were there.

 

7:12 and we are here waiting for the light show to start at 7:30. The sounds of mosques call to prayer. I wouldn't say eerie, it not spooky, oh I came up with word but I[m hesitant to write it. I wonder if you supposed to be praying during the chant? Or after?

The wailing is tapering off. It sounded like about 20 different places/types of sound there at the peak of the chants. Seems like it only lasted maybe 2 minutes.

So I called it annoying, I will also say that endless church bells ringing in some places is annoying. I remember that morning in Zurich. I was backpacking to Liechtenstein.  That morning I felt awful and just wanted to sleep but those church bells kept ringing and ringing.  The Muslim minarets call to prayer is 5 times a day. That is regimen. That is impressive.

Pat said she could feel her pop with her. He passed away and she really misses him. It got me to thinking about my grandparents.  They were here!!! In 1960 They stood right here in the desolate desert with camels all around.  And now in 2011 there are buildings and tour buses.

On our drive here tonight, we passed herds of sheep and goats IN THE CITY.  The animals were being corralled on the cement sidewalk and in the open first floor of a building with shops on each side. That seemed very odd. They were resting on the sidewalk like the people did in India. In India it was bulls and cows, but here sheep and goats?!? Then I saw a herd of horses maybe 50 of them. With only the cement street to stand on. Maybe they don't regulate animals here like they do in Jordan. 

Note:  I asked about the animals in the city, and he said that the farmers bring the sheep into the city where it is easier for people to purchase them for a special religious celebration this month.  Oh, that makes sense.

I have a feeling that the souvenir sellers tomorrow are going to be brutal. We got a very small taste of some desperate sellers tonight. Tourism is their number one industry. I wonder how much it costs to mail a post card.

My tour book said there are three-one hour shows, but now, with less tourists, they have only filled maybe one quarter of the seats.  The show is "the voice of the Sphinx".  I noted two things that they said in the show:

"Man is an insect, yet man built it."

"Among those things found in the tomb, a scribe's pad was the most precious."   I really like that. Being a writer, I like to think that what I am writing is, or will be appreciated by someone some time.

 This is My picture:

THIS IS MY Picture

 

Driving back to the hotel after the lite show, 8:30 pm.  There are many, many buildings with no signs of life. The entire building is dark. Maybe the building is not habited? In some huge high-rise building there are very few lights in the building. There are lots of garages everywhere.

Things are mess here.  Since the revolution, things are not regulated. But it is a very exciting time to be here to see the excitement of change in the peoples faces. I don't see despair, I see hope in their faces. Mohammed said he was going to vote in the next election.

 

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DAY 11  Monday September 26 Cairo, The Pyramids at Giza, Memphis, Sakkara's, Egyptian Museum

GLOBUS Itinerary  

When I signed up for this trip, this was the itinerary Cairo sights over TWO days of sightseeing: 

Cairo and The Pyramids at Giza

ITINERARY Guided sightseeing starts at the EGYPTIAN MUSEUM with Tutankhamen's fabulous treasures, an exciting first encounter with the splendor of three millennia of Egyptian civilization.  At GIZA, take a close-up look at the enigmatic SPHINX and the daunting GREAT PYRAMIDS. Cheops, with an original height of 496 feet, is the most colossal pyramid ever built.  Tonight, you may wish to enjoy an optional dinner cruise on the Nile.

Cairo. Excursion to Memphis.

ITINERARY This morning visit SAKKARAS Stairway to the Sky, the oldest of all pyramids.  Then, leave for ancient MEMPHIS to admire the 40-foot statue of Ramses II and the Alabaster Sphinx. Later today, join an optional excursion to see the Hanging Church, the Coptic Museum, and more. This evening, enjoy a farewell dinner at your hotel with your traveling companions of an unforgettable journey.

 

When we got our guide book a week before departure, this is the itinerary See EVERYTHING IN ONE Day!

ITINERARY Guided sightseeing starts at the EGYPTIAN MUSEUM with Tutankhamen's fabulous treasures, an exciting first encounter with the splendor of three millennia of Egyptian civilization.   Then, leave for ancient MEMPHIS to admire the 40-foot statue of Ramses II and the Alabaster Sphinx.   On to SAKKARAS Stairway to the Sky, the oldest of all pyramids.   At GIZA, take a close-up look at the enigmatic SPHINX and the daunting GREAT PYRAMIDS.   Cheops, with an original height of 496 feet, is the most colossal pyramid ever built.  Tonight, you may wish to enjoy an optional dinner cruise on the Nile.

Breakfast  included today.

 

7:30 departure in the morning for our big day of touring.  Everyone was on time and waiting in the lobby.  I was guilty of making our departure a little late because I had brought my printed photos that Grampa took. Mo helped identify the locations. He said he would help me take a couple of the pictures on our tours today.

The bus was parked in front of the hotel.  It is one of biggest, huge tour buses for our group of only 7 people.  Wow.  I guess the bug bus makes a statement. It is an announcement in the traffic that there are tourists visiting your city! Make way! 

Our first stop today was going to be Giza. But we had to get there first. There were many, many cars in very heavy traffic that we had to navigate.  There is no infrastructure here. Feels like a general sense of chaos just getting around this city. The roads are terrible and they are not maintained. Per Dave "The police are abysmal."

 

About Giza  

As we were making our way through traffic, Mo gave us a great lecture on why the pyramids were built. 

I'm sorry I can't do justice in this journal to the informative information that he told us. Suffice it to say the pyramids were built to protect body, soul, name, shadow, and heart, and spirit.

Around 2600 BC, this was burial ground for kings.

There are 97 pyramids. We are going to the see the most famous.

The Giza Pyramids are precisely placed. Their sides align to true North.

They are made of limestone & granite from the city Asswan which is 500 miles away.

110,000 people were organized to build the pyramid for 30 years. They work during the flood because they can't farm during June, July and August. The Nile runs South to North. There were no dams to control the water so they had floods.

The Great Pyramid, The Pyramid of Cheops. 

King Cheops was the second pharaoh of the Fourth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom of Egypt. 

This is the tallest and oldest, built 2599-2566 BC. 460 (other reports up to 481) feet high, and 750 feet along it's base. 

They used over 1.2 million blocks of stones - over 6 million tons of building material.

The stones weigh from a minimum 1 ton and maximum 15 tons in weight.

Moved WITHOUT the help of wheeled vehicles - they pushed the sledges over slippery wet mud along inclined planes

This pyramid also had outer case of white limestone, then plaster which is carved. People stole limestone to build their houses.

The Pyramid of Chephren. On higher ground, so it seems bigger.  Summit still has the smooth limestone casing that originally covered all three pyramids.

The Pyramid of Mycerinus - smaller, but with more elaborate temples. 

30 families (Dynastys) have rules Egypt.

There was the Old Kingdom, Middle Kingdom, and the Late (or Nubian) kingdom dynasty 22 to 30 Persian invasion, then Alexander the Great ruled.

The 4th dynasty dates back to year 2550 or 2515? BC.

Cheops ruled Egypt when he was 28 years old. If you die suddenly and you don't have a resting place, your soul is lost. So that is why they started building and preparing resting place where to be place when you die. MO worked with Michael Leonard US Archaeologist.

A Cartouche is an ellipse with a horizontal line at one end, indicating that the Egyptian hieroglyphs text enclosed in the ellipse is a royal name. The Pharaoh's cartouche with his name is engraved very deep into pyramid.

 

Before the revolution in January 2010, Giza was closed at 5 pm. Now it closes at 2 pm so they can sweep the area and make sure it is safe. 18 years ago, the pyramids were open 24/7.

 

It is 8:40. We have been driving for 1 hour 10 minutes and we are still slowly driving to the pyramid. Traffic is very slow.  I see lots of VW buses.

