Wednesday, November 30, 2011

One Week Left


Since we officially end excavation next Thursday, the end of today marks one week left (and slightly less for us, since we have to pack up the pottery next Wednesday). The mood in the house has shifted a bit with us dropping to just one week left: everyone seems a little anxious. Some are anxious about the amount of stuff that has to get done, while others of us are anxious to go home to civilization.

Aurelie, our excavator from Switzerland left yesterday and Valerie, the Old Kingdom ceramicist from France (though she’s currently living in Cairo) leaves tomorrow. One by one, our numbers are dwindling. It does mean more room at the dining table and more hot water in the shower, but it’s kind of sad to think that the season is almost over and I’ll soon have to return to real life responsibilities (like re-learning the language phase I’m supposed to be teaching next quarter). But going home does mean Christmas, Dan, kitties, and pizza (which shall be my first "home" meal).

Since we’re getting so close, today Lindsey and I started packing the pottery into boxes. There is a TON of pottery, so it’s going to take us a while. We’re doing little bits every morning when it’s too cold to draw. Packing up really isn’t a hard task, though the fact that the feral dogs on the tell like to pee on our bags makes the going sometimes not so fun. Otherwise, things progress normally.

- Countdowner

PS. Friday we're going to Hierakonpolis with our inspector, so I hope to have a late post with some pictures!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I'm A Survivor


Have you ever stood outside a cell-phone shop on a busy Edfu street, waiting for a friend to try to get a SIM card, while 2 young 3-5 yrs old) boys chase each other down the sidewalk with wooden nunchucks? Because I have. And I survived.

- Nunchuck dodger extraordinaire

PS. How many grad students does it take to spell "nunchucks"? The answer: 5, and apparently we still don't have it right, but this is what we all agreed on.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cold and Hot

This is what I put on every morning (minus socks and under-garments). In case you can't tell, that's long pants, a head bandana, thick scarf, tank top, work shirt, long-sleeved t-shirt, fleece, sunglasses and 90+ and 85+ SPF sunscreen. It's kind of funny how I can put on so many layers, still be cold, AND need such high sun protection.

- Wacky Wardrobe Wearer

Way Up High

Today we went somewhere I never thought would be possible. Shall I give you a hint?

No, no, we didn't go to Edfu temple (well, we did, but we go there every day). We went up. Up onto the top of the pylon (what you see in the picture above). That's right: we climbed 237 guano-covered steps (oh yes, I counted) with very little light and stood on top of the pylon. The view was incredible.

This is looking into the first courtyard. If I looked the other way, you'd see where I was standing to take the above photo. The city is in the background.

Above is the tell where we work. The mats laid out there just to the right of center hold all of Tasha's pottery sherds. If you look down in the very bottom right, you can see things that look like brown solar panels- those are the little covered benches we draw under.

I wish I could post all of my photos- the view of Edfu and the temple and all of the tell that we're working on were so cool. On all of my adventures, I keep wishing Dan were with me. He would have loved being up there and a part of it was a little bittersweet. That being said, I'll still get up there again if I ever have another chance. :)

- Pylon Climber

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Back In Edfu :(

We're back in Edfu after a wonderful stay in Luxor for Thanksgiving. Somehow, the hotel got our reservation wrong and gave us a suite: Nile view, sitting room, king-sized bed, and jacuzzi tub. Originally it would have been $400/night, but we got it for $100 split between 3 people. Needless to say, we had a hard time coming back to Edfu.

Thursday night Thanksgiving at Chicago House was very nice and I am so happy they invited us. Dinner was good, though it was missing my favorite parts: my mom's potatoes and my mother-in-law's stuffing. Dan and I might have to have our own Thanksgiving-in-January so I can have them :)

It was back to work at 6am this morning, though Saturday is considered a holiday for the inspectors, so we couldn't stay late. Only 2 more weeks- eek!

- Luxor misser

PS. We got another member to the team, only I know this one! He was the teacher of almost all of my Egyptian language classes. He now works in Copenhagen, but has come to join us for 2 weeks to work on the Edfu pyramid with Greg. Welcome, Hratch!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Aswan Is So Nice

As you leave the Aswan district (where Edfu is) and enter the Luxor one, a cheery sign greets you:


As you come back to Aswan, you are welcomed.

