and More Temples...
The Luxor Temple at night
May 30, 2006
Question: What do Turkish delights (the candies) and Egyptian temples have in common?
Answer: I have overdosed on both and don’t need to see another one for a loooong time.
The good news is that I have found my favorite temple… (In an effort to keep this suspenseful, you will have to read on...)
Here are the temples that I have seen in Upper Egypt:
1. Philae Temple – Aswan
2. Abu Simbel
3. Kom Ombo (I took a pass on this one)
5. Karnak Temple
6. Luxor Temple
7. Hatshepsut Temple
Upon arriving in Luxor, I was given a guide to show me Karnak Temple.
On our way, I saw something that produced a certain response from my body. About 100 meters away, I saw another
one. And another 100 meters, I saw another one. They were red posters that consisted of a yellow symbol on them. The
yellow symbol could also be said to portray golden arches. It was at this moment that I realized I have a Pavlovian
response to McDonald’s signs. They trigger the idea of soft-serve ice cream in my mind and I automatically start
salivating. These McDonald’s signs said ‘Luxor Temple’ underneath them. We were going to Karnak. Shoot. But Luxor
Temple was going to be right after. Ahhh….
In any case, there were two of us that the tour guide was going to take around to the two temples. Within five minutes of
being at Karnak Temple, I could tell the guy was going to be asking many questions and I just couldn’t put up with that in
this heat (heck, I can’t even put up with that in perfect weather). I told them I would meet them at the front whenever
they wanted me there. I would much rather roam around on my own.
While I was doing my roaming, a guy offered to show me different parts of the temple. I let him know that I didn’t want
him to because I didn’t have baksheesh. He almost acted offended that I would suggest that he expected such a thing and
insisted he didn’t want baksheesh. I was now onboard. He showed me many cool colored reliefs within certain nooks and
crannies that are behind gated areas. He was showing me different views from different areas. After all was said and
done, he mentioned something about baksheesh. I explained to him that I had already told him I didn’t have baksheesh.
Then he said, “No. No baksheesh.” Okay. At least he is aware of this and wasn’t expecting anything. I jumped to the
wrong conclusion as the next thing he said was “A kiss?” And, of course, this is after I had told him that I was married. I
gave him a glare, said “No way” and just walked away. Well, at least I got a few colored reliefs out of it.
Our next stop was Luxor Temple. It was way too hot. It didn’t look like anything special. I told the two others that I
wasn’t going to go in and I would wait for them outside. The only request I made was that we stop off at McDonald’s after
they were done at the temple (I volunteered to go there while they were in the temple but she was concerned that I
would get lost). After their visit, I got my ice cream cone. I hadn’t tasted one of these since Beirut. I was in my own
McDonald’s-induced state of euphoria.
While I was waiting at Luxor Temple, I saw that it closed at 10 p.m. I had an idea. I would come back and see this at
night when it would no-doubt be lit up and the weather would be far more comfortable.
I went at 8:30 p.m. and it looked as different as night and day…go figure. No here was a temple I want to go see. Almost
the entire temple was bathed in yellow-tinted lights. There were a couple parts (such as the obelisk) that had blue light
reflecting from it. My mouth literally dropped. I couldn’t believe how beautiful everything looked. I literally said “Oh my
gosh” out loud. Yes, I was talking to myself. That’s how much I liked it.
Everybody has different criteria for what would make something their ‘favorite’. Some people like certain kings or
pharaohs. Others like certain scenes that are depicted in the reliefs on the walls. People who know about hieroglyphs
enjoy decoding them to see what the stories are about. As for me, I’m really a simple kind of girl who really enjoys the
one that appears the most beautiful. And this is what I found at Luxor Temple. By night, it’s the most beautiful temple
that I have seen here in Egypt.
In addition to the different temples that I have seen, I also visited the Valley of the Kings today. This is where
Tuthankhamun’s tomb is. Up until recently, there were 62 tombs found here. As recently as last year, another tomb was
found. Only a certain number of tombs are open and it’s not allowed to take photos. However, people who work inside the
tombs won’t hesitate to let you know that they will allow you to take pictures knowing that they will be rewarded some
baksheesh. I ended up taking the bait because…what can I say…I’m a sucker for some good colored hieroglyphs.
One of the colorful reliefs at the Karnak Temple.