Before we go to the pyramids we first had to change money.  We stopped at The Mena House Oberio Resort  http://www.oberoihotels.com/oberoi_menahouse/index.asp   Wow. This resort was incredible! From Time magazine, March, 2003:  The Mena House resort was built in 1869 as a royal lodge. You can see Cheops Pyramid from your room! At dawn the staff leads guests on horseback to the pyramids right next to the hotel.  To book a cruise on the Nile, they recommended the Sun Boat IV booked with Abercrombie & Kent (800-323-7308) company which is heavily dependent on US visitors. 

Money exchange:  There was a "Banque MISR" in the hotel lobby.  Mo told us to get some small denominations of money -  10, 20, 50 and coins.

Exchange rate September 27,2011 is USD 5.99 and Euro 7.94  On February 25, 2012 (when I'm writing this journal) rates are USD 6.03 and Euro 8.11. 

I changed 50 Euro (about 65 USD) for 397 Egyptian pounds.

Next we stopped at the Pyramids ticket booth. Our tour includes the Giza pyramids, but it does not include the price of going inside the pyramid.  You can pay 100 pounds ($17 USD)  to buy a ticket to go inside the big pyramid.  The number of tickets sold for the big pyramid is limited.  Or you can pay 30 p ($5 USD)  to buy a ticket to go in the third pyramid - the number of these tickets is not limited.  Mo said that we will see the same thing in both pyramids. He said "You see nothing inside. In other words, they have removed all the valuables and artifacts.

Finally we get tot he the pyramids.  There's tons of space to park hundreds of tour buses.  Mo said we had 20 minutes. 20 minutes!  Is that all!?!  OK. See all that I can see in the time allotted.  He gave us our ticket as we were getting off the bus.  Cost of the Giza Ticket (included in the tour) is 60 L.E. ($10 USD)

Important tour note: Notice what your bus looks like, the colors, sign in the window.  You will have to locate your bus in a sea of buses later.

It was really a spectacular place to experience.  You are absolutely tiny in comparison to these mammoth structures.  I tried to walk up the biggest pyramid.  The locals were ruining my experience. They are desperate for money. I'm sorry.  I imagined seeing these pyramids in person for all my life and here I am, and you are not going to let me savor the moments. You want me to buy your postcards. You want me to ride your camel. No thank you.  Please leave me alone so I can admire this majesty. 

One man latched on to me and would not leave my side. Followed me around.  I tried to be kind in saying to and trying to explain "I paid thousands of US dollars for this trip, and we were given 20 minutes to see these pyramids, so PLEEEEESE leave me alone."  He paused and let me go on my way, but I still saw him following me with his eyes. Creepy.  It's a shame when the experience is tainted by something like that. Like the boy at Angor Wat in Cambodia.  That awful event was something I try to forget.

 

This is my Grandmother in 1960 in front of Cheops.


I am smiling because I made it!  I am done!  This is LAST place that I can go to take the same picture as my grandparents. I have finished, completed my expensive, life-long goal of visiting every place possible that my grandparents have seen.  Yeah!
 
 

It is really difficult to imagine how big this Great pyramid really is.

 In grandma's picture above, there are people standing next to the pyramid so you can gauge the height of the monstrosity from that. 

In my photo below the people are only 2.5 stones high!

I guess 20 minutes was enough time to take all my pictures of Cheops. After the locals left me alone, I could actually feel the hugeness of this structure. I climbed up on the first two levels at the bottom of the pyramid and I was 10 feet high off the ground.  I can't imagine climbing 460 feet up all the way to the top.  I wonder if they ever allow anyone to do that. 

I watched people who purchased the 100 pound ticket go inside, into a hole that they have excavated into the side of the pyramid.

I found our bus. We drove to the third pyramid.  I took this photo through the bus window.

 

The building adjacent to the Great Pyramid is the Khufu Boat Museum.

The Khufu (King Cheops) ship is one of the oldest, largest, and best-preserved vessels from antiquity.

Around 2500 BC it was sealed into a pit carved out of the Giza bedrock.

It measures 43.6 m (143 ft.) long and 5.9 m (19.5 ft.) wide.

The ship was discovered in 1954.

It was apparently part of the extensive grave goods intended for use in the afterlife - It is a type of "solar barge", a ritual vessel to carry the resurrected king with the sun god Ra across the heavens.

The planks and frame were lashed together with grass. It took years to reconstruct the 1,224 pieces which had been laid in a logical, disassembled order in the pit beside the pyramid.

The ship has been on display to the public in the specially built museum at the Giza pyramid complex since 1982.

 

 

 

We parked the bus at Menkawres Pyramid aka "The Third Pyramid".

The two photo below are the same pyramid from about the same angle. 

You can see that they have dug into face of this pyramid to get to the tombs inside.

Inside the pyramid

About 1969 found a shaft going down .

No photos allowed, so we had to give our camera's to Mo to hold while we went inside.

We walked down a ramp into the passageway.  It was about a 40 degree decline. The ramp had wood strips nailed across so you don't slide down. It was a low ceiling so you have to stoop down. I counted 71 "steps" down.   There were lights and ventilation to move the air around. 

We entered a hallway that lead to a very large chamber. Turn right and there was about 25 more stone steps down to room with 6 chambers. These were store rooms for sprit, body, and the 4 "canopic" jars to hold and protect organs:  stomach, intestine, lung, liver.  Also storage for money, corn, animals, uniforms (clothing).

At the back of the large chamber was another "room".  The ceiling was beautifully arched made of stone.  Wow.

There was another a room off big chamber where you could see the other upper side (the "roof") of the arched ceiling of the big chamber below.

The photo below is Pat and I as we came out of the pyramid.  You have to pause to catch your breath after seeing all that!

Notice that the newer stones on lower level are a lighter color stones where they are rebuilding the pyramid.

 

 The Sphinx of Chephren

The next stop on the tour is the Sphinx. 

Mo said sphinx was buried up to his shoulders in sand when it was discovered.

The Sphinx was built around 2600 BC so it is 4600 years old.

It is 66 feet tall and 240 feet long.

It has the body of a lion, with the head of Pharaoh Chephren

A 9th century religious leader had the nose knocked off in a blow against idolatry.  The head and face will not be restored because no one knew how they originally appeared.

1798 Napoleon excavated the head and neck out of the relentless sand

In 1960s holes were bored in it for electrical cables.

In 1988 a large chunk of rock fell off the shoulder.

In Arabic, the Sphinx is called "Abu Hol", or "Father of Terror"

Terrorists killed 58 tourists at Luxor (340 miles South of Sphinx) in November 1997

We walked around the entire statue. 

 

The sphinx is really "small" in comparison to the size of pyramids.  This perspective makes the sphinx look huge!

x

Grampa's picture 

This is my picture in 2011. Look how much the have dug down in 50 years. 

Mo said sphinx was buried up to his shoulders in sand when it was discovered.

Sphinx needs a nose!

  

 

Right next to the Sphinx was Khafre's Valley Temple, aka Chephren's Valley Chapel.  It was part of the funerary complex.  They are excavating the remains of the temple.  The granite blocks used to build this temple weight 10 tons each and were transported from Aswab - over 600 miles to the South.  I took a picture of the gated room is where they prepared bodies.  There is no roof on their temple so they can welcome the sun god when he arrives each morning.

 

10:35 and we are leaving Giza headed to the step pyramid Sakkaras.  It is 19 miles South of Cairo

Mo's information

Kia (Korean) and Hyundai cars are popular here. Japanese cars are more expensive. Honda Toyota.

Gas is 1.5 pounds per liter or 85 cents a gallon he kept saying. Did he really mean 8.5 a gallon?

18 is the driving age.

21 year old drinking age.

It is legal to drink in Egypt if you practice religion, you do not drink. 

34 % of people are illiterate.

We don't believe in birth control here so population is problem.

We are drive through an agricultural area. Wheat corn, alfalfa, sugar cane.

