Damnit, Alex!

Heyo! Today I am going to relate to you my experience of the Library of Alexandria. No, not the old one, you twit. The new one. It’s a cool piece of architecture. It’s called the Sun Disc, and it has earned its title because a) it’s disc shaped, b) it reflects the sun and c) because it has the spherical Planetarium “orbiting” it (e.g Earth).

Now, into greater detail. It’s a very efficient design, covered in windows with little “eyelashes” to keep the dust off, but they still clean it daily. It has little bits of coloured glass around the eyes, symbolising (apparently) land and water. Inside, it’s less child-friendly. There is a children’s library and an art gallery. The rest is out of bounds.

I mean, it’s all very well if you’re reading 100-page books and stuff like that, but for a boy who’s read an Iain M. Banks novel? No. I only got a peek of their impressive archives (sporting a military-level supercomputer and a huge internet database) while on a guided tour. How sad. Other than that, great place.

Nah nah nah na naa naaah 2: On a felucca

Yup. A felucca. Bet you don’t even know what that is. The spellchecker doesn’t, so I’ll tell ye. A felucca is like a sailing boat. A small-ish one, and (naturally) cheap (to a point). But that is all about whether you take the return trip, the captain, whether you’re a derp, etcetera. We paid about 2000 Egyptian pounds (derp price). I do feel somewhat embarrassed about it, though. The price, I mean.

Right, new paragraph. On the first day we set off and I was very excited. There’s some goodly fun to be had on said sailing vessel. For the well-heeled traveller, there are Dahabiyyas (literally meaning golden boats). I don’t really like them ’cause they get tugged (no matter what the Lonely Planet cretins say) by a very noisy little boat that has a habit of spoiling the atmosphere. Although, they do have good accommodation.

They also have generators (probably also noisy). And a restaurant on top. But I would rather go on the somewhat more charming Sudan (I had the privilege of seeing it in action), Egypt’s last functioning paddle steamer. That, I think, is much nicer as the noise is a part of the atmosphere, not an intrusion on it. I feel sorry for people who pay their life’s savings for a Dahabiyya and spend the duration being tugged.

Gosh, this is getting to be a mini guide to Nile boating, isn’t it? Anyway, bottom of the list are cruise ships. There are some good (and pricey) ships out there, travelling solo, but the majority travel in convoys of 3 to 6 and look like warped renditions of Soviet prison ships. Um, so that’s all I’ve got for now. I’m in the midst of a f**king huge sandstorm (no relevance to the post), and I wish you all

Good luck and smooth sailing!

Ozymandias and the cheesy light show

Hello again! Today I am reporting from Abu Simbel (the village next to the Great Temple of Ramses II). I’m in a really laid-back place and all, and it has (obviously) got internet. So, we’ve gone to the Great Temple of R-2 (Ramses II) to see the sound and light show. Today we’ll be going back to see it in the daytime. As for the light show, it was… pretty cheesy, actually. Yup, I’m about to launch into a description. *Dramatic music*

It starts with slightly choppy thunder sounds accompanied by a couple of light projector-based thingies. Amazing. Then it starts to get interesting. The narrator turns out to be the ‘spirit of the desert’. Still not that bad. Oh yes, it’s ever-so-slightly biased towards, uh, fair Nubia and to UNESCO, the ‘miracle of human brotherhood’. Hmm. Still, it’s sort of worth sitting through the endless supply of soppy and cheesy lines (courtesy of queen/high consort Nefertari) to see the spectacular laser FX which come at the end.

Oh, and at the end you get to have a glimpse of the exterior of the temples. You see, thanks to the 1960s High Dam project, a large portion of the temples were under threat of being submerged by what is now Lake Nasser (courtesy of Egypt’s former dictator Nasser), so UNESCO popped in and relocated the temples. Of course, some of them went to countries who participated (human brotherhood don’t come cheap) and you can find one in NYC’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Anyways, UNESCO cut the Great Temple of R-2 (the one with the 4 massive seated statues) and the Temple of Hathor (shamelessly devoted to R-2 and Nefertari) into blocks and reconstructed them against concrete mountains. Oh, and there’s another relic there too: Authentic 19th century vandalism. That means adventurers carving their names there.

Fare thee well.