Wednesday, February 02, 2011


     Kim Badawi/Getty Images for CNN
Murbarak MUST GO!  Murbarak Leave Now. Peacefully.
Egypt is in the news with the recent protests over the dictatorship of Murbarak and the peoples quest for democracy.  I hope the people achieve their goal.  We stayed in the apartment of a friend (Fatma) in Egypt and hope that she and her family are safe during these times.  It would be great if this situation could come to a peaceful conclusion for the people of Egypt.

I have been remembering our visit to Egypt for an NSF MARGINS meeting in Cairo and have decided to showcase Egypt today.  The meeting was followed by a geological field trip through the Sinai Peninsular with an overnight stop in a remote spot midway between Cairo and Sharm el-Sheikh.  After the meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh Olaf, Stephen, Garry, and I went on a side trip to Luxor where we visited Karnak, Temple of Amun, and the Valley of the Kings.

While in Cairo we visited the wonderful Cairo Museum which is now under a threat of being looted.  People are forming a human chain around the museum to protect it and we hope they will succeed.  This beautiful mask of Tutankhamun is on display at the museum.

Near the center of Cairo stand the magnificent Giza pyramids.  We stopped for lunch at a local restaurant and this was our view.

I cannot describe how it feels to be standing here looking at the sphinx and Cheops pyramid.  I sat with Stephen for awhile, we were both in awe.

Our first stop on a geological field trip down the Sinai Peninsular.  Resourceful geologists tape maps and seismic records to the bus, instant classroom.

We have lunch under the only tree in the Wadi, some of us had shade.

At the second stop there are views of the mountains around us.  The colors are soft and subtle. 

Here is what they are looking at.  It means nothing to me other than pretty rocks, but it is apparently significant in the rock world.

Hotel gardens, Sharm el-Sheikh.  The snorkelling was great but if you have snorkelled in the Great Barrier Reef (Australia) then Sharm el-Sheikh does not compare.
In Luxor we visit Karnak, Temple of Amun, being covered by sands for centuries these ruins are well preserved.

 It is unthinkable what could happen to Karnak, Temple of Amun, should the protests get out of hand. 

Tonight we learn these protests have spread to Luxor and these ancient treasures could be in jeopardy.

It must have been a lot of sand that covered this site.

Valley of the Kings and Queens, Thebes, is on the West Bank at Luxor. The tombs are honeycombed throughout the region.  Not all tombs are open every day.
 Some of the tombs are brightly decorated and I wish that I could read the stories.  The work is magnificent.  It is also very claustrophobic down there, it is warm and humid and feels airless.  Most of the tombs are very steep and one or two we had to go down bent in half .... yuk!
A visit to Egypt would not be complete without sailing on the Nile in a Felucca, the traditional Egyptian sailing boat.  Garry, Stephen and I went on a sunset sail, it is a treasured memory.

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