They make me smile every time.

- Happy Traveler

PS. Hope all of you Black Friday shoppers got what you wanted and are safely back home!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s Thanksgiving in America today, a day where we give thanks for what we have in life. So today, even though I'm in Luxor, Egypt, I wanted to share with you what I’m thankful for.

Let’s start with things I’m thankful I brought to Egypt:
* mattress pad (I think I’ve already discussed how this is saving my back)
* ipod (for the long trips to Luxor and when I’m alone drawing pottery)
* kindle (1000 books at my fingertips without having to pack 1000 books)
* long-sleeved shirts (remember the cold thing?)
* a super awesome work team (these people rock my socks and I’m glad I’m working with/for them)

Egypt isn’t all bad. How about things I’m thankful are here:
* the guys we brought from Luxor (they are a great group that would do anything for us)
* ketchup and soda with real sugar!
*Egyptian honey (oh dear, it’s amazing)
* crazy tourists (the number that walk around in completely ridiculous outfits is amazing)
* super awesome history
* balconies in every room (we don’t even have one in Chicago)

Now for things I’m thankful exist in abundance in the US:
* hot water with more pressure than a leaky faucet
* shower heads mounted to the wall
* 2-ply toilet paper
* cheeseburgers/ice cream/oreos/pizza/general American junk-food
* reliable internet (with no download/upload limits!)
* cable TV (seriously, how can I watch my daily quota of crappy TV here w/out cable?)
* veterinarians and people who actually take care of their animals
* common sense

And most importantly:
* a husband who is super awesome and lets me leave him for 2 months to dig in the dirt on the other side of the world

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Sorry that I can’t be near family this year, but I love you all and can’t wait to see you in a few weeks!

- Thankful American

PS. Yes, I realize that my list of things I’m glad America has are totally superficial and 1st world. You try living with them for 25 years, only to have to stop them cold-turkey, and tell me you aren’t craving a real bath and ice cream after 2 months. Yes, I’m also thankful we have freedoms and a roof and no religious persecution, etc, etc, but right now I just want to be vain and be able to shave my armpits more often than once per week.

PPS. We'll be checking out of the hotel and driving back to Edfu tomorrow, but I still have something quick for you that should auto-post!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

El-Kab Fun

While today wasn't very productive as a rasama, it was productive as a tourist! At the start of the day, we travelled to El Kab, a town about 40 minutes from Edfu where part of our team works since that's where our magazine is where we store all of the important finds. Near the magazine are a bunch of tombs from different periods. We saw the tombs of Pahery, Setau, Ahmose (son of Ibana, of Middle Egyptian class fame), and Reneni. The guards then let us climb around a little bit to see the outsides of some other tombs.
Me with Ahmose, son of Ibana. Disregard my 3 layers of clothing to keep warm.

We then headed to the "temple" of Amenhotep III. It's pretty much just a chapel now, but it was still pretty and no tourists ever go there, so the guards had a great time showing us everything. One even then took us to see all of the super awesome Old Kingdom graffiti on the nearby gebel. We weren't allowed to take pictures, but I would love to know why they were there- the texts were really nicely done and clearly weren't made by Jo Egyptian.
Outside of the Amenhotep III chapel. I'll try to post more pictures of the inside post-trip.
It was really fun to see a ton of stuff that tourists never go to and to actually see a text in person that we read in class. We got back to site around 10:30, then put in our work until 4. Now we're going to pack up our stuff so that as soon as we're done on site tomorrow, we can rush to Luxor for Chicago House Thanksgiving! I won't have internet for the next few days, but never fear, oh readers! I have 2 posts headed your way. Hope you all have a very happy Thanksgiving!

- Ahmose Lover

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It's All Fun and Games


I’ve said a few times that I’m having fun here. Perhaps I should clarify: I have fun in the house; on site, it is all work and no play. For instance, today, I by no means turned my calipers into a Calipersaurus Rex. My Capilersaurus surely did not have another Calipersaurus available to play with. I did not giggle every time I went to measure a sherd today. And I certainly did not have permission to do these things from Tasha, whose calipers are definitely not the previously mentioned Calipersaurus Rex friend. That would be completely silly and way too much fun for site. We are serious ceramicists here, thank you!
Mine is the one eating the sherd.