 

Sakkaras or Saqqara

This is The FIRST pyramid in Egyptian civilization. 

This is Zoser's gigantic funerary complex: The Step Pyramid of Saqqara

"Zoser" or "Djoser"

It covers an area about 1 mile by 4.5 miles wide

It was formed by putting six stages, or "mastaba" tombs on top of each other.  A "mastaba" is a low, flat-topped building.

It is about 200 feet tall and the base is 400 feet long and 360 feet wide.

If has a maze of galleries 100 feet below top.  The burial chambers were lines with blue tiles

The limestone quarry used to build this pyramid was 23 km from the Nile!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the building that you see after you get off the bus.

Building stone was invented by Pharaoh Zoser about 2800 BC. He was mankind's first stone architect.

He built this as part of the 5420 feet of enclosure wall that surrounded the entire pyramid complex.

When you walk in, you see the photo below. There are 42 limestone columns in this colonnade. Some columns are concave, and some with convex fluting. The columns date back to 2629 BC. In between the columns, there were statues.

 

After you walk through the building of columns, you enter a big courtyard.  I am standing in the courtyard looking back at the building of columns in this picture.  At the end of the colonnade, there are four pairs of columns. The architect that built these pairs of columns, Imhotep, had not yet attained the mastery of stonework, so he did not detach the columns - there are adjacent walls between these pairs of columns.  Imhotep is later deified for his architectural, medical, and philosophical accomplishments.

This is huge "Cobra courtyard".  It was surrounded by a tall wall and buildings and chapels on each side of the courtyard.

 

I walked around complex.  It is huge.  They discovered a huge well that they were excavating.  There was an English school of about 30 very cute kids also touring this place.

11:50 now and we meet back at the bus. It was easy to find.  There was only one bus in the parking lot. We only have 7 people in our tour group, but they are driving this is HUGE tour bus for us! 

Notice the pack of dogs.  There were several packs of dogs around the sites that we visited.  At the Sphinx Laser show, the dogs were a big distraction. Two packs were fighting so there was lots of growling, barking and at least one fight.  At one point, there was dog right in front of my chair - he stood there for over a minute. I was terrified that a fight would happen right there.  I guess they don't have PETA and animal rescue groups operating here now.  Too many other things to worry about.

Now we are driving to Memphis.  This is a picture of Date trees - the dates are the yellow bunches hanging down from palm tree.

Memphis

We arrive in Memphis at Noon. We are the only bus again!!! We are the only tourists visiting today.

According to legend Memphis was founded by the pharaoh Menes around 3000 BC. Menes was the ruler who united Upper and Lower Egypt.

Memphis was capital of Egypt during the Old Kingdom, it remained an important city throughout ancient Mediterranean history. It occupied a strategic position at the mouth of the Nile delta.

Grand palaces and temples were torn down by foreign invaders and Romans.

Our ticket says "Mit Rahina Museum"  35 L.E. ($6 USD)

The sign says we are going to see (I left the spelling as it appears in the sign)

Ramseis II Museuim 

Mummification Temple

Hathour Temple

Seti Forst Chapel

Ramseis II Small Temple

Ptah Temple

Tale Elazaiz Area

 

First we go to see The Colossal Statue of Ramses II

Ramses

You will always see the left leg forward because the heart is on the left side of the body.

There is a Cobra on the forehead of Ramses.

The statue is marked in several places with Ramses cartouche on his wrist, belt, chest, and shoulder.  The cartouche is an oval circle, inside the oval is hieroglyphics bearing his name.   They put many cartouches on the statue so no one will try to steal the statue, change the name and claim is it someone else.

This is my grandfather's picture of the other Ramses statue in front of the train station in Cairo.  It was put there in 1958, and removed in 2004 to preparation it for display at a new museum that is not yet open.

The sign next to this Sphinx in Memphis says "Alabaster Sphinx"  Mo explained that this is the statue of Queen Hatshepsut.

Mo did his dissertation on her! he gave a very interesting lecture that could never do justice to here.  Most of this is from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_Hatshepsut

 

Today Egyptologists generally agree that Hatshepsut assumed the position of pharaoh and the length of her reign usually is given as 22 years from 14791458 BC, 18th Dynasty

Hatshepsut reestablished the trade networks and built the wealth of the 18th dynasty.

She oversaw the preparations and funding for a mission to the Land of Punt. The expedition had five 70-foot ships with several sails and accommodating 210 men that included 30 rowers.

Many trade goods were bought in Punt, notably myrrh, spices and perfume.  Egyptians returned with 31 live myrrh trees - This was the first recorded attempt to transplant foreign trees. Hatshepsut had these trees planted in the courts of her temple complex.

Hatshepsut was one of the most prolific builders in ancient Egypt, commissioning hundreds of construction projects throughout both Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt, that were grander and more numerous than those of any of her Middle Kingdom predecessors. Later pharaohs attempted to claim some of her projects as theirs.

An attempt was made to remove Hatshepsut from certain historical and pharaonic records. This elimination was carried out in the most literal way possible. Her cartouches and images were chiseled off some stone walls, leaving very obvious Hatshepsut-shaped gaps in the artwork.

Hatshepsut's numerous statues were torn down and in many cases, smashed or disfigured before being buried in a pit. It is not clear why it happened, other than the typical pattern of self-promotion that existed among the pharaohs.

 

All hail the lady Pharaoh!

 

Mo gave us some time to walk around the complex.  The sign adjacent to this statue says: Triad of Memphis (Ptah -Skhemet - Nefertum)  New Kingdom Granite Stone

I guess you could spend the entire day here, but we had very limited time.  We still had to see a carpet factory, eat lunch and the Egyptian museum.

Here are some kids in public school uniform.  They saw us (Westerners) on the bus and they waved at us!  Even they know how to appreciate tourists in their country.

After we left Ramses in Memphis, he took us to a carpet factory.   Uuuughhhh!   I hate these.  At 12:40 we arrive at the Carpet School. There are children here making the rugs.

The showed and explained different knotting and weaving techniques. I was starving and I really did not want to be there, but I tried appear interested.  I think it was a mistake to come here before we eat.  I was so hungry that I would have never make a decision about spending money when I'm so hungry. I don't think Beverly is feeling 100% either.

I guess I could search my journals to see how many of these carpet factories that I've been to.  They served us hot tea and they want us to shop. No thank you. I just kept writing in my journal and they will left me alone.

We were at that factory for 1.5 hours!!!! I wish we hadn't even stopped.  That is 1.5 hours less that we will have at the Egyptian Museum later. 

So at 2:15 we were on our way again. We arrive at the Lunch stop at Sakkara Restaurant. It was huge! There was easily enough seats for 300 people.  I can't imagine when they will have that many tourists again.

 

  For 85 pounds (about $14 USD) we have 4 options all served with Babkanush salad, falafel, pita bread, dates:

Option 1: shish kabob

Option 2: 2 grill chicken

Option 3: both kabob and chicken

Option 4: vegetables

The food was very good.  Debbie and I also got and Egyptian beer. 

I can remember on some trips (Vietnam, Africa) the group was so cohesive that we had to meet before dinner and stay late after dinner sharing cocktails and enjoying each other's company and telling endless travel stories and sharing experiences. No so on this tour, but that's OK.  This is only my 2nd beer on this trip - need to careful and be aware of all my surroundings.

 

This was the very sweet girl that I met in the bathroom.   She was very concerned about my red, flushed complexion. She kept giving me wet paper towels to put on my face to cool me down.  Yes, it was a very hot day, and yes, I was sweating a lot.  Can you imagine how much these ladies sweat in the garb they have to wear.  They are very conditioned to this weather and dress - I really don't think they sweat very much at all.   Anyway, this girl wanted to touch my hair and she showed me her beautiful black hair under her scarf.  That was special.

