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Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of

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Two More Temples....

The Egyptian Series

Two More Temples, Karnack & Luxor

Temples and more temples, Egypt is all about ancient temples. Karnack is actually a complex of temples but you can only tour one temple. It is larger than other temples, but smaller than I expected. It looked so big in the pictures. This is the temple with a long rows of sphinxes with ram heads, often seen in pictures. It has several tall spheres that are unique, but other than that, is much like the other temples. After a while, they all begin to blend into a blur of columns, sphinxes, and cartouches. It will probably be difficult to tell them apart in the pictures I am taking, I think, and later I will find I was right.
Back on the riverboat for our final dinner aboard, the crew makes it especially impressive with candles right on the dinner plates. We "oh and ah" appropriately. Afterward, we are entertained by whirling deverishes, who dance by spinning in a circle like we did as kids. As children, we always ended up by getting dizzy and falling down. The deverishes whirled and whirled and never became dizzy. I can't say the same for myself as it made me lightheaded just watching.
While it seems that we spend a lot of time visiting temples in Egypt, we do have opportunities to interact with a few locals who are selling things other than scarves. We go to a craft school on the West Bank where they teach Muslim women to do embroidery and bead work so they can make money working at home. It is a Free Trade shop, which means it is affiliated with a group that helps disadvantaged people to earn an income. The women are busy doing needlework or bending over the cutting board cutting out patterns. I have a feeling that the shop probably makes more money reselling the work than the women make from doing it, but, hopefully, I am wrong.

On the way back from the West Bank, we have an unplanned adventure when the motor dies on the boat and will not restart. We begin drifting down the Nile River. I worry that we will go over the dam, but I suppose we are actually downstream from the dam as we have already gone through the locks. Finally, another river taxi comes to the rescue. At first they have the bright idea of transferring us to the other boat in the middle of the Nile, but later think better of that idea and tow us to shore. I see our tourist police bodyguard talking furiously on his cell phone afterwards. I suppose he is trying to explain to his boss how he nearly lost a boatload of American tourists to the alligators.
One of the prettiest temples we see is the final temple on the tour, Luxor Temple, but it is also the most damaged. As I have said before, nothing is ever replaced. Once it is gone, it is gone forever. Sometimes damage occurred in ancient times and is part of the heritage. Other times it is due to modern looters or vandalism. The temple has beautiful pillars with carvings on them and the famous row of sphinxes going back toward Karnack. The antiquities are guarded carefully to prevent additional vandalism. We are told that one hylogryphic can be worth millions on the black market. No wonder the guards carry machine guns.
There were many different dynasties in ancient Egypt, and when there was a new king, he would tear down what the previous pharaoh had built or else put his own name on it. However, if a monument was dedicated to a god, the new king would leave it alone. Once dedicated, it belonged to the god and the king was afraid to destroy it. Sometimes, however, a king would build a sanctuary around another sanctuary or a wall to hide the former pharoh's name. Apparently, hiding the work of an old king was okay with the gods as long as their monument was not destroyed.

All of the temples have spotlights on them at night and are especially intriguing when lit up in the dark. If I had my druthers, we would stop the bus and get out to take pictures, but it's probably just as well that we don't as the traffic is far more dangerous than any alligators.

Copyright 2010 Sheila Moss

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