Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Luxor – Tuesday, December 22

Sorry these next posts are so late—we’ve been without internet for a few days!

Our last day in Luxor:

12-22-2009 004 fellucca rideReid & Rachel on our felucca ride on the Nile River

12-22-2009 005 fellucca rideJacob & Andrew

12-22-2009 007 fellucca ride View of the Luxor temple from the Nile

12-22-2009 013 fellucca ride - Banana IslandFelucca ride stop at Banana Island

 12-22-2009 015 fellucca ride - Banana Island Jacob & Andrew on Banana Island

12-22-2009 020 fellucca ride - Banana Island Enjoying an a-peeling snack on Banana Island

After all the tours and traveling around Luxor, we packed up and headed to the airport to catch our 11:55 p.m. flight back to Cairo. Unfortunately, the flight was delayed and we didn’t leave until around 1:30 a.m. In typical Egyptian fashion, no one bothered to tell us anything about the delay, so we just had to sit in the airport and wait. After finally arriving in Cairo at 2:30 a.m. and back to the apartment at 3:30 a.m., we all collapsed into bed (after I spent half an hour checking in on the BYU Las Vegas Bowl game).

Monday, December 21, 2009

Luxor – Monday, December 21

Today we traveled two hours north of Luxor to the Dandara Temple, one of the best-preserved temples in Egypt. It was amazing! The roof is intact and the colors inside are vibrant. The carvings are beautiful and plentiful. I’m in awe of the effort it took to build these temples and wish I knew more about the people who built them.

12-21-2009 004 Entrance to Dandara Temple

12-21-2009 015 Beautiful carvings

12-21-2009 017 Carvings and columns

12-21-2009 023 Jacob and Andrew

12-21-2009 029 Surrounded by a group of school children on a field trip

12-21-2009 035 Carving on the ceiling, probably 30 feet high

12-21-2009 037 More ceiling carvings

12-21-2009 048 Notice the carved figures going up the stairs

12-21-2009 063 Jacob being dwarfed by carvings

12-20-2009 072 Carved outer wall

12-21-2009 073 Rachel relaxing in the arms of a sphinx

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Luxor – Sunday, December 20

Long day – lots of pictures:

12-20-2009 002Two large statues

12-20-2009 010Valley of the Kings – sorry, no photos allowed inside tombs

12-20-2009 011 Al-Deir Al-Bahari TempleAl-Deir Al-Bahari Temple

12-20-2009 017Al-Deir Al-Bahari Temple – view from top of stairs

12-20-2009 026Al-Deir Al-Bahari Temple – Andrew, Rachel, Nancy – hot day

12-20-2009 029Al-Deir Al-Bahari Temple – Rachel & Reid

12-20-2009 033Ramesseum Temple

12-20-2009 036Ramesseum Temple – Rachel & Reid

12-20-2009 041Ramesseum Temple – Jacob taking photos

12-20-2009 044Ramesseum Temple – top of column

12-20-2009 045Ramesseum Temple – Rachel being a pillar

12-20-2009 063Habu Temple – Nancy & Jacob

12-20-2009 066Habu Temple – Miriam in sarcophagus

12-20-2009 073Habu Temple – Reid & Rachel

12-20-2009 074Habu Temple – Andrew & columns

12-20-2009 080Habu Temple - column & ceiling

Whew! After all that we came back to the hotel for a nap (even Rachel). For dinner we went to McDonald’s across the street from the Luxor Temple and then got to see the temple with all the lights on – really beautiful!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I’m a Tourist – Finally!

Reid & Jacob arrived in Egypt just fine, even though they were pretty nervous about getting to the airport, having their passports checked, finding their luggage, and meeting up with a car driver for the ride to Andrew & Nancy’s apartment. When Andrew reserved a driver to pick them up, he said it was for Mr. Reid. The guy said, “Ok, for Dr. Reid.” Reid was pretty excited that someone thought he was a doctor.

Reid made Jacob sit in the front seat of the car beside the driver—just for the culture shock value. Jacob thought he was going to die before they even got to the apartment (the traffic is a bit scary if you’re not used to it!).

Rachel was thrilled that Grandpa and Jacob had finally come to her house. We had been waiting so long! She gave Jacob a hug and then went into Grandpa’s arms—and that’s where she’s been ever since. I am no longer her favorite person; Reid has usurped my role. Perfect timing, too, because I twisted my back two days before they arrived, and I can’t pick Rachel up very well anymore (something she isn’t too happy about).

Friday morning we went to church where Andrew was able to give Miriam a name and a blessing. Such a sweet experience! And it was great to have Reid and Jacob participate, along with several of the branch members.

After church we hurried home for some lunch and then packed for our trip to Luxor. We needed to be at the airport at 4:00 for our 6:00 flight. This trip was another milestone Rachel has been looking forward to. We’ve been playing and pretending “we’re on the airplane” for weeks now. Rachel was so excited to finally be getting on that airplane. The flight is only about an hour—just about right for her attention span.