 

 

Driving through Cairo, the city looks so {I'm lacking the correct word here}

The obvious words are dirty, trashy, dark and dingy.  My photo below shows the Housing & Development Bank and some buildings.  I remember noticing when we were driving back from the Sound & Light Show at night that so many of the high-rise buildings were dark - so they don't have electricity?!? 

OK, after having said/written that about the physical description of the city, I have to follow with my observation about the people in the city.  The people appear alive with hope. They truly believe in a better future.   After the revolution and success at ousting leaders, they are on their way to a better life. 

Mubarak was forced out February 18,2010. He was 84 years old and has bladder cancer.  He let his wife and son take over (rule). Mubarak son is 44 years old now.   Was maybe a terrible mistake but he did keep the country out of war.

At this writing, it's been 1 year since Mubarak left and the people are realizing that it's a longer, harder, more deadly road than they ever imagined to attain that better life....

 

 

 

Piles of rubbish in many places around Cairo.

 

On the signs in Cairo, there is a noticeable lack of English. Only Arabic printing.  You don't need to know Arabic to know this is sign for Kentucky Fried Chicken. 

Check out the American -  made Chevrolet car.  I saw a gun laying in the back seat of a car!

The Museum of Art is a beautiful building

There are 24 million people in Cairo. All the time it is rush hour.

 

On September 9, 2011 the Israeli Embassy closed. Egyptian protestors broke into the embassy and the ambassador had to leave the country.  This is Atlanta newspaper article  ---------->>>>>>

I saw that in the newspaper on September 10 and I was supposed to leave on this trip 5 days later.  My immediate reaction to the news was that I am still very glad to be going now, because things are only going to get worse and then I will never get to see the pyramids.   There is never going to be "good" time to travel to that area, and so far it was still OK for Americans to be tourists there.

So 2 weeks after the embassy closed, here was our tour bus passing the Israeli Embassy compound.  There were still many, many Israeli solders left to guard the building and area. The street to the embassy was blocked and closed and our bus was driving around the area.   When the Israeli soldier noticed Westerners on the huge tour bus, they waved at us and did "thumbs up" as if to approved of our presence.   I took other photos of their camp and buses around the building.

The Israeli police swat teams wear red berets.  This Israeli policeman was waving at me:

 

 

We are getting closer to Tahrir square. 

They are planning a demonstration tonight so the paddy wagons are also arriving at the square.

The triangle building on the right side of this photo is on Tahrir Square:

 

In my photo:

The pink building on the left side of the photo below is the Egyptian Museum.

 The burned building is the Egyptian National Democratic Party building. T

The building with the blue drape on the right side of the photo is the new Nile- Ritz Carlton under construction.

 

Here is the proximity of the burned government building to the (pink) Egyptian museum.  The building in the middle of the television station. All of these buildings are right on Tahrir Square.  He said that during the revolution , the TV station had their cameras pointed away from the square, so nobody really knew that the demonstrations were starting.  The government was not going to report the uprising, so they had to communicate with other (social media) methods.   

The building burned on January 29, 2010. Mo said they lined up buckets of water all along the around the museum to have it ready in case the fire jumped over.

Mo said the museum was also robbed.  They stole about 200 small pieces. Paratroopers dropped in through the ceiling of the museum the robbers ran off. King Tut's solid gold mask was dropped recovered outside the museum!  

 Egyptian Museum

3:55 pm we arrive at the museum on Midan Tahrir (Cairo's main traffic-chocked square)

The entrance cost is 60 L.E. ($10 USD) (included in the tour) and well worth it for one of top museums in the world.

The museum opened in 1901. There are 165,000 pieces here from each Kingdom: Old (2700-2200 BC), Middle (2100-1800 BC, and New (1600-1200 BC)

The first thing that Mo shows us is right inside the entrance of the museum - It is a copy of the Rosetta Stone.

This stone is the reason we can read the hieroglyphics  and the key to learning how to speak Hieroglyphic

Hieroglyph is Greek for "sacred carving"

The original Rosetta Stone is made of Basalt and it located in England? 

It  was discovered by Napoleon's troops during his Egyptian invasion in 1799.

The stone has the same text written in parallel in 3 languages: Hieroglyphic, Demotic version of the same text in parallel with a Greek translation.

 Hieroglyph was the common language then. Egyptian Hieroglyphics came from the Demotic language and the Greek language. 

It was real breakthrough in deciphering the language.

Jean-François Champollion studied the stone and over 6000 papyrus papers and he made the complete decipherment by the 1820s:

It is a complex system, writing figurative, symbolic, and phonetic all at once, in the same text, the same phrase, I would almost say in the same word.

This was a major triumph for Egyptologists. 

Mo can read Hieroglyph.  He said only 312 people can read it.

Next he lead to the collection of Embalming tables. Most made of Limestone. "Anubis Lord of Embalmers". Table is about 10 feet long.  It slants down and there is a drain for liquid.

Mo gave us a very interesting summary of their process - remove the organs, put them in jars, sticks up the nose to mush the brain...

The prepared body goes into a coffin, the coffin goes in sarcopagagus.  We saw a room with many sarcophagi.

"The Falcon Eye" - We saw a gilded wood statue of the Horus, the falcon sun god.  And Baboons - they are worshippers of Ra (Sun).

About Tutankhamen and his Treasure Tomb

Akhenaten reigned from 1372 to 1354 (16 years). He was married to Nefertiti and they had 6 daughters, but  no male offspring.  So he married (?) his sister and she gave birth to Tutankhaten (later Tutankhamen) - per Wikipedia February 2010 DNA analysis has revealed that Akhenaten (mummy KV55) fathered Tutankhaten with his biological sister/wife (mummy KV35YL), whose name is unknown but whose remains are positively identified as "The Younger Lady" mummy.

Tut lived from 1341 BC 1323 BC (18 years).  At the age of nine or ten, he ascended to the throne. He married his half-sister They had two daughters, both stillborn.

He was the Pharaoh of the 18th dynasty "The New Kingdom" for 10 years from 1333 BC 1323 BC

When a Pharaoh dies, he must be buried within 70 days.  His death was unexpected and 25,000 people were hired to work for 70 days to prepare everything for the tomb (the location in The Valley of the Kings was actually intended from someone else.)

 

--------------------------------------------------------->>>>>

In 1922 Howard Carter discovered Tutankhamen's nearly intact tomb.

They found 5000 pieces. 90% of them are solid gold.

Photo to the right shows the utter confusion of the tomb when it was discovered - overturned chariots, ceremonial couches in the royal sepulcher   --------------------------------------->>>>>>

We saw

Life size statue of Tut

Wig box mahogany wood with very ornate decorations.

360 statues about 8 to 18 inches high. Servants that you take with you. All of this.....So you CAN take it with you!!!!!

Ivory game boards.

Perfume container. Boats, his bed. His folded bed with bronze and metal hinges. Made 1333 BC.

Umbrella found in pieces. A panther skin goes on top.

The Jackal Shrine -Carried first into the tomb.

 His linen (underwear), his shoes, his socks, his linen gloves (very small)

His wife's bra

Tut and his wife on gold plated wood with semi-precious stone inlays

Alabaster canopic jars for his organs are about 3 feet tall. All put into this canopic shrine on gilded wood sleigh.  The shrine is put in another gold container, and these put in another yet bigger container.

In the museum, there is precious display room - On the right side of the room is Jewelry - collars of  gold etc etc etc. On the left are the coffins.  There are 2 coffins here, and 1 coffin is located at the valley of the king's. The coffin is Solid gold . 74 inches long. Arms are folded across his chest holding the ship and scepter, insignia of dominion.  It has enamel inlays, colored stones. The king is folded in the protective wings of the both the vulture and cobra non the forehead - symbols of the Upper and Lower Egypt.

