Travel Letters

South of Cairo: Memphis, the City of the Dead, Dahshur

Cairo

The Arab Republic of Egypt

December 23, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

For the final day trip of our visit to Egypt, my friend Ralph Velasco and I considered three possible destinations: the Suez Canal, the Camel Market or the agricultural area south of Cairo.  We decided to head south, out of Cairo, to explore the area and see the sights.*

Alexandria, Egypt

Alexandria

Egypt

December 20, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

The four hour ride northwest from Cairo to Alexandria is less than scenic but Alexandria itself is a worthy and picturesque city.  

 Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt with a population of 4.1 million, extending about 32 km (20 mi) along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving approximately 80% of Egypt's imports and exports. Alexandria is also an important tourist resort.

The Pyramids

Bangkok

Monday

Hello!

Happy New Year! 

In 1952, Sue Thompson recorded the hit song "You Belong to Me."  Later it was covered by Patti Page, Jo Stafford, Dean Martin, Patsy Cline and Bing Crosby.  My favorite rendition is in the Doo-wop style by The Duprees in 1962.* 

The opening lyric of the song is "See the Pyramids along the Nile...." 

I suppose it is the dream of many people around the world to "See the Pyramids."

Sightseeing in Cairo

December 22, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

Despite the heavy traffic and the early morning smoke and fog, my group’s day of sightseeing in Cairo included several memorable stops.  The Saladin Citadel.  The Muhammad Ali Mosque.  Virgin Mary Coptic Church.  The Ben Ezra Synagogue.  The Egyptian Museum.  Can you guess which one is my favorite?

<--break->The Citadel of Salah al-Din (Saladin) is imposing and dramatic as it overlooks the skyline of the city.  It was built by the Ayyubid ruler and conqueror in the Twelfth Century.  The Mosque of Muhammad Ali dominates the grounds of the citadel.   Built by Pasha Muhammad Ali in the Nineteenth Century, the enormous Ottoman-Turkish style mosque is reminiscent those in Istanbul and Edirne.

Aswan: "Rescuing Abu Simbel"

Aswan, Egypt

10 October 2009

Marhaba,

The recollections of the engineer Medhat Ibrahim are both informative and powerful. He describes the enormous project to save the ancient Nubian monuments from the rising waters of Lake Nasser. I have reprinted his article below.

My best moment at Abu Simbel came when, after strolling past several wall carvings and decoration, I turned the corner of the mountain, looked to my left, and was startled; "There it is!" "There they are!"

 

Luxor and The Nile

Luxor: Temples and Tombs

The guidebook gushes with the following descriptive terms for this 4000 year old city of ancient Thebes: "staggering ancient splendor, extraordinary, compelling, spectacular, massive, and strikingly graceful." * For once I agree 100%.

My first stop, and my favorite, is the Luxor Temple. The temple is filled with wall writings and pictorial carvings and enormous statues of the Pharaohs: Amenhotep III, Tutankhamen, Ramses II, Nectanebo. Even Alexander the Great and various Romans (Marc Anthony?) added their touch.

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