I went to Egypt. And holy cow it was amazing. I have fulfilled one of my life dreams. Every minute of it was packed with some sort of adventure, or some interesting fact. It was hard for my brain to accept the fact that I was in Egypt and that all the pyramids and temples that surrounded me weren't fake, but they were really and were thousands of years old. This earth is incredible, and the people that inhabit it are equally as fascinating. Cairo is one of the craziest, dirtiest cities I have ever seen full of beggar, barterers, crazy drivers and a mosque on every corner. I loved that place. The food was weird, the water was sketchy, but boy were the people and the places we saw amazing.
We started out driving from Jerusalem down to Beth Sheeva, an old biblical town. From there we went down to a kibutz and went on a tour of it. I never knew things like that existed. Communal living, people really living the law of consecration. It was fascinating to talk to the people and learn more about what helped them decide to live on a kibutz and what drives them to continue. We were in a place that takes the phrase "the middle of nowhere" to a whole new extreme. There was absolutely nothing, no resources, a couple of plants, and some hills. Yet they have managed to find way to raise serious crops, have farms, you name it. Don't think I will be moving to a kibutz anytime soon but it was really cool.
We stayed on a kibutz that night and then took off for Egypt the next morning. Suddenly after like 834 hours on the bus the Great Pyramids of Egypt were right there. Right in the middle of this gigantic city. And they were every bit as amazing as I would have imagined them. Those ancient Egyptian had quite the work ethic and desire to achieve greatness. And 3,000 years later we are still in awe of what they did. We went in the middle pyramid, which for all the work they did in building the sucker you'd think they would have made it a bit more interesting, but hey, they were probably tired. We then went back to the hotel and suddenly there were 90 college kids playing around in the pool like they were 5 years old and we got some awesome looks of awe, confusion, and amazement from the hotel workers, and the other people staying at the hotel. That nigtht we headed into downtown Cairo and serendipitously ran into this guy who had a party boat who wanted to take about 20 or us for a ride on the nile for about 50 cents each. So we got on this boat, he turned on all sorts of crazy lights and some crazy Egyptian music and we rode along the nile there while dancing and having a good old time.
The next day we went toured around Cairo to various sites and then took an overnight train down to Cairo. And as Charity can attest it was really fun, but the space was quite limited, you basically have to fold up in to a box and somehow get a nights sleep. It was great though, the next morning we got Luxor at about 5 and hit the ground running. These Jerusalem Center staffers and guides knew how to get everything done, we did everything possible in the amount of time we had. We went to Karnak Temple (which was probably one of my favorites of the trip) this massive temple of pillars and inscriptions, all sorts of things I can't even imagine how they built. We went to the Valley of the Kings where King Tut's tomb is. It is funny he is so well known because he hardly did anything in comparison to the other Kings.
That evening we went out on Falooka boat rides, (sailboats) on the Nile. It was so cool to be there on the Nile. On one side were hotels and buildings. But on the other side it looked as though it might have 3000 years ago. Greenery, palm trees, camels grazing, little huts. It was so cool to be out there. You'll have to see the pictures to better get what I am saying here. That night we went back to Karnak for a Sounds and Light show where they take you through the temple in the dark with certain things lighting up at certain times along with narration to better understand what took place there. Going through there at night was so cool. It was a powerful place. I think that is they best way to describe it. We went to Luxor Temple the next day, another powerful temple. Went back on the same train to Cairo the next night. Saw the Cairo Museum, the famous King Tut mask that been in the Den at our house forever (the papyrus thing), went to the pyramids again that night. And were about an inch away from going on a secret camel ride, around the back of the pyramids in the desert and then going up to them. Not to climb them but to get up close at night. It involved a little bribery and some under the table stuff, but there were some who weren't so sure about it, so we ended up not going. I was pretty ticked, but I guess that gives me a reason to go back. We finished off the trip witha great trip to the Red Sea for some snorkeling. It was awesome, but a bit windy so the visibility wasn't the greatest. We finally got home last night after what seemed like 2 months of traveling.
I love this place. The people in the group are awesome. It is so fun getting to know them better and better. Everyone is so excited to be here and willing to do anything anytime. The professors are pretty intense, and I must say I don't have a ton of motivation to read 400 pages while the Dome of the Rock and the old City of Jerusalem is at the bottom of the hill. I am really anxious to learn, but I am also excited to get out and learn on the streets if you know what I mean. We'll be here in the Center for a couple of days, then next week we'll be off to Galilee for a couple of days, then back here for a couple of days. Meanwhile, we'll bo going on field trips about every other day. Ya baby. We are studying the old testament right now, and in a couple of weeks we'll move on to the new testament. On top of that there are a couple of near eastern studies classes with some interesting local teachers. Well, I hope you made it this far, this also my journal as well, so there are quite a bit of details, but you know you loved it. I am posting a bunch of pictures online as well, go and see them. You can turn on a slide show and see them in pretty decent quality, once it starts move the mouse to the side of the screen and you'll se some captions describing the pictures as well. Love you all. Jerusalme Rules and so do the Jazz. it has been interesting running from one place to another trying to find out the scores. Go Jazz!
Here is the link.