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Egyptography

February 20, 2018

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Sphinx, Giza, all photos © Frank Ward, 2018

I enjoyed my first trip to Egypt this past January with my wife, Vivian Leskes. She was invited by the US Embassy in Egypt to give English language workshops in Cairo. I gave a photography presentation for the public at the American Center.

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Cairo shopping district photographed from the window of my passing vehicle. Egypt has an ancient history of hording. Five thousand years ago the pharaohs believed that you could take your wealth with you. They entombed their possessions along with their mummified bodies for future transport to an afterlife filled with stuff. Much of that stuff is with us today because of the early Egyptian desire for all embracing preservation. Egypt itself provided the perfect conditions for long term storage.

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Tourists at Karnak, Luxor

Before doing our stint as lecturers, Vivian and I flew south to Luxor and then journeyed to Aswan by dahabiya. The trip encompassed five nights on the Nile on two boats, six passengers per boat. I think Luxor is the root of the word “luxurious.”

Sails6931 Sailing on the Malouka up the Nile.

In addition to cruising the Nile, we spent most days visiting temples, tombs, villages, farms and families. From my perspective, Egypt generates total visual immersion.

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A village tea and shisha (waterpipe) shop. Boat-mate Jonathan is on the right.

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In Islamic Cairo, a man is sanding inlaid mother of pearl game boards to sell to tourists. Tourism is down by more than half since the 2011 Arab Spring and the 2013 military takeover.

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In Aswan, a man does ironing in his shop.

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A merchant is set-up on a street corner in Islamic Cairo.

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Young man near Tahrir Square, Cairo.

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Man enjoying a pipe in a village cafe.

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Tea and shisha in a cafe in Islamic Cairo.

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In a village along the Nile.

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On my last night in Cairo, Vivian and I went to a fashion show. I told the organizers that I was going to blog about it. So here is the picture. It fits poorly into the rest of my posting. The poor fit is somehow appropriate considering Egypt and its many issues and contrasts.

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Egypt is still discovering the history of its ancient civilization. Above is a Fayum mummy from the Cairo Museum. The portrait, from the Coptic Christian period, is on a wood panel that is encased in mummy’s wrappings.

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The ancient Egyptians disliked leaving any surface undecorated. I recall that I saw these painted mummy’s feet in the Cairo Textile Museum. I’ll add more pictures as I sort out my feelings about Egypt’s ancient legacy and present circumstance.

 

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Vivian permalink
    February 21, 2018 6:38 am

    A truly amazing experience!!

  2. February 23, 2018 7:42 am

    Hi Frank. Great photos! What is up with “In Aswan, a man does ironing in his shop” and the Che flag? Also, what does “Islamic Cairo” refer to? Glenn

    • February 23, 2018 11:06 am

      Hi Glenn,
      Islamic Cairo is used locally, and in guide books, to describe an area of greater Cairo that is densely populated and includes the Khan al-Khalili market and many religious and historic sites. Other areas of Cairo are: Coptic Cairo- also known as Old Cairo, New Cairo, Central Cairo. As for Che in the shop, I don’t know but I like it.

  3. February 23, 2018 4:35 pm

    Great shots! The encroaching presence of stuff of all kinds—junk, treasures—is truly impressive, and you are right that it elicits the mummies in their tombs surrounded by the cargo of life. Thanks for posting!!

  4. February 25, 2018 11:14 pm

    Thanks, Caleb. I just printed up over 50 pictures that I will edit down to a show for a place to be determined.

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