Tut's mummy:  On November 4, 2007, 85 years to the day after Carter's discovery, the 19-year-old pharaoh went on display in his underground tomb at Luxor. His linen-wrapped mummy was removed from its golden sarcophagus an put in a climate-controlled glass box designed to prevent decomposition caused by the humidity and warmth from tourists visiting the tomb.

 

The Mask:  28 pounds of solid gold (12.5 Kilos) with turquoise, lapis lazuli, copper, and silver etc etc inlays.
The mask was almost stolen during revolution.
 The robber dropped the mask and it was found outside!

The black dog is used to portray Anubis, lord of necropolis.
On his journey through the netherworld, Tut was supposed to be changed into the god Anubis. This very important wooden statue has gold inlays and alabaster and obsidian eyes.

 

The newest exhibit in the museum is the Animal Mummy room.  It just opened a month ago. There are 4 types of animal mummies:  Pets, food, sacred items and offerings.  We saw the Sacred scarab beetle, huge crocodile, dog, baboon, ram, food mummies.

We saw hundreds of other Treasures.

 

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5:20 we finished the tour and exited museum. There is a lot more activity in the Tahrir square because public transportation drivers are protesting right now.  That makes traffic really really really bad, even worse than before because of transport strike starting today, people must drive at that causes more traffic. There are many cars with just one person (just like home in Atlanta, Georgia). There are NOT a lot of mopeds here.

Finally get back to the hotel at 6 pm.

We were not going to see the driver again, so we tipped him when he dropped us off at the hotel.  We can tip Mo tomorrow at the farewell dinner.  I wrote "36 pounds per person for tour guide tip?"  I'm really can't remember how much I tipped.

Pat and Dave said goodbye to each other in the lobby and Dave walked back outside of the hotel.  Pat rode the elevator up with me to the rooms.

I get a very short time to relax and change clothes, then meet back in the lobby at 6:30 for the Nile River Cruise.  

The dinner cruise was about what I expected.  All of us, sans Pat&Dave went, but they had a small bus to transport us tonight.

On the drive to the cruise, we could hear many sirens and bull horns outside.

We got to the boat and waited.  I could go outside on the boat up on the deck outside. They call it the roof.  It was actually the back porch. We were still docked and the engine was running.  Diesel engine fumes were unbearable. I went back inside. I asked our police guardian if there was a place outside in the front of the boat. He leads me back to the same place at the stinky back end of the boat. I guess there was no place up front where we could go outside. OK.

At that point, the official police man assigned to our group was really starting to get annoyed with me.  He was justified.  He had to follow me around all day while I lagged back from the group so I could take more photos.  He had to wait on me, and urge me forward to join the group.  It was apparent that it was dangerous to be left alone.  I guess the tour company would be liable if something happened?  Anyway, I apologized to the guy for being such a nuisance during the day and this evening. I obeyed and returned to our designated table where he could watch all of us in the group at the same time.

A few more people arrived on the boat and were seated in the dining room. The 5 of us were the only westerners there. Seems like the dining room was on only about 30% full.

During dinner, the entertainment was one female singer and one man with music selected on a computer. That was nice.

The food served on the dinner buffet included everything you could imagine. Fish, chicken, beef, vegetables, potatoes, stuffed peppers (takes 4 steps/hours to make, forgot what it is called.) Soup. Overall, the food was OK. It was prepared differently than what I was accustomed to - I guess Americans have grown to love their fatty, salty food which has made American grow larger!

There was a fully covered woman at a table near us.  I tried to observe how she ate.  She would ladle the food on her fork with one hand, the other hand would pull the veil out and hold it  away from her mouth so she could carefully balance the fork full of food under the veil and into her mouth. It seemed like a lot of trouble and tedious to me only because the whole practice seems so foreign. If I was born and raised observing and practicing the same dress, I would hope that I could conform also conform.  Mohammed said it was her choice to cover.

There was a big assortment of desserts. The chef standing there had to help me with get my deserts. Banana ice cream! Chocolate stuff, jello, a lot of different things. It was all made with a lot less sugar than the American desserts. So yes, their food probably is a lot more healthy. But then I would equate "healthy" synonymous with "tasteless" and not worth the calories.  I left most of the ice cream on my plate. 

After dinner, oh my goodness. Yup, there was more entertainment. It was one woman dressed in a long skirt, tight push-up bra sporting maximum cleavage and lots of midriff skin doing belly dancing.  It went on, and on, and on.  Costume change, more belly dancing.

The fully-covered woman filmed the entire show. Her husband was sitting between her and the dancer, so she could film her husband enjoying the show.  It seemed very odd to me. She was fully covered and the belly dancer didn't leave much to the imagination.  Just seemed odd.  Not sure what else to say about that.

During the show, the belly dancer would pause her dancing to pose with us in the audience while a photographer clicked away. The belly dance lasted a long time (in my opinion), but not long enough for the men in dining room. We could tell that our bus driver was really enjoying the show. He had a big smile on his face.

After the belly dancing, a man in a dress with beautiful large round colorful skirts performed. Reminded me of the Whirling Dervish. He started spinning and did not stop. On and on and on. He lifted the colorful layer, spun then above his head. I got a great photo of Bev & Doug with him.

After the whirling man, we had another belly dance. This time the outfit was even more revealing: a tight, show everything dress.

After the show, they presented me with an 8x10 printed color photo of me with the belly dancer standing beside me. The cost was 6 pound ($1 USD).  Uh, no thank you. Even if the cost was only a penny, that is not really now I want to remember Egypt.  I did not purchase the photo.

We had was seemed like a very long, long ride back to the hotel.  I'm sure the distance was not that far, the transportation strike was slowing everything down.

My writing was also slowing down, in fact it ground to a halt when my pen ran out of ink. Finally.  I had another pen that I could use.

When I got back to the hotel, I was so tired.  I did manager to transfer my last day of photos from my camera memory card to my computer.  I also copied my grandparents pictures to a USB drive that I am going to give Mo tomorrow.  I want to leave the old photos with Mo.

 

Tomorrow we have a "Free Day" . Pat and Dave invited me to come with them tomorrow.  So I don't have to pay $40 USD for another tour! Yeah.

I told Mo that did not want to do the tour, that we were going to try to see some things on our own.  He said if you need a taxi to use the white taxis.

I telephoned Dad to check in that night.

 

Children wave to us. They are taught to talk to strangers.

Souvenir sales man very positive reaction when I say America. Because as he said "USA - Egypt Friends! Obama good!" 

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DAY 12 Tuesday September 27 Cairo. Free day

GLOBUS Itinerary  Full day at leisure or join an optional excursion to see the Hanging Church, the Coptic Museum, and more. This evening enjoy a farewell dinner with your traveling companions of an unforgettable journey. 

Breakfast  and Dinner included today.

 

My comments about the itinerary  -  Yes, the optional excursion was available - for a cost!  I tried to give him my money for the optional tour, but he said to pay later.  I'm glad he gave my money back.  My excursion with Pat&Dave was a lot cheaper and we saw and experienced more!

I had a very relaxing morning.  I wandered down to breakfast and I didn't see anyone. Sat at a 2-top table.  Then Bev and Doug arrived. Then Pat and Dave.

 

As we walked through the lobby and exited the Sheraton hotel, there a small flurry of activity - taxi drivers were trying to get our attention.  They were aghast when we walked past them and kept walking.  They really do want the business and they need the money.  They have been careful to warn us about security etc. 

Well, Dave had done all the investigation work the night before. When he left Pat last night in the lobby, he told me that he had walked to the metro, bought a ticket, go on, and rode it the stop where we will need to get off to see the Coptic churches.  He felt safe and thought it would be fine for Pat and I to ride.  I was a little hesitant, but genuinely appreciative to have an escort and excited that I was going to see the Christian area called "Coptic Cairo".  About Coptic Cairo:

Egyptians were converted to Christianity by St. Mark who came to Alexandria about 61 AD. By the end of 4 century, Christianity was the official religion of Egypt.

