Date:
February 12, 2001

 

Right now I'm feeling: Good!

Right now I'm listening to: Judy and Mary

Judy and Mary -- Sobakasu

Here's a few of the choice pieces that were at the exhibit!

The funerary mask of Psusennes I

Pyramidion of Amenhotep

Coffin of Amenempermut

The godly triad of Mycerinus

Egypt

Ever since I was a little boy I have wanted to go to Egypt. (Who doesn't want to go after seeing those Indiana Jones movies, huh?!? And Raiders of the Lost Ark was the first movie I saw in the theater!)  
Egypt captures the human imagination like no other country, like no other culture ever has. We owe so much to our Egyptian ancestors. Basics of law, language (believe it or not).. the building blocks of society. They were the most learned and skilled people of the ancient world and they forged the longest lived civilization that has yet existed.

A trip to Egypt is the most romantic adventure a person could embark on.

And I will take that trip next month.

Like I said, I've always wanted to go there. I did have plans to go there two years ago, but waited on my now x-girlfriend. But the time has come and there is no reason to wait any longer. I'm not sure I could even if I wanted to. For the past few weeks I've felt something.. tugging at me. Maybe it's because I have not traveled anywhere new in a long while... But when I think of riding through the desert on camel-back, shopping in the bazaars, walking through the ancient temples and pyramids, holding that sand and letting the grains fall through my fingers while the whispers of that ancient culture drift past my ear... well, you get the picture.

Am I being overly-dramatic? Yes, of course I am. But, hey, I think I'm allowed. Like I said, I've been looking forward to this my whole life.

In the past, I've studied parts of Egypt's history, mythology, and language (though it's been a while, and I only scratched the surface because each of those areas are so vast.). There's so much I want to learn before I go. The other day I bought a couple guide books and a couple history books from Amazon. The first one has already arrived. With that and my guide books (from when I originally planned this trip) I've been reading voraciously. And it's been sticking, too. Strange, that.

So much of my time these days is spent planning and plotting. Travel routes and temple layouts. I will leave March 23 and return April 8. That's probably only 14 days traveling there, and it's not nearly enough from what I'm looking at. A month would be better. There's so much to see and do in Egypt that it's mind-boggling.

I wanted to travel for a few days in the desert. I can hire myself a guide or two and enough camels and supplies to go out into the Arabian Desert for a few days to travel between sites. A cruise down the Nile from Aswan, too. I'm not sure how much these or some of the other activities I have planned is going to cost, but I haven't been thinking (or caring, rather) how much this trip is going to cost me.

I've told only a handful of people what I'm planning and they think it's great, but, of course, they have heard the stories. They all warned me to be careful, come back in one piece and to watch my pockets.

Most people don't know this, but Egypt is really safe. Cairo is the second safest city in the world (Tokyo is the first). And since the 1997 massacare at the Temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor security has been stepped up, big time. I've read of tourists being escorted to and from certain sites by well-armed police officers. I'll definitely be careful and always have my eyes open, but I think I'm more worried about getting malaria or sick from the water.

By a strange coincidence, there is an Egyptian exhibit at the Osaka Museum of Art this month. I was going to go by myself because I wanted to mull over each exhibit, every stone, every papyrus and I didn't want to keep anyone who could be bored. But I met a few of my friends at the train station who were also going to Osaka and when I mentioned where I was going they totally wanted to come along. On the sidebar are a few of the pieces we saw on display (they are all clickable for a larger picture).

I couldn't believe how many people were there. On the monorail there were quite a few people (that particular area of Osaka doesn't offer very much) and my friend made the joke that they were probably all on their way to the museum to see the Egyptian exhibit. After a transfer and a long walk, her innocent jest proved to be fact! A steady stream of people were walking to the museum and when we got there there was a long line to get in. Tickets were about $12 (the website said they were only $4), and they were letting people in in groups. At first we got into the ticket holders' line, but then after realizing our mistake, we nabbed the tickets and got inside without too much of a hassle. They told us it was a half hour wait to get in, but I think it only took us 20 minutes.

I think the exhibit was smaller than I expected. There was tons of video aids all in every exhibit room, each with a small mass of Japanese gathered around. Each exhibit had it's own swarm, most carrying little pocket audio guides with an earphone on one ear. The selection of artifacts was fewer than I thought there'd be, but they were quite good.

The Middle and New Kingdom artifacts seemed to be better crafted even though I've heard that craftmanship was in decline after the Old Kingdom, but that could just be because they were in better condition. The coffins they had on display were fantastic and the funerary mask they had on display was, of course, gorgeous.

It's difficult to describe how I felt being able to decipher some of what was written on those artifacts. That anyone at all of today's time can know what those ancient symbols and pictures mean is astounding. And I have a part of that knowledge. I felt so priveleged to have such a connection with something so ancient. I know the experience will be many times more powerful when I go to Egypt and read the glyphs off the monuments and temple walls. My only regret in going now is that I don't know as much of the ancient language as I wanted to before I went. But I'm almost certain that this won't be the only time I go.

Forget Paris...

Egypt is where it's at!

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