So anyway, today began our touring part of this Luxor trip. Andrew knows how to the use the local mini-bus system, which to me is quite intimidating. But for under $1 we can transport all seven of us pretty much anywhere we want to go in Luxor—lots better than getting ripped off by the taxi drivers.

We started out at the Luxor temple, an amazing complex of sphinxes, columns, temple buildings, pillars, statues, etc. This is Andrew & Nancy’s third visit to Luxor, so they were able to give us all kinds of information.

12-19-2009 017 Luxor temple

12-19-2009 009 Avenue of the sphinxes Avenue of the sphinxes

12-19-2009 022 Rachel & Grandpa, Luxor temple 12-19-2009 023 Jacob at Luxor temple

12-19-2009 042 Rachel & Grandpa, Luxor temple Rachel & Grandpa give the “thumbs up” on Luxor

Our next stop was the Karnak temple, an even larger complex of the same kinds of stuff. Reid and Rachel spent most of their time together, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Reid’s back hurts now, too.

 12-19-2009 056 entrance to Karnak templeentrance to the Karnak temple

  12-19-2009 058 strange heiroglyphics, Karnak templestrange heiroglyphics

 12-19-2009 069 original color on ceilingoriginal color on ceiling

 12-19-2009 068 Grandpa & Rachel having a look aroundGrandpa & Rachel having a look around

  12-19-2009 089 family photo attemptfamily photo

 12-19-2009 096 hungry Andrew, jet-lagged Jacobhungry Andrew & jet-lagged Jacob

  12-19-2009 097Karnak temple 

After a visit to the Luxor Museum (it was so nice to be inside an air-conditioned building; even though it’s December, it was pretty warm walking around outside all day) and dinner at the museum cafe, we arrived back at the St. Joseph’s Hotel at about 6:30. I was surprised it was so early, because it really felt like it should have been much, much later. What a wonderful, tiring day! Better get to bed early, because tomorrow we’re going to the Valley of the Kings!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Past Week

I returned to Egypt from South Africa a week ago, so it’s about time I got caught up on the blog.

All went well at the airport last Monday. It was rainy and foggy all day in Port Elizabeth, and apparently the weather wreaked havoc on the airlines' schedules because it was a madhouse. Because of delays, British Airways was just trying to get all the international passengers to Johannesburg on time, and they ended up putting me on an earlier flight for some odd reason. So I boarded a plane at 4:45 and we took off at 5 instead of having to wait until 6. That gave me a little extra time in Johannesburg, which was perfect because the check-in line was huge and they made me check my carry-on bag. I did have to claim my bag there and re-check everything. What a pain!

The flight was uneventful but a little late coming in to Cairo. I got to Andrew & Nancy's house at 7:45 Tuesday morning and decided I'd better try to have a little nap before Rachel woke up. She came in my room at 9:15 and said, "Grandma--you came back!" And she's been by my side ever since. It was hard to convince her to let me take a shower (and that wasn't until about one that afternoon). I brought matching shirts from South Africa for us--too cute!

12-08-2009 001 Grandma & Rachel

So I had a wonderful vacation in South Africa with Dorothy and Raymond. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me, and I’m so thankful I was able to do it.

On Wednesday we headed over to Maadi House to play, go swimming, and pick up some lunch to take home to share with Andrew.

12-09-2009 007 Rachel at Maadi House 12-09-2009 004 Miriam at Maadi House Yes, that’s a fly on my thumb – they were everywhere!

On Thursday we had the chance to go to CAC (Cairo American College) where many of the children in the branch attend school. The school hosts an annual Egypt Festival where many traditional arts and crafts are demonstrated and displayed, and we were there in time for the “closing ceremony,” the twirling dancers. Rachel was fascinated with the dancing and music, and it was fun to look around (and even buy a couple of things).

12-10-2009 001 Egypt Festival at Cairo American College 12-10-2009 005 Egypt Festival 12-10-2009 010 Egypt Festival 12-10-2009 009 Egypt Festival 12-10-2009 014 Egypt Festival

Friday was church as usual, except that I had to give a talk. The branch is small, so it was inevitable that I would have to speak at some point. I’d much rather sit behind a piano or organ and participate in that way, but speaking in front of this branch wasn’t so bad. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know many of the people, and I appreciate the service they continue to give to Andrew & Nancy. The gospel is true everywhere!

Friday afternoon is nap time. This is what my newest granddaughter looks like at six weeks:

12-11-2009 001 Miriam

Saturday was the branch Christmas party. The winter weather here reminds me of growing up in Phoenix. It’s been around 70 degrees during the day and gets down to about 55 at night. So it didn’t surprise me a bit to have Christmas dinner outside. Different families were assigned to decorate tables, so it was all very festive. Santa even came, but Rachel was less than enthused about seeing him in person.

12-12-2009 003 Branch Christmas party 12-12-2009 008 Branch Christmas party 12-12-2009 001 Branch Christmas party

So now we are in countdown mode waiting for Grandpa and Jacob to arrive. They leave Salt Lake tomorrow morning and will arrive here late Thursday afternoon. Rachel reckons time in “sleeps,” so now we have just TWO MORE SLEEPS until they get here! We are so excited!