Coptic Cairo was a stronghold for Christianity in Egypt until the Islamic era.

Most of the current buildings of the churches in Coptic Cairo were built after the Muslim conquest of Egypt.

It  is a part of Old Cairo which encompasses the Babylon Fortress, the Coptic Museum, the Hanging Church, the Greek Church of St. George, and many other Coptic churches and historical sites.

About The Copts - Egypt was Christian and it's people were know as "Copts". In AD 640, the Arab army occupied Egypt and they were instructed to take good care of the Copts, for the Prophet himself had given orders for them to do so.  Copts make up about 10% of the nation.

 

We walked across the street and started walking along the bridge.  We were headed to the Opera Metro station.  On the way to the metro a guy starts talking to us. He was very nice.  As he talked to Dave some more, the tide changed.  This man wanted to direct us to a market where his family had wares to sell.  We were tourists and he was intent on getting to go to that market.

We had other plans, and we were not going to his market.  Dave was very prepared because he rode the subway the night before and knew exactly where to go. Enter Opera station, go one stop, exit, walk to the N-S line and go South for 4 stops.

When the man heard this plan, he started telling Dave that the place where wanted to go is closed because of the demonstrations so we should just go to this market that he wants us to visit.

He realized that he was not going to change Dave's mind and plan, the man changed tactics and arguments.  He said it was dangerous for us get on the train at the Opera station.  He wanted us to walk all the way down to the next Sadat station so we would not have to change lines. This is the station where Tahrir square is located.  He wanted us to walk all the way to the square. No way!  He became very insistent and downright rude to Dave. That man did not want us to get on the metro at Opera station. He was getting very annoying. I hate that. It was uncomfortable.  But Dave was our hero.  Dave was obviously very skilled at dealing with people. We had walked past the Opera station and he told the guy that if the place we wanted to go was closed, then we were just going to stay in this area. And we turned around, starting walking back toward the hotel, and left the man.  It was a good plan to loose the annoying man.

We walked right back to the Opera station, bought our ticket, and got on the train. It was very, very crowded. There were men and covered women. We had to physically push people into the train car so all three of us could get inside.  Then more men pushed us further into the car.  Everyone was pushed up against each other. Thank goodness I was tall so I didn't need a handle, I could reach up and hold onto to the bar running along the ceiling of the train car. 

When the train started, it lunged forward.  I felt someone grabbing by back.  I looked back and saw a short covered black figure. She is not allowed to touch men and she had nothing to hold onto in this unsteady train. I smiled at her as if to say that it was fine with me for her to hold onto my bra strap so she won't fall over. After the next stop, the men noticed her problem, and cleared a space for her to hold onto the top of a seat.  That was really a cool moment for me!  What an experience to tell about this train ride.  Moments like that are the most memorable about a trip.  I would have never had the opportunity to have that experience if we were being shuttled thorough 2 hours of disgusting traffic on the huge tour bus.

We got a whole lot of stares on the train. I guess that doesn't happen very often to see white, uncovered women on the train. I felt like it would be odd for me to cover here. We look like tourists, and they want and love tourists. There were four articles in the Egypt newspaper about tourism and how important it is!

 

So we successfully transfer train lines at the Sadat station, go four stop South and get off the train at Mar Girgis to see Coptic Cairo.  As soon as you get off the train you can see two circular Roman Towers that form the entrance to the Coptic Cairo "compound".  These towers were part of western gate of the fortress of Babylon. The old city walls date back to 98 A.D.   One tower is in ruins and the other forms the base of the Greek Church of St. George.  This church was our landmark to get the train back home.

St. George church was built on one of the original round fortress gate towers so the church is round

The original 10 century church was destroyed by fire and this rebuilt church dates back to 1904.

Inside is beautiful carved wood, crystal chandelier and Jesus mosaic on the ceiling.

 

We walked down the street and found the Cemeteries. These are used by Greek Orthodox, Greek Catholic, and Coptics. It looks like the marble mausolea slab that this workers was standing on was just placed there recently and he is engraving the name in the statue.



 

We walked on the path through the graves and came to what I think is the Church of the Virgin.  A small 18th century church "notable for several fine icons".  It was being restored.  If you have a photo of this church after the restoration, please send it to me so I can post the difference.

 

 

 

Walk down the street another block and we pass the Coptic Museum.  We decide to see what is at the end of the street, then we'll come back to the museum.  That was a good idea. 

Another half block was the most FAMOUS Coptic church in Cairo: The Hanging Church:

It is named for its location above a gatehouse of Babylon Fortress, the Roman fortress in Coptic Cairo (Old Cairo).

It is called "Hanging Church", "al-Muallaqah" (in Arabic it means "The Suspended"); "Sitt Mariam" (St. Mary's Church); the "Staircase Church"

Location: Shar'a Mari Girgis, Cairo, Egypt

Faith: Christianity

Denomination: Coptic Orthodox

Dedication: Virgin Mary and is thus also known as St. Mary's Church.

Date: Founded 3rd or 4th century AD; rebuilt 7th and 10th centuries

Size: Length: 23.5 m and Width: 18.5 m; Height: 9.5 m

Status: active                                    

Visitor Information Opening hours: Daily 9-4 (except during services) Cost: Free

By the 11th century, the Hanging Church became the official residence of the Coptic patriarchs of Alexandria and several Coptic synods were held in the church.

From the street you see beautiful iron gates under a pointed stone arch. 

Walk through the gates and you see open courtyard.

On each side of courtyard, there are mosaics with biblical designs decorating the walls. 

At the end of the courtyard you see the church:

The nineteenth century facade with twin bell towers

The 29 steps up to the church entrance.

You go up the steps and there are 3 wooden doors decorated with geometric patterns, framed with decorative carvings in the stone wall.

Through the entrance then there is another small courtyard leading to the eleventh century outer porch.

The nave of the church is suspended over a passage. They have a cut a hole in the floor so you can see the visual impact of the church's elevated position -

They put glass over the hole so you can see the wall that church was built on top of and you can see all the way (30 feet?) down to the ground.  Over the years the land surface has risen by some 6 meters since the Roman period and the Roman tower is mostly buried below ground, but it still looked like a long way down to me.  

You walk inside and see these beautiful inlaid screens and marble pulpit. These date from 13th century. WOW: 

The marble pulpit has 13 pillars that represent Jesus and the 12 disciples. One of the pillars is black (representing Judas) and another is grey (for doubting Thomas) -this is customary in Coptic churches.  

The timber roof of the nave "recalls Noah's Ark. "

Many artifacts from this church are displayed in the Coptic Museum, including a lintel showing Christ's entry into Jerusalem that dates from the 5th or 6th century.

In the eastern end of the church are three sanctuaries with altars, dedicated to the Virgin Mary (center); St. George (left) and St. John the Baptist (right).

Definitely a most impressive church.  A Must see. 

 

 

Then we walked back down the street to the Coptic Museum.

 

More info http://www.coptic-cairo.com/museum/museum.html    http://www.coptic-cairo.com/

 

The Coptic Museum is a complete collection of information to learn about Christianity in Egypt. 

It has the largest collection of Egyptian Christian artifacts in the world.

It links Pharaonic, Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman traditions, linking ancient and Islamic Egypt.

Established in 1910.  President Hosni Mubarak came in person to inaugurate it on June 26, 2006.

It holds a collection of 16,000 works of art and objects on display.

It owns 6,000 papyrus manuscripts of which the most important are the Psalms of David and the manuscripts of Nag Hammadi.

The objects are grouped into different mediums, such as stonework, woodwork, metalwork, textiles and manuscripts.

At the entrance we had to leave our cameras.  Dave and I pulled out the SD picture card and carried that with us.  If our camera wasn't there at the end of the tour, then at least we'd have all our pictures. 