In other news, we’ll be taking a quick trip to El Kab tomorrow to see the tombs there. There’s a very famous one (Ahmose, son of Ibana) that I’m really excited to see. On Thursday we’ll be finishing early so that we can head to Luxor for Chicago House’s annual Thanksgiving dinner, which they’ve very graciously invited us to. Should be a fun next few days!

- Calipersaurus Rex Maker

Monday, November 21, 2011

So Tired

I'm exhausted today after working for over 10 hours at this point (I'm currently scanning the drawings we did over the last 9.5 hrs). So today, you get reassurances that Edfu is calm with no Cairo-like rioting.

You may also have a picture of me from when we went to Karnak.



- Overworked

Sunday, November 20, 2011

I'm Gonna Be Famous!

Tasha and Nadine are working on a really big article (and it will kind of change the history of the late Middle Kingdom and early Second Intermediate Period as we know it). So yeah, it's a big deal. There's a ton of pottery that need's to be drawn so that Tasha can pick what she wants to put into the entire plate she's getting for the article. She's letting me draw most of it, so (at least) one of my drawings will be published! Sure, she's going over everything with a fine-toothes comb and changing anything that she doesn't like even a little bit, but she hasn't kicked me off the sherds yet, so I must be doing at least something right.

Also, I know I have to be getting better, because when I started drawing this summer, even I knew my fingerprint drawings looked abysmal. And today, she didn't even change my prints at all (on one pot). Want to see?

A little fuzzy and light, but those upside-tree-things on the left are fingerprints.
I'll try to let you all know when the article comes out. They are preparing things for publication, so hopefully soon?

- Rasama-mama (as Tasha calls me)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Wind, Wind, Go Away


The biggest enemy to a rasama is not the blinding sun; it’s not the cold temperatures that freeze your fingers; it’s not the adorable kitten distractions. No, because you see, there’s always shade somewhere, you can throw on another layer of clothes, and what can be bad about kitten distractions?

No, the greatest enemy is, in fact, the wind. The damn wind gets under your papers, no matter how many things you have holding it down; it flings pottery sherds off of your table; it blows sand and dirt into your eyes. And there’s nothing that can be done about it but to go home! Going behind the little wall we have only creates dust devils. Twice last week, we’ve wanted to stay late, but couldn’t because the wind got too bad. While it normally doesn’t pick up until about noon, today it started almost immediately on getting on site. And dealing with that for 8 hours is a nightmare, let me tell you.

- Wind hater

Friday, November 18, 2011

I've Got Cats in High Places


I’ve told you about the kitties here before: every morning we feed Patches and the two cats that were her kittens last year, Afrit and Kiri. Patches is clearly taken care of by the guards, as she doesn’t mind getting picked up or petted and has a bit of a belly. She doesn’t stick around long after we feed her in the morning, preferring to see what she can force out of tourists in the temple. Afrit is pretty skittish and will only let me touch him if he’s eating (and even that spooks him a bit). He seems to understand we aren’t there to hurt him, but he still doesn’t trust us enough to do anything more than feed him.

Then there’s Kiri, the excavation favorite. She’s very tiny and comes early in the morning for breakfast. After breakfast, she usually hangs out with us for a while, playing in the pottery boxes or demanding to be petted. She leaves us for a bit, but has learned that we take a break to eat around 10 and has started joining us for that, too (since there’s always spare pita that we give her).

Kiri really seems to enjoy her post-breakfast playtime. Sometimes, she stalks Afrit; sometimes she plays with the gigantic ants that are all over site; sometimes she bats at our bags. And then there are the times she plays on the roofs of the little benches we work next to. The roofs are probably 8 feet off of the ground, yet she’s able to jump and climb up to them with ease. See?



Somehow, even though I’m on the other side of the world, my cats at home must have heard about Kiri and her love of high places. My cat Avery has decided that clearly, the only way to get Mommy back is to show her that Kiri is no better than they are. She, too, can get up to high places.


