June 2009

6.25.09

I am back from Paris- hopefully you didn't miss me too much as I was fortunately able to update every single day while I was away. GO ME! While I did some Egyptological things on my trip the main purpose of this trip was for Edouard and me to go visit his family and also to do touristy things. We ended up seeing a lot and because Edouard's driver's license expired I got to experience the joy of driving a Citroen on the French highways to Chartres and Mont Saint-Michel. Driving in the city of Paris was not so joyful- people need to learn to stay in their lanes.

Surprisingly, I got a bit sick in France- you'd think that would've happened to me in Egypt but it seems that my slightly lactose intolerant stomach can't handle the extreme cheeses that France produces.

Anyway, I'm back in New York and am getting resttled. I'm a little nervous right now because next week, on July 1st, I have another check up for my cervical pre-cancer issues. I'm hoping that it didn't progress since the last time I was there or that the abnormal cells seem to be going away. Please send some positive thinking out to NYC for me.

I'll be posting pictures from my trip to Paris as soon as I'm more sorted.

Jen
6.5.09

As promised, I'm dedicating this blog to tell you about my trip to Egypt. As you know, I've been wanting to go to Egypt for a while but outside circumstances have prevented me from going until this year. The stipend I received for teaching at New York University funded this trip so I would like to thank the university as well as the professor who hired me.

I'm including some pictures with this blog though I do not include images of other people on my trip in order to protect their privacy. Most of them are of me standing in front of stuff. I thought I would spare you the geeky Egyptological images with the exception of one picture of Deir el-Medineh, which was a particular highlight for me.

First of all, I would like to thank everyone that was on my tour group- (usually there is at least one person that really gets on my nerves) we all became pretty close on this trip and it made it all the more pleasant. Our tour guide, Mayer Magdy, was excellent- not only did he make sure everyone was comfortable and having a good time, he knew his Egyptology very well. If anyone is planning a trip to Egypt, I recommend seeing if you can do a tour with Mayer- he is starting up his own touring company and I can promise you that he will make your visit as fun and as educational as you want it to be. He is currently working on a web site, and as soon as it's ready I'll post the link here.

I don't even know where to begin- I've been wanting to go to Egypt since I was probably 8 years old so obviously I had a lot of expectations for it. There were a few people who thought I would hate the modern country (often described as "dirty" and "stressful") and trekking through the desert to see monuments but I honestly adored every second of it (while also looking fabulous, I might add). I suppose fussier people would have a problem with it but for Egyptology I think I would do anything.

Let's start with some pictures:

Yeah, those are the pyramids. I didn't think I would get all emotional seeing them b/c honestly I've never been that interested in the pyramids, but there's something to be said about seeing their tips pop out from the cityscape as you're driving toward Giza. Like every other Egyptologist I know, I cried a little. These were also the first ancient monuments I saw.

Another nice thing that Mayer did was let you know when you could take cool pictures like the one above!

Me in front of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo- it reminded me of the warehouse at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Needless to say, I have to go back.

Just a single snapshot to show you how beautiful Egypt is.

Abu Simbel- I was looking the most forward to seeing this great monument for Rameses II. I had a lot of expectations for this and I was not disappointed. I cried here a little too. How embarrassing! I'm such a nerd.

Like a good Egyptologist, I did some work while I was away too.

Me at Luxor Temple- I got to lead the tour that day.

In front of Hatshepsut's temple at Deir el-Bahri. Girl power!

Deir el-Medineh.

Deir el-Medineh deserves its own blog entry and I might just do that later. Deir el-Medineh is where all the Valley of the Kings worksmen and artisans lived- it's a unique town and we know a lot about it b/c of letters and ostraca left behind. Seeing this site was definitely a highlight for me. It wasn't on our trip's itinerary but I had discussions with Mayer about how it was central to my dissertation. Because it happened to be my birthday he let me go see it. It was so cool! The tombs there, btw, are beautiful- as you would expect from people who decorated the tombs and palaces of the kings... but wow.

My birthday in Egypt also deserves its own blog entry since it was basically it was the best birthday ever.

EVER.

Thanks to everyone that made my 27th birthday a memorable one- it was very special to me.

Finally, I'm going to leave you with some tips:

1)Drink lots of water.

2)Cover your head.

3)Despite the heat, it is actually better if you cover your body (like wearing pants and sleeved shirts)- the sun is a lot harder in Egypt, particularly in the south. (you should still wear sunscreen)

4)Make sure you have small money for the toilet (1 pound notes or coins). It would also be advisable to bring hand sanitizer and your own tissues. Basically, it can be as bad as the worst dive bar in NYC.

5) Don't be afraid to offer ridiculously low prices in the marketplace. I made out like a bandit.

6) If you're a student bring your ISIC card as well as your local student ID- you will get 50% off on all admission tickets.

7) If you can, pack as lightly as possible. I brought one regular sized backpack and an another empty bag for my trip home (always assume you're going to buy stuff). Trust me, you don't need to bring a huge make up bag or tons of shoes (and you're hearing this from a Manhattanite).

I could go on and on about how much I loved Egypt- everyone was really nice and there's something to be said about immersing yourself in a culture that is thousands of years old. I suppose it also helps that I didn't get sick- the key is to be careful with the sun and to not drink the tap water. I think it also helps that I live in a city where rats pee on your soda cans and the street vendors pay little attention to health codes. Iron stomach.

Ok, I have to make a part 2 for this entry.

For now though I'm getting ready to go to Paris today. I should have internet connection while I'm there though so it'll be like I haven't even left.

Jen
6.1.09

I'm back from Egypt! I'll write more about my trip tomorrow or the day after but first I want to say a couple of things now to get your attention:

The last guest strip (the pin up) that was featured on 5/25 was also done by Tom Martinez. Please check out his lovely work.

Secondly, I met a really nice dude in Egypt named Tom who is beta testing his new dating site. Right now there are a lot of Canadian users but I know he wants to branch out into other countries, the U.S. in particular. It's a fun little site- kind of like a mix between OkCupid.com and Hotornot.com and speed dating. Even if you're already in a relationship, he urges you to sign up and check it out- he needs more beta testers! Also tell your single friends. It's called SeeWhosNext.com!

CHECK IT OUT.

Jen