It was a relatively calm night onboard the Philae yesterday – the dinner was a formal affair, with a black and white theme – so everyone had to wear a combination of the colors. A nice touch. As we entered our cabin after dinner, it was a pleasant surprise to see decorations – apparently the cleaners rolled up the towels, pillows and other available objects in the room into various animal shapes. Here is an example of the elephant that we found on our bed.
This morning is relaxed – we woke up as the boat left Essna and it is pleasant sailing during the mornings. Even though it is hot, the river has a cooling effect and laying around on the deck or in the pool is a nice refreshing feeling.
Edfu is a few hours of sailing from Essna, and we get some time to catch up with fellow travelers – our companions are a mid 40s British couple, a honeymooning couple from New Jersey, an elderly and charming British couple, another honeymooning couple from Lebanon, a British guy working in Cairo and his girlfriend, and another elderly Dutch couple. We are the only ethnic Indians on board – even though the Oberoi Philae is an Indian ship. Egypt has historically been friendly with India, and everyone knows about Bollywood even in these interior parts of Egypt. They have a full blown Bollywood movie channel on board the Philae and the ship serves at least one Indian dish at every meal.
We disembark on the west banks of the Nile for the first time – the temple of Edfu is located very close to the docks. The temple of Edfu is the second largest in Egypt after Karnak, and is the best preserved of them all. It was dedicated to the falcon headed God Horus – and took more than 200 years to build. The engravings on the walls depict the age old battle between Horus and Seth – which was of course won by Horus. Tariq, our guide is a funny character – to make the history of the temple easy on all of us, he decides to stage an impromptu theater with all of us as actors. I am playing the role of Seth – the evil one- and after a battle with Horus (the Brit working in Cairo), I am killed off – much to the pleasure of the audience. I must say that this is the only piece of Egyptian history that is vivid in my mind – much thanks to Tariq’s inventive play.
Architecturally, the temple is similar to the one at Karnak, and it is the hieroglyphs that make it more interesting. Several scenes are depicted in the engravings. These engravings are at times an inch deep – it just makes us wonder about the effectiveness of the primitive tools used by the artisans – and their dedication to imp lement the pharaoh’s vision