She doesn’t have claws to hoist herself up, so even though she’s jumping off of the back of the couch, she’s still jumping something like 3 feet in one bound. And she apparently does it with no running head start. At least my husband was able to take all of the knick-knacks off of the bookshelf before she broke anything!

- Cat Wrangler

PS. I kind of really love this picture:

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Extreme Puzzling


Yesterday I gave you a peek of what Uhu glue can do (yes, Ellie, the same stuff you have lying around your house). Today, I got to use it ALL DAY! Lindsey and I got to sit all day with a bunch of sherds and see if anything could go together. Want to see some of what we ended up with?

This is Lindsey with her pot. There's actually one side that I was working on separately, then I looked at her pot and realized I was actually working on the other half. The colors looked completely different.

While I wasn't able to get the whole profile of a pot like she did, I made up for it by going bananas on not 1, not 2, but 3 pots! The one I'm holding in my right hand is the one I'm most proud of.

These were the prettiest things we were able to make, but we found several more joins between 2 or 3 pieces. All of the pots are 18th Dynasty beer jars, which were really crappily made: the rims aren't very circular, there are the potter's fingerprints all over the place, they have a ton of chaff in them, and don't even think about surface decoration. Unfortunately, while the Uhu is a good strong glue, it's not really made for the super porous surfaces that are these beer jars and we usually had to put on 2 or 3 layers of glue before the sherds would stick together. And now that they are beautiful, I'm sure I'm going to have to draw them.

In other news, today was the last day of excavation. Oh, don't worry, I'm not coming home any time soon, we still have 3 weeks of work left! But today was the last day that we are hiring local men to dig in the Old Kingdom area. Starting Saturday, our guys from Luxor, Greg, Aurelie, and Nadine will move to the Old Kingdom Edfu pyramid to clean it and get it protected so they can really excavate next season. Even though we'll have Lindsey joining us to draw, it's still going to be really quite with just Tasha, Lindsey, Valerie and myself on site every day drawing. We've got a lot to get through and not a whole lot of time, so we'll be staying late most days.

Since everyone is starting to feel the effects of little sleep and the temperature changing, we're all getting a little sick. Hopefully, my sore throat and runny nose are the worst of it, but we'll see. Tomorrow is our day off, so I'll get lots of rest and hopefully be recuperated by Saturday. Insha'allah.

- Puzzle solver and pot putter back togetherer

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sticky Situations

Sometimes they let me play with fun things, like glue. Which means I can make this:




look like this:


We use this fancy stuff:


It's made by the Germans, so you'd think they'd have a better designed bottle than one that doesn't allow any to come out when you need it, then starts to overflow all over the place without stopping. Either way, I do like gluing things together.

- Gluer

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

So chilly

Remember how I said it's getting cold here in the nights/early mornings? I was in 3 long-sleeved shirts today (and one of them was a fleece!) and I was still cold! Want to know the temperature? Very high 60s. Yeah, this does not bode well from winter in Chicago this year.

- Popsicle

PS. I've been drinking a ton of tea to stay warm. Mmmm hibiscus tea.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Arrrrrrabic


Let’s learn some more Arabic today. My dear friend Lindsey thought it would be fun to send me 23 mucktofs (baskets) of fukhar (pottery). Since it’s coming from a bad layer and we can’t possibly keep everything, we have to go through and figure out what we want to keep and what we want to through away. The throw-aways are known as zabella (trash). There were 22 mucktofs of zabella fukhar. I’m not thrilled by this. My fanana (overseer, aka Tasha) was glad I went through them all instead of her. I'm a trooper.

- Zabella-chucker

PS. Having some internet issues again (our brand new stick died!)- if I don’t post for a day, don’t worry!

PPS. I found out yesterday that Rosetta Stone only has Modern Standard Arabic! I need a system that will teach me Egyptian colloquial (it's completely different). Arrrgh. Anyone know of a good language-learning system? I need something that will speak it to me, and not just have me read from a grammar.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hello, Everyone!

