Thursday, March 30, 2006

Eclipsed!

Yesterday was a very unusual day for us here at CH. Luxor was treated to a 65%-of-total solar eclipse and we acted just like little kids during our lunch hour. We had smoked glass and double negatives for direct viewing, as well as binoculars for reflecting the eclipse onto paper. We also had great fun with the shadows cast by the eclipse.


And just to show you how lush our garden is right now, check out this bougainvillea:

Sunday, March 26, 2006

High Noon at the Tomb...

Just a quick note to report that I have now been in KV 63! We had a house trip today and got to see the new discoveries at Amenhotep III's mortuary temple (west of the Colossi of Memnon) with the enthusiastic guidance of Mudhira Hourig Sourouzian. And then on to the Valley of the Kings and our encounter with the most recently discovered tomb in the valley. Photography was not allowed at either site, but I will do my best to paint word pictures for you in the next few days. I DO have some photos of the finches coming to drink from a bowl set on the wall surrounding the dig and some other shots from the valley.

I know this is a little snobbish, but it was great fun being on the inside looking out at all the poor tourists who will never have the opportunity to see these objects in situ ;-> But let me tell you--they need some fashion police around here!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

In Love with Slovenia...




Are YOU in love with Slovenia yet? From Ljubljana in the center (top) to Planica near the Italian and Austrian borders in the north (center) and on to Piran on the Adriatic in the south (bottom) it's an absolutely lovely country...
Rather than distract from things Luxorian by posting more pictures on this blog, I will be uploading more of my Slovenian shots to my space at www.flickr.com where I am known as Gibna Kebira! I'll provide a link once I've completed that process.
Na zdrovje!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Slovenia Calling!

I certainly didn't expect to be going to Slovenia anytime soon when the season started, but I have been invited to the opening of a photographic exhibit in Ljubljana, after which I will be shown the country by my hosts, Dina and MatjaĆŸ. I will not be posting until after I return on March 20. Check out the announcement of the exhibit by clicking on the title of this post...

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Carpet-Bagging It

Just about three weeks ago I became the proud owner of two marvelous kilim rugs. When Sue O. and I set out for Badr's shop in Luxor's suq I only intended to purchase one kilim--for my room here at CH (see photo at left). Well, "the best laid plans", as they say! Shopping here (in Luxor and in Egypt in general) is an art and as such requires time and attention to the niceties of the process.
One chats, in this case about the Africa Cup results and bird flu, as well as Badr's family (Sue has known them for at least two decades), while sipping hot karkaday. We are then asked to give our opinion about some rugs he may or may not buy from a customer. This gets us into the rug room and very circumspectly brings us to the object of tonight's visit--purchasing a rug for me. Based on my comments about the customer's rugs, the brothers start to bring a variety of rugs out. I say yes to this one and no to that one and maybe to some others. Each successive rug which is brought out comes closer to the image I have in my mind's eye. Only after they have built up a more precise image of my preferences do we get to the subject of size. I have limited space in the bedroom. But once that is settled, the perfect kilim appears!
Of course, I should buy another one, too! Or at least so the brothers think...They can make me a much better deal on two (or even three?) than they can on one...Actually, a much larger one had caught my eye earlier in the process...Perhaps I should buy one for my living room in Woodland? Or for my eventual house in France? Oh, why not, it's only money--and coming out of my Egyptian pound bank account to boot! But I did resist the siren calls of several other kilims and kept my purchase to two.
So, who is to begin the bargaining process? Sue had clued me in before our arrival that I should insist that Badr go first. Then, I could either agree that his price was a fair one and end the bargaining right there, or I could make another offer somewhat lower than what I was actually willing to pay. So when he asked me what I thought a good price was I immediately suggested that he go first. When he did, I was so pleased and surprised with the reasonable amount that, although I pondered a while just to "play the game", I accepted his terms (after all, it included a great multi-use striped canvas duffle bag to transport them in!). I paid him half of what I owed him right then, but he was more than happy to wait for the rest of his money, and I could take the rugs with me--imagine most American merchants doing that!
All in all, it was a marvelous cultural and social experience. Oh, and yes, the brothers noted my silver-and-lapis jewelry, approved my taste, and suggested I return to look at their stock of the same. Hmm! What a difficult decision to have to make...
(Be sure to click on the title of this post for more info about kilims.)

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Bird "Flew"?

A wonderful image (NOT!) to tide you over until I have time to catch up with my posting. A not-very-appetizing-but-definitely-hilarious anecdote. I was sitting in the courtyard today eating my usual dessert--a fruit melange topped with plain yoghurt. I had turned my head to make a comment to my lunch companion. All of a sudden there was a splash, well, more like a plop...and yes, you guessed it...when I looked back at my delectable bowl, it wasn't so delectable anymore! I had been the victim of a stealth bird poop attack!! I'm just grateful that they aimed for the bowl and not my head. All part of a day in the life of a CH librarian...