Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Luxor. Lunch and a papyrus factory.

It's still Day 7. We're still in Luxor and it's lunchtime!!

From Habu Temple, we head to Ahmed's house for lunch for a home made meal. What a feast it was! There was so much yummy food, I didn't know where to start eating and I could barely finish everything that was out in front of me. Of all the dishes served, the lentil soup was divine - could've easily had another bowl with warm ayish to dip into it. Daniel and I devoured the dessert - simple triangles of fried phyllo drizzled with honey.

The ravenous guests. Ahmed's sitting with his back to Lei who snapped this photo. On Ahmed's left is Daniel, Alex is in the bright green hoodie, Laura's to her left, then it's Bridget, Daniel, Sandy, Dora in the red, Zdena and me.


Daniel helped to clear the table. In the meantime, the rest of us gathered around another dining table and sipped cups of tea. Ahmed asked each of us to write down our names on a sheet of paper and he translated them into hieroglyphic characters.

Ahmed then brought up some jewellry samples (cartouches, rings, bracelets) that we could have our name inscribed on in hieroglyphics...for a price, of course. I bought a simple bracelet and in addition to the five letters that make up my name, I also the Eye of Horus which is the ancient Egyptian symbol of protection and power.



The finished jewellry pieces would be delivered to us later in the evening.

We said thanked our hostesses and said good bye. With Ahmed in tow, we piled back into Saeed's truck. Our next stop....a papyrus factory.

Our tour of the papyrus factory began with a look at live papyrus in the small garden outside the factor.



On the way, we came across some children playing in the yard. As usual, they melted our hearts and made us smile with their squeals of laughter as they ran around.

Kirsten kneeling down to say hello.

Once we made it inside the factory, the demo began.. The process of turning papyrus into paper starts with stripping thin, vertical strips of stem. The stems are then pounded until they are almost translucent.

The strips are then soaked in water to soften. The pieces of stripped stem have a "gluey"substance to them.


The "gluey"soaked strips are laid out in a criss cross pattern between two sheets of cardboard.....

.... and then placed in the press....



.....and voila!! We have papyrus paper!


Following the demo, we had a chance to check out the papyrus paintings for sale. I caught sight of one depicting the Egyptian horoscope and fell in love with it. It's similar to the image below.


Lots of dollars later, I walked out of the factory....the proud owner of a papyrus painting.

We clamored back into Saeed's truck and headed back to the boat dock. We said our thank you's and goodbye's to Saeed and Ahmed and boarded the ferry for the short ride across the river.



From the ferry, we caught sight of the Luxor Temple which we did not get to visit. Next time :-)

Luxor temple in the background.


When we got to the other side, Lei and I headed for a restaurant by the water. We ordered drinks. While I sat and watched the world go by, Lei waited patiently, with her camera in hand, for the sun to set. She captured these pictures of sunset, over the Nile, in Luxor.





It was a tranquil and serene end to another memorable day in Egypt. We headed back to the hotel and packed our packs for the overnight train ride back to Cairo.