February 4th – The West Bank

Luxor turned out to be the paradise we had hoped Aswan would be.  While the museums were still closed, including the small Mumification Museum we had wanted to see, the monuments were all still opened.

On February 4th, we went to the West Bank of the Nile. In Luxor, they say that the East Bank is for the living, and the West Bank is for the dead.  The Valley of Kings and Queens are on the West Bank, where unfortunately pictures are forbidden.  The West Bank was the last time we really saw any fellow tourists, although even then it was only a small percentage of the usual crowds you would find.

The Temple of Hatshepsut.  This was the site of the 2003 anti-tourist terrorist bombings, and is one of the most visited sights in Egypt.

At the entrance to the Temple of Hatshepsut

Restoring one of the statues

Before the mummy statues of Hatshepsut

Hatshepsut, a female pharaoh, wore the false beard symbolizing power

Looking out from the temple.  In Egypt you can litterally stand with one foot in the green, and one foot in the desert.

The colorful paintings of the temple

My tiny camera is not really good enough to capture just how beautiful this scene is. That sky, that cliff, the temple…you will really have to go there for yourself.

Hatshepsut’s step-son Thutmose III hated her so much he defaced many of her images.

Miyuki in front of some columns

After the Temple of Hatshepsut, we went to the Colossi of Memnon.  They are all that remains of a once-vast temple that is rumored to be larger than the temple of Karnak.  But because it was built of mudbrick instead of stone, only these two statues remains.  The Greeks thought they were statues of Agamemnon, thus their name, but they are really statues of Amenhotep III.  These are really, really big.  If you look closely you can see Miyuki and I at the bottom.

 

Later that night, we ran into a crowd of pro-Mubarak demonstrators.  They were clearly well-funded and well-supplied, with professionaly printed posters and banners.  They were also entirely harmless, and we walked straight through them while heading out to dinner.

Demonstrators in front of a McDonald’s sign always makes for a good picture.

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