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November 16th 2010
Published: November 29th 2010
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With all the joys of a 5am alarm call after too many beers the night before, I rolled out of bed, begrudgingly showered and left the still sleeping hotel to visit Karnak. The Temple is open from 6am, and I wanted to get there before the packaged masses arrived. Getting a minibus at this God-foresaken hour wasn't easy - apparently no one else is keen on getting up this early either. Who'd have guessed? I settled for a 5EP taxi instead, and arrived at the gates just before 7am, without a tourbus in sight, and just a scattering of tourists about.

Still sleeping, I agreed to have a tour guide - it was fairly cheap, and it seemed to good to turn down as the site is vast if you don't know where you're going, and you're still in bed (even if in mind rather than body). The guide was good, but as we walked through the near-deserted complex he came as a mixed blessing, stopping my childike desire to run all over the place. Although interesting, I was willing for it to end soon.

Just before 8am, and the Temple slowly filling up, my guide said he was done, and I jumped, ran and skipped back to the main site. As you enter the temple, you pass through a gateway between two massive walls, 43m high and covered in hieroglyphs. This leads into an open courtyard, and beyond this, through another giant gateway, is the main Hypostyle Hall. The Pyramids were fun. Luxor Temple and the Valley of the Kings good. But the Hypostyle Hall made me breatheless. Yet again I was blown away. But this time more than ever before. Over sixty columns, 15m around, and over 30m high, reach into the sky. The place is just unbeleivably massive, and makes you feel so miniscule and tiny (even someone of my height). Crowds of people just disappear behind the giant stones. And yet it was built over 300 years ago. Confronted by this, I did what any self respecting person would do, and got out my mp3 player and put on the Indiana Jones theme tune, and bounced around with childish enthusiasm. It's just the size of the place that is so amazing. People seem the size of ants. Smaller than even a single building block. And even though there must have been 100 other people there, it felt like I had the place to myself.

It's getting harder and harder to improve on the sights I'm seeing. And I only left home a month ago (to the day!). It's easy. It packaged. It's full of tourists. And it's not even really Africa. But Egypt can be utterly and fantastically unbeleivable and unbeatable at times.

(Just make sure you go to India to learn how to deal with the touts first).


29th November 2010

Karnak attack
Hey Chris, Some great photos here, mate, Karnak and otherwise. Can't be bothered reading the words though. :^) Sounds and looks like you're having an amazing time. I'm well jealous! Take care, mate. Rich
30th November 2010

Too many beers...
.....seems to be somewhat of a theme ;) Glad you are having so much fun!! Hope Sudan is as good - can't wait to hear. And really hope we get to meet up in Nairobi!
5th December 2010

A month-Really!
Sounds like you're having a really adventurous time in Egypt-all those early mornings and hang overs! Not to mention the amazing sights of course.So the temples really are as huge as we're led to believe in the films on TV-glad to read that you've taken the Indiana Jones theme to heart(and the music!) and I hope that you'll continueto manage to get out any of tricky situations just like he always manages to. Maybe you'll get the girl as well if you can avoid all those middle aged Greek and American women-my advice is get up and stay out later! As you probably know it's very cold here at the moment-down to -10C so I'm envying your 'Winter in thesun' it should be interesting to see what happens at Christmas wherever you are then-presumably there's a lack of snow, evergreens and Reindeer in Etiopia or Sudan? Well here's hoping you get the ferry on the second attempt-it's probably too far to swim across even for an Indiana Jones Wanabee. But if you try, or fall off the boat, watch out for the crocodiles and snakes that always seem to crop up!

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