Week 18: Memphis, Pyramids, Camels, Copticness, & Such

Hello from the Sea of Galilee in Israel! I will write more about my experience in Israel later, but for now I want to tell you all about my time in Egypt.

Wednesday

The other 31 people in our group arrived very early in the morning after experiencing a nice unexpected 12-hour layover in Germany. Yep, that’s no fun. So, they spent the morning trying to sleep. When they had rested, I got to see everyone which was really nice. When Andy (our Professor) introduced me to the group everyone cheered and I felt all warm and fuzzy inside and missed seminary and the community there. Furthermore, my seminary neighbor, Mary-Elizabeth, brought me some things I wanted from the States and asked everyone else on the trip to bring me essentials from the States (M&Ms, Reeses, and Head & Shoulders). So, it was good to see everyone on multiple levels. We then met our tour guide, Heba, and traveled to the city of Memphis.   Memphis has mostly been covered by another city being built on top of it repeatedly, but they do have an open air museum with a sphinx and a Statue of Ramses II (questionably) which was used in the 10 Commandments movie.

Statue of Ramses II at Memphis:
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Afterwards, we went and visited the Step Pyramid (Pyramid of Djoser) and another Pyramid (Tomb of King Titi) which looks just like a sand hill, but we all went inside of it and it had incredibly beautiful hieroglyphics everywhere.  Who’d a thunk it?

Tomb of King Titi:
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Step Pyramid and I:
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Thursday

Thursday morning we headed to the Giza pyramids bright and early which are right by our hotel. The Pyramids are different than I thought they would be because the Great Pyramid is not in the middle, but is the bigger one on a side.

A short video standing on the Great Pyramid:

Isaac and I standing on the Great Pyramid:
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The Pyramid in the middle was just built on higher ground and still has its shell at the tip top. It’s actually amusing because the middle Pyramid was built by the Great Pyramid builder’s son.  So, rather than build a bigger pyramid than his dad he just built it on higher ground.  The Giza Pyramids were very impressive and something I have wanted to see since the 6th grade and thought I would have to wait until I was retired to see, but the opportunity arose at 25.  Take that world!

The group drove to get a good view of all 3 which was also where we all had a camel ride which was amazing.

A view of the 3: (the Great is on the left)
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A view of the 3 with me:
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When a camel stands up it is very awkward and unusual. My camel’s name was Bartholomew or that was what I called him. It was very surreal to see all 32 of us riding along on camels with the Giza Pyramids in the background.

A video of the camel ride:

A picture of me and Bartholomew:
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Then we all went to see a boat that was buried with the Pharaoh of the Great Pyramid (Great idea!). My seminary neighbor, Mary-Elizabeth, and I left early because we were the only ones that wanted to go inside the Giza Pyramids. So, we got to go inside the middle Pyramid. I found that walking backwards down the very short passage was easier and less strenuous on my back so that ‘s what I did. We went down for a while then level for a while and then up for a while. Then we arrived in the tomb which was unreal.

Video of inside Pyramid:

It was very humid. On our way out I was walking down the short passage and once we came to a place where I could stand up, so I did and there was a very long line of Asians who laughed at me each one in turn as I passed them because I am too tall to be walking around in Pyramids.

We then drove to the other side of town to see a Mosque, called the Citadel.

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Afterward, we had lunch at a boat on the Nile and the meal was very nice. We finally made our way to the Egyptian Museum. I was very excited about this because I distinctly remember in 6th grade learning about Egyptian History.  Even more precisely I remember how captivated I was with the discovery of King Tut’s Tomb. I remember staring at the large picture of King Tut’s face in our textbooks.

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So, when I actually got to see the 28 pound solid gold mask of King Tut and saw my reflection in the protective glass I could visualize the 6th grade me staring at the picture of it at my desk in Broken Arrow, OK. It was a surreal moment.

While at the museum, we also went to see the Mummies. The coolest was Ramses II. It was really crazy to see this 5,000 year old Pharaoh with hair, finger nails, and skin. He was very well preserved, lived to be possibly 100, and had 80 or so children or so the legend goes. Thursday was a very full day.

Pic of Ramses mummy.

Friday

Friday, we drove north halfway to Alexandria to visit a Coptic monastery in Wadi Natrun. We had a very interesting monk show us around who had a wizard beard. He was very knowledgeable and shared his views with us about the Coptic church and theology. It was a good visit.

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Saturday

Saturday, we journeyed to Coptic Cairo, the Ben Ezra Synagogue, which is tradition ridden with Biblical history. The tradition is that this location is one of the possibilities of where Moses was found by Pharaoh’s daughter on River Nile, also where Jeremiah came when he was exiled, and where the exiled Holy Family came when Joseph and Mary had to flee to Egypt with Jesus because Herod was killing everyone 2 and under. So, it is traditionally a very historic place. When I say “traditionally” it means that there is no archaeological proof, but it is believed/this is an option where it might have happened.

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We then visited the Presbterian seminary in Cairo, the Evangelical Theological Seminary of Cairo (ETSC).  An APTS graduate is working at the seminary and we were invited over to meet with other seminarians.  It was a good last night in Cairo and it was nice to interact with other seminary students from another country.

Goodbye Egypt!
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  1. Series – Egypt Trip | rtqblog - July 14, 2011

    […] Week 18: Memphis, Pyramids, Camels, Copticness, and Such […]

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