Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Edfu - 26 December 2007

Local posing for photos

Village on the bank of the NileOur early morning transit through the lock at Esna was delayed due to an overnight mechanical failure of the lock so it was not until 10:30 that we finally made it through. The delay afforded the sellers in the rowboats more time to throw their wares to the passengers and more time for the back and forth bartering.

Edfu TempleAfter the lock we settled down to another day of lazing on the sun-loungers watching the banks of the Nile slip past; a truly demanding task.

Late in the afternoon we arrived at Edfu where we disembarked and were taken by bus to the Temple. It is the best preserved Temple in Egypt and had it not been for the Coptic Christians who took refuge there from the Roman persecution, the place would be even more amazing. Edfu TempleFortunately the desert sand had raised the floor level so the lowest layers escaped the religious zeal of the Coptics who industriously chipped away all the other faces they could see; believing that they were representations of gods. The irony is that the Temple is dedicated to Horus, a falcon-headed god and all his images were left untouched while the kings, queens, high-priests etc were defaced (in the strictest sense of the word).

Edfu TempleAs we arrived at the temple site we were accosted by Ali from Number 4 bazaar, to ensure that we went back to see him and, just to make sure, he handed us his business card proudly bearing the name "Louts Bazar". I thought it impolite to explain the English meaning.

Back on board we prepared ourselves for the "Galabiyeh Night". Most people joined into the spirit of the event and dressed in Egyptian costumes of various types. Edfu Temple by nightThe after dinner entertainment was a bit of a challenge as they tried to organise German, Italian, Spanish, Belgian and English speakers to all get involved in communal activities. A German girl and a Belgian girl both gave impromptu belly dance routines and both were considerably better than the official 'expert' who entertained us on Monday night.

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