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[Entry 10] In which I pretend to be a certain pulp archaeologist.

09 December 201001:54AMepic-triptravel

This is yesterday as well. The boat, in an attempt to be totally hated by me, has one expensive internet kiosk, and it's broken.

_ _Edfu and Kom Ombo are almost identical. Both are of similar design, were commisioned by the Greeks and Romans to keep the locals happy, and took multiple hundreds of years to build (unlike many of the Egyptians' own temples, which were put up much quicker.) In terms of how interesting I found them, though, they're total opposites.

Edfu is the most fun I've had in Egypt. It's an honest-to-god, Indiana Jones style ancient temple. It's in perfect condition, due to being buried under the sand, and thus hasn't been restored by modern workers. So instead of the impressive but clearly modern concrete lines of Hatshepsut's temple, it's all ancient pillars and crumbly stones and wall-to-wall hieroglyphics. It's the first thing in Egypt I've seen which actually looks its age.

And it's got tunnels. And corridors. And funny little rooms. And a great big shrine in the centre. And if you're lucky, you find a section with no other tourists in it and you wander up and down it whistling the Indiana Jones theme to yourself. Not that anyone I know would've done that...

Kom Ombo should by rights be more interesting. It was built a little later, and housed a major hospital, where apparently Egyptian surgical techniques were pretty advanced (i.e., they have mummified evidence of people surviving surgery long enough for their surgery wounds to heal), and where the first stethoscope in history was both recorded in hieroglyphs and then later found for real. It had the first 365-day calendar on its walls, and depictions of dozens of gods. It was the only temple ever to be dedicated to both Horus and Sobek (opposite ends of the alignment spectrum there...). It has a the largest Nile-o-meter (used to set taxes- when the Nile was high, so was the taxation rate) in Egypt, and a tunnel going underneath the Nile.

But despite all that, it was kinda... boring. Even though Edfu is just a big old building in comparison, that it was complete and unmodified made it somehow more real. The fact that Kom Ombo was lit up like a theme park (we visited at night) and crowded to match probably didn't help. Not that it wasn't worth going. Kom Ombo was fascinating and really cool, but Edfu was just... It was genuinely exciting to be inside something that old, which is a hard act to follow with just interesting facts and a closed tunnel. (I think I'd go back to Kom Ombo, whereas I'm not sure I'd go back to Edfu. Unless they offered some kind of Indiana Jones tour, with torches and no tourists, maybe at night. I'd totally do that.)

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