I just took a look at my stats, and I'm amazed! So amazed that I'm giving you a double post today! Here are the page views I've had by country:


United States
788
Egypt
80
Italy
39
United Kingdom
27
Russia
21
Canada
18
Germany
10
France
10
Australia
4
Luxembourg
3


Hello, people from Russia, Luxembourg, Germany, and Canada (well hello to you others, too, but I know who many of you are). I had no idea I had people from so many countries checking in on me (seriously, people from Russia- who are you? how did you find me? welcome!). Hope you're liking it!

For those of you with a technical bent (read: Peter Jerde and my husband), 35% of you use Safari (Firefox if a close 31%, followed by IE at 16% and Chrome at 14%). 47% of you use Windows, and I must express my condolences. 36% of you have seen the light and use Macs, while 11% of my views have been from iPads (hi, Mom!).

So glad you are all staying with me and are enjoying the blog! I can't believe the blog I set up so that I wouldn't have to send "I'm ok" emails to my parents, in-laws and husband has meant over 1000 page views! Thanks everyone!

- Grateful blogger and statistician

I'm Smitten

I don't have much to say today, so how about some smiting? This was taken at Medinet Habu, a temple where Ramses III basically says how awesome he is by depicting himself in tons of battles and smiting everyone. We thought it needed to be recreated.


- Smitee

PS. Do you notice the red and white thing sticking out of Susan's pants? That's a Waldo hat. We've had a lot of fun placing "Waldo" in several fun poses around Egypt. The tourists at Bahri thought we were a little nuts, but honestly, we weren't the ones who were lobster red, wearing tube tops and booty shots in a Muslim country, knowing we'd be spending all day in the sun. So at the end of the day, I think we were the sane ones.

PPS. We looked all over this temple and Karnak for the perfect smiting scene in the perfect lighting with a perfect place for us to pose. We take our smiting seriously.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Adding Team Members


We’ve added 2 members to the team:

Auralie is an excavator from Switzerland who has been part of the group for several years. She arrived Thursday and will be with us for 3 weeks. Currently, she’s helping dig a really important Second Intermediate Period area and helping us sieve for seal impressions.

Valerie arrived just a few hours ago. She’s from France and is here to study the Old Kingdom pottery we have. I’m really excited to learn what I can from her before she leaves us.

The only problem with these new additions (aside from the fact that we now have 9 people using 1 bathroom) is that it brings out French-speaking contingent up to 4. When Susan leaves on Saturday, we’ll be tied. Another French-speaker will be joining us after Thanksgiving and us American-speakers will be out-numbered! Greg (who is French), Nadine (who is technically German, but also speaks at least French, Hungarian, English and Arabic) and Auralie all speak English quite well, though they prefer to speak to each other in French. Valerie apparently is super shy about speaking French and I have yet to hear her say more than “hello” in English. So learning from her might be difficult.

I’m still drawing. Tasha looked over my stuff yesterday and aside from 2 sherds whose diameters need to be tweaked, she says I’m doing a really good job! And she’s a very tough critic. There really is no “good enough” with drawings for her, especially since most are being used for her dissertation! So that made me feel good. I have a new job in the afternoon scanning all the drawings we’ve been doing. Apparently, Tasha normally spends about a week at the scanner once back in Chicago scanning everything, so hopefully I can save her some time.

- Non-French Speaker

PS. Our main internet stick bit the dust yesterday. So we’re down to a stick that is pay-as-you-go, and uploading pictures can be expensive. Unless we can get the stick working, it’s going to be text-only posts for a while. When I get to Luxor for Thanksgiving, I’ll try to upload a ton onto my blogger account and try to make up for lost time.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Live Like an Egyptian

Today I thought I'd take you on a tour of the house! Unfortunately, I can't convince blogger to let me upload it here, so I uploaded it on my youtube page (amongst other videos of my cats):


Sorry I move so fast, but I wanted to keep the file size small so that I could upload it for you.

I started on the roof, where you can see our wonderful clothes dryer and the puppies that live up there (don't get me started about the pitiful state they are in). Downstairs, that first bedroom is Kat, Lindsey, and Susan's. The big table where Tasha (in blue) and Lindsey are sitting is where we eat. The next bedroom is mine and Tasha's. My bed is the one on the left with the stylish "rabbits in love" sheet and the red-luggage end table. Next is the kitchen where Muhammad works his magic. The closed door is the bathroom, but someone was in there when I took the video. That last room is Nadine and Greg's. That's our house! We're on the second floor and our men live on the first across from the owners. On our floor, there's also more of the apartment across the hall (a bedroom and a common room), but it's full of junk right now so we don't use it yet. When we get visitors later in the season, we'll clean it out so they have somewhere to sleep.

The walls are a bit dirty, but overall it's large and airy and seems to serve our purposes well for the time being. Sure, it'd be nice to have a second bathroom, but just that second sink outside the bathroom means that we can brush our teeth while other people use the bathroom, and that's a huge help.

In case you're curious about what that green thing on my bed is (under the sheet), it's a camping sleeping mat and I'm so thrilled I brought it. The mattresses here are about 4 inches thick and stuffed full of old rags. This means that they are super hard and super lumpy. Stick that mattress on a frame that is literally planks of wood and cardboard between a wooden frame (no box-springs or metal frames here) and you've got our beds. Not a good combo for someone with a sore back. Thankfully, my in-laws gave us a ton of camping equipment a while back, so with a little creative packing, I've been able to sleep quite well and my back is very happy. The travel pillow was a must, as well. The beds come with pillows. The pillows are a lot like the mattresses, though. They are rock hard and would probably break your neck if you laid down too hard. They do make a nice barrier between us and the nasty, dirty walls, though.

- Realtor

PS. Did you happen to catch those beautiful paintings on the walls? They seem to be printed on cardboard, then glued to the wall. It is surround by what looks like sprayed-on stone look-alike? We have several throughout the apartment, including a large view of the Swiss Alps next to the kitchen, Italy near the dining table, two creepy little kids dancing near Greg and Nadine's room, and... some landscape on the back of the main door.

PPS. The dance party last night was a lot of fun- we got to see what music we all knew (though to be honest, we were a little ADD with the music, since we had people ranging from mid-20s to mid-30s and 3 of them were foreign). It was an odd collection of music, but we all danced and had a fun time. Of course, since we were up at 5am that morning and our normal bed time is usually 8:30 or 9, we were pretty much done by 10pm.

Payday

Today is Thursday, which means it's payday! Well, not for me. I'm unpaid slave labor. But for the 70 guys who spend their days hauling buckets full of dirt away, it was time for the pay.



That's Nadine in pink, Lindsey in blue, and Ahmed (my buddy who tries to teach me Arabic, but has really bad English) right above the column in the green with the yellow scarf.

Tonight we're having a dance party, then tomorrow is our day off (and my skype date with my hubby).

- Slave laborer and payday photographer

PS. I forgot to tell you that Tuesday night we had dinner with the 12 guys that live with us that we brought from Luxor. Our reis chooses them (usually based on family relations) and they do the more specialist things, while the locals do most of the heavy lifting and other tasks they can't screw up. It was a huge feast and a lot of fun. One of the guys even did impressions of several of the other guys.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Oh the Weather Outside Is Frightful


Guys, the weather here is weird. Everyone knows that Egypt is hot. It can get to the upper 90s in the afternoon, and was well over 100 last year the girls tell me (but honestly, it really is a dry heat and is only unbearable if you’re in the sun). But I’m not interested in talking about things you already know. Let’s talk about that evil thing known as nighttime or early morning. It. is. cold.

My sweatshirt made its site debut on Halloween, and my sleeping bag was pulled out that night. I know that cold is only 70-something degrees, but when you’re starting to think that 95 in the direct sunlight is fairly pleasant, it might as well be snowing at 70. Luckily, I’m prepared:


That’s right, my sleeping bag has zippers so that I can both stick my arms out and walk around. Plus, it’s perfect for Egypt since it’s a mummy bag. It also unfolds to be a nice blanket, which is how I’m currently using it. It’s a 55+ bag, so I stay nice and toasty at night, even when we keep the fan on to combat the noises of Edfu.
Going back to Chicago in the middle of winter is going to be interesting.