We paid 50 pounds (about $8.30 USD) for the entrance ticket.

My recommendation:  DO NOT pay extra to get English voice recorded audio tour of this museum.  The person speaking is fine and a clear voice, but I had a problem with the lack of information that they had on the recording.  It was almost useless. Listening to the recording distracted me from reading the interesting posts along the walls and adjacent to each exhibit. It was more of a deterrent than a help.

After the museum, we wander back down the street, not really sure where we are going next.  Do a little shopping.  Pat notices this stairway where there seem to be many people going up and down.

xx You go through the door at the bottom of the stairs
and here is this HUGE fortress of the door
that is used to block the entrance to this area:
x
x

 

There is a long walkway with buildings and businesses and churches.  This area has all this!

 

Our first stop is Saints Sergius Church.  It is believed that the Holy Family visited this area and stayed at the site of Saints Sergius and Bacchus Church (Abu Serga).

 

The nave of the church is divided into 3 parts separated by 12 pillars. Each pillar has an icon representing an apostle.  Judas' pillar is not painted and has no cross.

The 11th century screen is ebony with inlaid ivory.

On the left is the entrance to the apse where the entrance to the church Crypt is located.  This Crypt was built where the Virgin and Child lived during their flight into Egypt.

Our next super find was the Ben Ezra Synagogue.  This was originally a Coptic church that was built in the 8th century. The Copts sold it to the Jews to pay off taxes. It became a synagogue in AD 882 and established in Coptic Cairo in 1115

 

The photo below is Pat going through a metal detector before going inside the synagogue.

There were several tour groups inside. Normally, I would try to linger around another tour to listen to their guide lecture, but this day I did NOT try to  overhear any of the tour guides. I truly was tired of writing at that point in my trip and I was just enjoying the day.

 

This is true:  An item for sale to tourists was a set of coins for about 5 pounds ($6 USD). They were mounted in a blue paper and labeled "Coins from Ben Ezra Synagogue" The coins included: one United States quarter (worth 25 cents), one United States dime (worth 10 cents), and one United States penny (worth 1 cent).  You pay six dollars and get 36 cents of coins!  I asked the sales guy about the "souvenirs".  He said people would actually purchase the coins.  I bet I have done that to get money from other countries. I usually return home with other currency money and I have my grandparents collection.   I now have paper money and coins from over 60 countries in my collection now.

 

   x

 

After the synagogue, we walked back up the elusive stairway to Mar Girgis street.  Sit for a bit and drink a soda.  There are children walking down the street.  They notice us sitting and stop to talk.  the little girl seemed very excited to see us and wanted to practice her English.  She could not get the little boy to say anything to us.  Very cute. 

That would never happen in America.  Can you imagine children walking up to an Arab stranger in America?  Ain't going to happen. 

Our excellent Tour Guide, Dave is researching.  He led us on our next adventure, North up the street.  Police had the street blocked off so no vehicle could get past.  We walked a couple blocks to an enormous mosque.   

Mosque of Amr -  Egypt's oldest mosque.   Founded by Amr Ibn al-Aas, the Arab general who conquered Egypt for Islam in AS 640.  It is an entire city block BIG!

 

 

 

Dave removes his shoes and walks in the main front door. 
Pat and I have to go the door on the left where we are given very hot robes to cover.

x

 

Men wear very comfortable white robes, the women covered in black from head to the ground. 

Women are relegated to a special area of the mosque.

 

Right behind this mosque  are the Ruins of Fustat - the first Arab city in Egypt.  (It is a "hard-mud wasteland" now.)

We walked back to the Coptic area, found the train station and bought our tickets.

 

The signs in the station were very easy to read and follow.

Boarding the train here was a lot less hectic with fewer people than before. We changed trains at Sadat station and exited at our Opera stop. After that, a short walk back to the Sheraton hotel.
 
x
xx

 

 

What an absolutely perfectly, fun day. It was really relaxing because we had no time schedule and only a general plan. And we got to see EVERYTHING!

 

Dave was an excellent tour guide getting us there, seeing all the sites, and getting us back to the hotel.  If I had done the $45 USD optional tour, I would have had to ride the awful bus again and only see Hanging church and Synagogue I think. Not the Coptic museum.

 

6 pm that night we had our "Farewell dinner" as is customary on Globus tours.  I had the chicken and wine with dinner. The wine was... OK.

I gave the USB drive that  contained my grandparents pictures to  MO

 

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DAY 13 Wednesday September 28 Cairo(Breakfast)

ITINERARY Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.

 

When I booked this trip, I selected the 3 am flight on purpose.  I learned from experience that a 3 am flight is much better than a 6 am flight. 

If you have a 3 am flight: you have an hour to pack after the farewell dinner is over, then they shuttle you to the airport and you will sleep on the flight. 

If you have a 6 am flight: you pack after the farewell dinner, try to sleep for 2-3 hours, then they shuttle you to the airport. Your body thinks it's morning, so it's difficult to sleep on the flight.

So I was at the Cairo airport at 2:30 am waiting to board the plane.  I was observing the women adjusting their head coverings and scarfs all the time.  I wonder why they don't make a one-piece head cover for women. They use straight pins to keep the scarfs together - that is why I see so many straight pins on the ground!

  

My Flights Home

 

Wed  28 September (Boeing 737            Delta 9428 operated by Klm    5 Hr 0 Min flight

Depart Cairo, Egypt (CAI)                                     3:15 am

Arrive Amsterdam The Netherlands Schiphol   (AMS)  8:15A    Breakfast

2 Hr. 50 Min layover in AMS

Wed  28 SEP    Airbus 330-300                   9 Hr. 40 Min flight

Depart Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS)              11:05A

Arrive Atlanta, GA  (ATL)                           2:45P   seat 11A (comfort economy)

 

I was so glad that I had paid extra for the "comfort economy" seat. It was worth every penny to have those extra inches of seating space.  I checked my bag coming home so I didn't have to deal with a carry on. I didn't want to deal with dragging that suitcase around any more. 

I was sure glad to get home safe and healthy and have that experience over with!

 

 

News

7 (seven) days after I get back from Cairo, this is in the newspaper

Cairo airport protest leaves thousands stranded

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/06/uk-egypt-airport-strike-idUSLNE79503G20111006

CAIRO | Thu Oct 6, 2011 7:32am EDT

CAIRO (Reuters) - A go-slow protest by air traffic controllers at Cairo airport grounded four fifths of flights from the major regional hub and left as many as 3,000 travellers stranded, airport staff said on Thursday.

Egypt's state news agency MENA reported that the protest had ended at midnight on Wednesday, four hours after it began.

But by late morning on Thursday, only 20 of the 100 planes that had been due to take off in the previous 10 hours had left, airport officials said.

State carrier Egypt air saw 80 of its flights cancelled.

"The go-slow is still ongoing until this morning, despite what was said about the controllers intention to allow internal flights to resume," one airport staff member told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Local media said the go-slow was called after a pay increase for Cairo's 700 air traffic controllers was cancelled when other staff protested at the pay rise.

Some angry passengers broke into a tax authority office at the airport overnight to put pressure on officials to force an end to the protest, witnesses said.

(Writing by Tom Pfeiffer and Tamim Elyan Editing by Maria Golovnina)

Cairo Airport flights back to normal

The Egyptian Gazette

Saturday, October 8, 2011 07:43:50 PM

CAIRO - Flight to and from Cairo International Airport returned to normal Saturday, a few hours after air traffic controllers at the airport put an end to their strike against poor working conditions and low salaries.   

 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

       Sources at the airport said that EgyptAir has incurred losses of more than LE30 million because of the strike.

       At the same time, a large number of tour operators cancelled their reservations for Egypt because planes couldn't land at Cairo Airport, the sources added. 

 

My good travel karma worked again. I came home just in time before all hell broke loose again in Cairo. I think I'll quit testing my travel karma and take a break for awhile.

