Saturday, June 8, 2013

What I did on my holidays (By QM Twoflower) #3

It was on the evening of our second full day that the boat set off from Luxor to Edfu via the Esna locks, dusk was just setting on the Nile regions as we headed upriver so the chances of photographs were non-existent, though we got some good ones on the way back. What was amazing was the stark contrast of the fertile Nile valley and the surrounding desert on both sides as we cruised further south just sitting on deck supping a beer or a gin and tonic.
It was midnight when we reached the Esna locks, a sort of flood protection cum river level maintenance on the upper Nile, a bit like the locks on a canal. What did surprise the few of us that were on deck was that there were Egyptians at the locks trying to sell us stuff and they were throwing their wares up on the ship for us to have a look. There were no buyers, but I did admire their tenacity in at least trying to make a sale.
The following morning we went to have a look at the temple at Edfu and we went by horse and cart. We were also warned by our guide Mohammed that Edfu's sellers were extremely aggressive and also not to give anything unless we wanted to, to the cart driver as they'd all been paid in advance.
Edfu itself has not a lot going for it, it's only source of income is tourism and that was hit very hard by the 2011 revolution, so the vendors and the locals are facing an economic crisis. It's one of the few places where we saw real poverty open on display for all to see and one of the few places where the Egyptian 'tourist police' were nowhere to be seen.

Lord and Lady QM
The temple itself is incredibly well preserved and like all the temples of the upper Nile is of Greco-Roman influence on the local religion. Usually you can tell this by the designs on the top of the pillars which combine the flowers of the upper and lower Nile, rather than just one or the other. So the columns were decorated with the lotus (upper) and papyrus (lower)

The entrance to Edfu temple
Top of the columns, both lotus and papyrus
The statue at the entrance is one of the manifestations of the god Horus to whom the temple was in part dedicated.
The sanctuary
Inside the temple following a straight route east from the main entrance lies the sanctuary which has a (copy) of the sacred barge of Horus in which the golden statue of the god was kept and brought out on display every so often.
Whilst Lady QM and I had no problems with our driver and gave him an additional tip, two of the ladies in our party were pestered by their driver with lewd suggestions and he even stopped in the middle of Edfu and refused to move if they did not pay up some baksheesh, they got moving eventually when promising to pay him back at the boat. Whilst it didn't ruin the trip for them, it did spoil the day somewhat and we all retired to the bar as by then it was drinks o clock, though we went easy on them as we were heading upriver for an evenings visit to the temple at Kom Ombo.

towel art
One thing we did discover that the ancillary staff who cleaned the rooms liked to surprise us with was towel art. It started simple with flat peacock patterns to on day 3 this appeared. Yes, it's an elephant.

1 annotations:

Anonymous said...

Very interesting, thanks for sharing.