Gone are the clear skies and sparkling waters of Upper Egypt.
There are many cars in Cairo, many people and many residences.
No stars can be seen but the pyramids here are still aligned with them.
Did you know that in Egyptian belief the soul after death had to give their ‘negative confession ‘; I did not do this, I did not do that, ticking off a requisite list of did-nots, many of which are familiar such as I did not kill, I did not steal etc.
But first on the list was “I did not pollute the Nile”
… I did not pollute the waters which give life to my family and all generations to come
Air pollution in Cairo is a serious concern, I have just been googling it. But it is a world concern because Cairo is not the only city that has serious pollution. Air borne pollution travels with the wind. Water pollution enters the ocean and travels with the currents. What point is there in banning smoking and promoting healthy lifestyles when you can get cancer just by breathing the air or by eating food grown with polluted water.
I agree with the ancient Egyptians, pollution has to be the first concern that affects everyone regardless of where they live or what they wear or who they vote for because pollution doesn’t care about any of the above. And pollution is an insidious thing because it increases and increases slowly but surely, and what we see now is going to be nothing compared to what the kids of today will see when they are our age.
Or maybe not. This new generation of kids are really smart and maybe they will find a way to reverse ‘our’ stupidity, but what an inheritance we have left them ….
Here is the view of the great pyramid from our front door. Today is a good day for taking photos. The air pollution is such that even though it is so big, and so close, you sometimes cannot see the great pyramid from here.
We arrived in Cairo late yesterday. Before that we were having fun in beautiful Luxor.
Apparently Luxor has about 1/3 of all the historical monuments in the whole world. It is a lush cultivated area along the Nile, (current crops seem to be bananas, sugarcane and cabbages). We drove through villages with donkey carts and kids playing and fields of rich brown earth and fat green leaves irrigated by sparkling blue waters.
Behind looms the West Bank; dry desert mountains, the place of the dead, the place of silence, the valley of the kings. On the east bank are palaces and temples of kings. Even though many of their treasures now lie in foreign museums they are still incomparable and totally AWESOME.
They say Luxor used to be the tourism capital of the world.
Everyone comes here to walk amongst these ruins and marvel at them.
We have seen so much I will skip through it all quickly but let me know if you want more photos or info about any of it. The most impressive thing about heiroglyphics is that they are carved out of the stone, in some cases the space around the image is carved away so the image is raised. They were then painted with colours many of which have since worn off. Imagine how they looked in their day …. they still look amazing now. Such precision in the workmanship.
No new husbands or boyfriends, but standing out from the usual comments and invitations one man did ask under his breath “how many camels?” as I walked past which I thought was rather funny (but I didn’t stop). I have also given up trying to convince people I am not Egyptian. It requires too much effort. Now I just say “yes, Egyptian, living in Australia” – this response explains my accent and seems to avoid further questioning …. I wish I still had my guide from Aswan as people left me alone when I went anywhere with him.
A few more days here. The itinerary includes a visit to the pyramid and sphinx, and a camel ride. I still remember my ride on Ali Baba the camel in Tangiers some years ago and I am unsure about whether I want to go inside the pyramid. I got a bit overwhelmed by something or other at the valley of kings and didn’t make it past the reception centre. How embarrassing if I went all woozy inside the pyramid and needed to be carried out.
Am thinking I might wait for the others between the paws of the sphinx … that sounds more like me
Sites we have visited include Kom Ombombo, Edfu, Abydos, Dendera, Hatshepsut’s temple, Karnak and the Temple of Man at Luxor. We also were able to go inside Nefertari’s tomb which has just been opened and was truly beautiful.
Luxor temple and avenue of sphinxes at night