 

 

10 (ten) days after I get back from Cairo, this is in the newspaper -------->>>>>>>>

The article on October 10, 2011 said: 

1000's of people and security forces were in Tahrir square at the state television building where the trouble began. 24 people were killed.

They billed it as a Religious war ?!?!   NOT!

Since Mubarak's ouster, there have been increasing anti-Christian attacks by ultra conservative Islamists.  Christian make up about 10 percent of Egypt's 80 million people. 

October 11, 2011 article again called it a "sectarian riot". 

It is true that a security vacuum has left the Copts vulnerable to a growing Islamist movement in the post-Mubarak era, however It is not an inherent religious problem. The problem is general civil unrest and criticism of those currently in power.  

The military has adopted the same tactics as Mubarak's regime and has been slow to bring change.

October 12, 2011 they are finally reporting more truthfully. This is key in the October 12, 2011 article:

Activists accused the military of formenting sectarian hatred as a way to end protests.

Muslims think Christians are trying to take over   (?!?!)

The military counted on the sectarian sentiment against Christians to crush the protest.

  

 

Death toll rises in Egypt Christian clashes as tension continues

From Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, For CNN

October 10, 2011 -

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/10/10/world/meast/egypt-protest-clashes/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

 

 Egyptians gather at the coffins of some of the 24 Coptic Christians killed during over night clashes on October 10..

 

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

 

    NEW: Many of the dead were crushed by military vehicles, a Health Ministry official says

    NEW: The number of dead rises to at least 25

    The Egyptian Revolution Coalition blames "interference from outside" for the violence, army says "hidden hand" may be behind it

    The army, Muslim and Coptic leaders will meet Monday, an official says

 

Are you in Egypt? Share your photos, videos of the scene with CNN iReport, but please stay safe.

 

Cairo (CNN) -- The number of dead in clashes between the army and pro-Coptic Christian protesters in Egypt over the weekend rose to at least 25, with at least 272 wounded, a Healthy Ministry official told CNN Monday.

 

But conflicting reports from the two sides indicated the death toll could be as high as 29 in violence that an army spokesman speculated may have been guided by a "hidden hand" associated with neither side.

Many of the dead and injured were crushed by speeding military vehicles, said Dr. Adel al-Dawi of the ministry.

The violence -- the deadliest in Egypt since President Hosni Mubarak was toppled by a popular revolution in February -- has brought the country back to the tense, violent period before the uprising, Prime Minister Essam Sharaf said Monday.

"Instead of going forward, we found ourselves scrambling for security," Sharaf said on state television in an early morning speech, noting that the incident had produced "martyrs, both civilian and from the military."

Hundreds of Coptic Christians rallied outside a hospital Monday, chanting "The army has its tanks but we have our prayers," CNN saw.

Some Muslims were at the rally to express solidarity with Christians.

Egyptian security sources said there was violence at the rally, with stones being thrown, but CNN saw no evidence of that.  Both European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and British Foreign Secretary William Hague expressed concern about Sunday's violence.  Ashton said Monday she was "extremely concerned by the large number of deaths and injuries," while Hague condemned the loss of life.

The bloodshed in Cairo occurred just over a week after the burning of a Coptic Christian church in southern Egypt.  The violence broke out around a protest on Sunday demanding equality and protection of Coptic places of worship.

Coptic Christians, an ancient sect, make up about 9% of Egypt's population, according to the U.S. State Department.  They have suffered serious violence in recent months.  A Coptic church in the city of Alexandria was bombed on New Year's Day, killing 23 people -- the deadliest attack on Christians in Egypt in recent times.  There were also clashes involving Coptic Christians in May, leaving at least 12 dead..

But there has also been mutual support between the minority Christians and majority Muslims in Egypt, with reports of Christians protecting anti-Mubarak Muslim demonstrators when they stopped for daily prayers during the uprising.

Despite the Health Ministry toll of 25 on Sunday, figures from the two sides indicated as many as 29 may have died. Sherif Doss, the head of Egypt's association of Coptics, said 17 civilians died and 40 were injured.  An additional 12 army troops were killed and more than 50 were injured, according to Lt. Col. Amr Imam, an army spokesman.

The protesters -- many of them Coptics or supportive of their cause -- said they had been marching peacefully toward the Egyptian state television building when the violence erupted.  Some unknown people may have fired at the army, but not us.  Samir Bolos, protestor  "Suddenly, we were attacked by thugs carrying swords and clubs," one protester, Magdi Hanna, told CNN.  According to Alla Mahmoud, an Interior Ministry spokesman, some protesters began "firing live ammunition at the army."   "This is the first time protesters fired at the army," added Imam, the military spokesman. "There must be a hidden hand behind this. Egyptians don't do that.""

Mohammed Abdel Jabaar, spokesman for the Egyptian Revolution Coalition -- which claims to have been part of the movement that led to Mubarak's ouster -- blamed "interference from outside" for spurring the violent chain of events.

The January 25 youth revolution coalition, which has been involved in various anti-government protests including Sunday's demonstration, denied that any participants shot at the Egyptian forces.

Samir Bolos, one of the demonstrators, added Sunday that "some unknown people may have fired at the army, but not us."  Witnesses said the army forces fired on the protesters near the state television headquarters. Meanwhile, military trucks could be seen burning on the street..

Hundreds of demonstrators also went to Tahrir Square, the hub of the revolutionary movement earlier this year, according to Bolos. He claimed military police stormed the square with sticks, while protesters fought back with rocks.

Egypt's National Justice Committee also plans to hold an emergency meeting Monday involving representatives from the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the al-Azhar mosque and the Coptic church to discuss the developments, prime ministry spokesman Mohamed Hegazy said. Those talks will be held in the prime minister's building.

State TV reported Sunday night that Ahmed al-Tayyeb, a prominent Egyptian Muslim leader and grand imam of Al-Azhar, has been reaching out to Coptic church leaders in hopes of containing the crisis.

The protests and clashes follow the September 30 burning of the Mar Girgis church in Edfu, a city in Aswan governorate in southern Egypt.

That attack marked the latest of several examples in which Coptic Christians have been targeted in the North African nation.

Egypt's Coptic Christians base their theology on the teachings of the Apostle Mark, who introduced Christianity to Egypt, according to St. Takla Church in Alexandria, the capital of Coptic Christianity.

The religion split with other Christians in the 5th century over the definition of the divinity of Jesus Christ.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent bipartisan federal agency, earlier this year added Egypt to a list of countries named as the worst violators of religious freedom.

 

The violence continues....

I

In January 2011, during the revolution, song lyrics were "Down with Mubarak" . In January 2012, the lyrics are "Down with military rule"....

The transition to democracy is being managed by a military council led by Mubarak's defense minister. 

In January 2012, the most pro-revolution candidate Elbaradei pulled out of the June presidential race. He said a fair election is impossible under the military's grip.  There must a more of a democratic framework that upholds the essence of democracy before he will run.  Too bad American's wont step in.. they sure set up slam bam, thank you ma'am democracy and Democratic government with a constitution and all, in Iraq. I'm being facetious because this is my journal, and I can be.  Democracy must be built/born from within.  It takes time.  Egypt will get there.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution Aug 16, 2013 article by David D. Kirkpatrick and Alan Cowell

Egypt death toll in clashed soars

Police are clearing supporters of the deposed Islamist president,  Morsi - Egypt's first freely elected president who was replaced by Hosni Mubarak in the 2011 revolution.

Egypt's Interior Ministry authorized police to use lethal force. Casualties totaled 638 (up to 1000 in later reports) and up to 4,000 injured.

 

So "Suzanna Travels" is now "Suzanna is done traveling".  I'm pretty sure I have gone to every place possible that my grandparents visited.  What's next?

This is the End of Part 2. Go to Part 1 of the Journal.

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