domingo, fevereiro 12, 2012

Egypt 2012 - second and third parts - days 12 to 23

I am finally updating the whereabouts of my dilligent self, after being back from Egypt. Without proper access to the internet at the 'desert lodge' in the West Bank and the 'five star hotel' in Cairo (I had to check emails and Facebook messages through my phone), it was impossible to upload pics and write the blog.

The first part of my trip, as you know, concerned the work on TT37, dealing with the human remains found onsite. Photo left: me, Claudia and Sabina, the anthropological team, under the direction of Dr. Tiradritti.
We are now preparing the report on our preliminary findings and hope it will be published in the near future...

The second part consisted of another week spent in Luxor and used to visit sites, both ongoing archaeological excavations (you have to ask the inspector first, ask the director of the excavation, and if he/she has time to spare, which is a rare comodity, you will get a tour of the site and their work, and this is hard to comeby); visiting tombs, temples, and to observe Egyptians in their daily life. Shopping at the souk for spices, asking questions, feeling the scents, it's always rewarding. We stayed at the West Bank and crossed the Nile many times to Luxor city, and the ferry proved to be a very useful thing. Next time I will stay in a place closer to the ferry, so not to need to use a taxi too.

Reading Mahfouz at the same time was helpful, although it was a novel spent in WWII times, and in Cairo; as you feel integrated in his descriptions; smell the scents, see the colors, and find suitable substitutes for his characters in vivo...The English version has a perk: the prologue written by the translator about his meeting with the author, and the society which surrounded both the author and his predecessors, which influenced his writing.
A bit depressing, but, since it had medical stuff, it was enough to interest me to read it up to the end
There was still the International Book Fair in Cairo, which I was planning to attend...but then obstacles were risen...too far (Nasr City), I would have to go alone...and then, where to pack more books...

The third part of the trip was spent in Cairo, and, although some cultural facilities were closed, such as the Islamic Cutural Center/Art Gallery in Zamalek, and the hotel in Giza did not provide the service according to its status, it was fruitful to visit iconic places like the Egyptian Museum, the Coptic and Islamic centre, my favourite suppliers at the Khan el Khalili for spices, shoes and other items, and to be able to browse new publications. Thankfully I did not buy many books this time...The visits to early dynastic sites like Dashur, Saqqara and Giza were merely touristic, as I was accompanying my Italian colleague and her family. Many Egyptians but few foreigners.

I took many important notes at the Egyptian Museum as there are a few specimens of ancient plants there, and also also took many important pics in the West Bank of Luxor that will complete my present research, mainly some tree depictions at Deir el Medina tombs, the Ramesseum, Seti I, and Deir el Bahari.

Have to thank my dear friend Dr. Ben Harer for the opportunity to find more important information at the Chicago House Library and the Aboudi shop in Luxor for having some items on my to-buy list.
It was a pleasure to meet new people, Egyptian people, namely some of the directors onsite and some of the local people like the family owning the Nur el Gourna Hotel, where we stayed for one week.
The food was great and the atmosphere with so many animals, made me feel like time had stopped and we were all living in one big community; humans, dog, cats, chicken, ducks, turkey, cow, donkey, goats...
The perk of having a taxi driver as a neighbor was very useful too, as with cellphones, you can reach people at all times and have your transportation arranged in minutes.

As a contrast, the hotel in Giza had sloppy employees, who were careless about customers, mainly at the open restaurant serving fast food...I had to complain about everything, everyday. I don't mind complaining but I do mind not having hot water at 6am, and finding it out when I am already inside the tub, sleepy and cold...and having a man trying to open your room door when you are inside the bathtub, at 4.30pm, when you left the room at 7.30am (no time to do it?)...internet access costed a fortune compared to the rest of the services...

I was amazed at the old cameras' collection at Aboudi and the jewels you might still find among so many publications, some of those not accessible outside Egypt.
I was also very happy to find many Sekhmets not seen by me before; at the Mut precinct in Karnak, thanks to my dear friend Dr. Ben, at the columns of the Seti I temple and the Ramesseum, in the West Bank, and I was also happy to see so may plant depictions here such as Min and the lettuces, sacred trees, and plants used as perfume and as offerings...
It is a fact that, when you are researching a particular subject, you start to look at familiar places with different eyes and you see different things, more details and other items you've missed before.

Looking forward now for my next trip to Egypt which might be this year, for the CIPEG meeting in Aswan.

Sem comentários: