Friday, November 27, 2009

Pictures

Some Galilee pictures are up on Facebook!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

EGYPT: Day 4

Ok this is going to be my last Egypt today. Make sure you don't miss days 1-3 on the previous pages!

9.20
This day was wonderful.

Valley of the Kings – This is where the Pharaohs of the Upper Kingdom were buried. We were
given a ticket to King Tutankhamen’s tomb and another ticket that let us go in any three tombs of our choice. Tut’s tomb was by far the best because it hadn’t been looted like the other tombs. All of the paintings on the walls were as vibrant as they would have been thousands of years ago. There was also a climate-controlled glass box that had the actual mummy of Tutankhamen in it. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to bring cameras but believe me, it was pretty awesome. The other tombs were much bigger (Tut wasn’t very important) but there was graffiti from the 1800’s on it and much of the paint had worn off. They were still really cool. I was lucky because my teacher had an extra ticket so I got to go into one extra tomb than everyone else.

Hatshepsut’s Monument – Queen Hatshepsut was the only female buried in the Valley of the Kings (there was a separate valley for queens). Everybody but her royal court thought she was a man. All of her statues and hieroglyphics depict her as a man. She had a large temple built into the mountain in the Valley of the Kings. It was very impressive. A side-note about Hatshepsut is that she kept her son, the rightful heir, imprisoned for most of his life. When she died, he got control of the throne and went around much of Egypt defacing her monuments.



After this, we went back to the hotel and had a sacrament meeting in our church clothes. It was really interesting because we were having church on Sunday instead of Saturday, and we were doing things just like normal except for the one hour we had sacrament. Later in the day we took a Felucca ride (pretty much a Nile riverboat) to the opposite side of the Nile.




The other class took their camel rides first. When we were waiting we hung out with some little local kids. I gave them all a piece of gum and they didn’t know was to do with it. The camel ride went through a local village and past some farms. My camel guide was named Muhammad. Pretty much all I learned from him is that he has never heard of Muse, my camel’s name was Casanova, and that his favorite song was some song off of the movie Titanic.



Later that night we decided to go out into the city. We took a carriage and told the guy to take us to the local market. He ended up taking us to this dumb tourist store where apparently all the carriage drivers go because they get a commission if we buy something. I was pretty mad about it but it was nice riding the carriage at night through the city along the Nile. Ok this is the end of the first four days. Stay tuned for the next four!

EGYPT: Day 2-3

9.18 This day was mostly a travel day.

We went through the border which took a really long time and then drove through the Sinai
Peninsula into Cairo. Cairo is a huge city. I think they said that the population is around 30 million. It is the largest city in Africa. The residential buildings were tall and made of brick and concrete. They weren’t painted or anything. The city was smoggy as well but you could faintly see the pyramids in the distance which was really cool. The hotel was called the Oasis and it was set up kind of like bungalows. When we got settled in pretty much everyone went swimming. Dinner was good because it was the end of Ramadan. That night we went to the pyramids and watched a light show. It was a little cheesy but the lasers were cool.



9.19
This day was awesome!

Great Pyramid – We had to head out very early to get in line for tickets to be able to enter the Great Pyramid of Giza. For some reason people don’t think that cutting is bad and kept cutting our group. Some of us blocked people so by the time it was our turn to get tickets, they had run out. We were going to maybe just have to go to the second largest pyramid which I would have been fine with but I think some of the teachers gave up their tickets or something because when I got on my bus they had one for me. The Pyramids are gigantic I couldn’t believe it and joked about them being made by aliens. Anyways we were allowed to go inside through this narrow shaft into the main burial chamber. It had been emptied thousands of years before by grave robbers but you could still see how large the coffin was and the cool paintings on the walls. Inside we sang “If You Could Hie to Kolob” which was really cool because it echoed so much. I took a lot of pictures on the pyramid but unfortunately we weren’t allowed to go up top.



Sphinx – This was really cool to see in person. It is all part of the Giza pyramid complex but we went to it separately. There are a lot of different sphinxes around Egypt but this one is the largest. There were a lot of merchants selling things and I got totally shafted on this copper pyramid paperweight I bought. I got it for $20 and when I went to another place I saw I could have gotten it for $5. I was a ruthless buyer after that and got some really great deals on other things.



Memphis – Memphis was the main capital of Egypt for most of its history. There was a museum-like structure there which was really cool. There was this giant statue of Ramses II there and another, smaller, Sphinx. They also had this giant ship on display. The ancient Egyptians buried it with one of the Pharaohs to ensure his safe passage. It was fully constructed and hanging up in a special room to preserve the wood now that it had been dug up.



Saqquara – This was the site of the precursors to the pyramids called “step pyramids” or “mastabas.” The one we went to belonged to the Pharoah Zoser.



After this we went to a papyrus “factory” where various hieroglyphics had been copied onto home-made papyrus. One of the interesting parts of this place was that they had copies of the Joseph Smith papyri from the Book of Abraham on display. We then went back to the hotel, packed enough stuff for a few days into carry-on bags, and took a night flight to the city of Luxor. We arrived and stayed in this really nice Sheraton complete with a rain function in the showers and toilets with bidets :)

EGYPT: Day 1

So I have a lot to catch up on. I am going to post half of my Egypt stuff today, let you all read it, then post the other half later.

9.17

We had breakfast earlier than usual which wouldn’t have been a problem except I was up really late the night before. There are always two buses for field trips determined by which of the two religion classes you belong to. Instead of tackling the drive in one day, we stopped at a few places.

Tel Beersheba – This is where Abraham dug a well and made an oath with King Abimelech. It is also one of the major spots on “The Patriarchs Way.” It marked the southern border of the Israelite kingdom. One of the cool parts about this place was the four horned altar, based on an existing altar found there, on which people could hold to in case of involuntary manslaughter to escape the avengers and gain a fair trial.

Wilderness of Zin overlook – We watched a movie about the great rift valley and the geography of the area. Then we went to the top of the building and took pictures overlooking this huge valley of the Wilderness of Zin (Sin) is where the Children of Israel wandered for 40 years.

Avdat – This was my favorite stop of the day. Avdat was an ancient Nabataean city. Nabataeans were involved in the spice trade and this city was an important stop for that. Avdat was maintained by the Romans and later by the Byzantines who built Christian structures. One of the interesting features of the Byzantine construction is a cross-shaped baptismal font.

After these stops, we travelled to the Yotvata Kibbutz. The people there are involved in dairy and date harvesting. We got a tour of the entire complex and got to eat some of the local dates. After this we had delicious food at the Kibbutz’s cafeteria for dinner. For those of you who don’t know what a kibbutz is, it’s basically a socialist Jewish colony. We then took a short drive to another kibbutz to stay the night.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Pics Up

On Facebook. It took a really long time (like 1.5 hours) because I was at the center but pictures are just piling up!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Egypt

Hello I just got back from Egypt last night. I took a ton of photos so bear with me as I sort them all out and stuff

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Photos

New photos on Facebook. Some on here to come!