- Frostina the Snowwoman

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Wheels on the Box Go Round and Round- Until They Pop


It was another drawing day with nothing really exciting to say, so how about some more info on how we live here. Curious about how we get to work? Forget stretch limos, we have something called a “box”:



Basically, it’s a pick-up truck with the back end covered. It holds about 10 people in the back, then several of our workers hang from the step on the rear. The seats are just planks covered in a very thin pillow, and seated, my head just barely clears the roof. But it’s cheap and effective and is essentially the local taxi service. It gets us, our stuff, and the workers that live with us to the site about 5 minutes away each morning and home in the afternoon, so there’s no complaining from me.

Tasha in the box.
Tasha and I had an interesting experience the first day we stayed late to the tell. We are supposed to have hired the box for us and us alone, even though many of the boxes you just hop on and off of at your leisure, and you’re often in the box with several other people going any number of places. When our box came to pick us up in the afternoon, the local boys saw two pretty young foreign girls (caked in dirt and completely covered with long sleeves, pants, head coverings and sunglasses- sexy, huh?) and they had to come say hello. Several boys hopped on the back until our driver kicked them off. Then, as we were only a few doors from our apartment, we got a flat tire! I thought someone had fired a gun, it was so loud. Naturally, everyone on the block came running out of their houses. Hello Edfu, if you didn’t know we lived near you before, you do now!

- Box rider and tire popper

PS. The box really isn’t that bad. We don’t look dumb like all the tourists who ride a “kadesh” onto the site (Dan and I took a stylish motor coach, which gets far fewer laughs). The kadeshes all line up near the entrance and thankfully, all the horses get some shade for a while.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Back In Edfu


After our 3 mile hike on Saturday, we decided to take it a bit easy on Sunday by sleeping in (well, until 6:30, which is about the latest any of us could sleep). We then had leisurly shower, breakfast, and TV watching time (we watched both Déjà Vu and Birth since they were on the only English station, and an episode of Pokemon in German).

Once we were packed and checked out of the hotel, we had lunch, then Lindsey, Susan, and I headed to the Luxor Museum. The stuff there is GORGEOUS, and I got to see the mummy that might be Ramses II! After the museum we hit Snack Time again from some more cinnamon rolls and crappy Arab-pop music videos. I got a cinnamon rolls so that I could compare them to Toby’s in northern MN. It was a very tough call, but I’m going to say Toby’s were slightly better.

Then it was back to Edfu, where we had dinner, unpacked, and basically crashed. We were up again at 5am to start work once again. I’m back to being a rasama, which is fine by me. Getting dirty was fun, but I’m glad I only had to do it for a few days. One of our men did the rest of my section for me, and even though it was slightly larger, it still only took him a few hours to do, instead of the 3 days it took me. It’s probably best left to the experts.

Due to a slight miscommunication with our workers, work ended at noon today since it’s still the Eid holiday. But that still left me enough time to see some British tourists that had eaten breakfast by us at our hotel in Luxor (and who we’d seen at KV)! They were really excited to talk to Lindsey and me, since most tourists don’t get to. Now I might start digitizing my profile from the other day, or I might read all afternoon- it depends on whether or not my drawing gets scanned.

That’s all for today- sorry this one isn’t as exciting as my previous posts. How about a few more pictures from our hike?
The smiley face we found. The pyramid shape in the background is what the pharaohs used to mark the Valley of the Kings.

Oh tiny Bahri- I shall step on you!


- Rasama Once Again

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I'm Lovin' It

I know this isn't about my current trip to Luxor, but since I'm still in Luxor, I think this post will count.

As I've mentioned before, we were all craving cheeseburgers, so when we went to Luxor that first weekend, we stopped to grab some. Did we go to a normal restaurant and order burgers? No, that’s not how we roll. We went to McDonald’s. I wouldn’t be writing this post if it were just a normal McDonald’s, though. Oh no, this one was special. Let’s take a look:
These were for sale and were huge. I was sooo tempted to get one (only $11),  but it's almost too big to get back.

I know you can't tell, but the food was gigantic. This was a normal-sized Big Mac, and the fries were what came with the meal, not super sized. Yeah. (Note that I only was allowed 2 bags of ketchup for all those fries- not enough).

The walls had murals on them. I wish I could have gotten the whole mural- all of the classic McDonald's characters were there.

Yeah, I'm not exactly sure what's going on with Ronald and the sphinx there...
- Hamburgler