Feb 13th 2013  

 Training, Travel diaries

New Moon Heralds Year of Snake

11.2.13

Contemplative day.

The red flags are up on a very windy day, so no snorkelling. The kite surfers are joyful – their turn for a perfect day.

As the Year of the Snake gets underway it is time to ask the self about its significance, sometimes predator, sometimes prey. Art of War and Year of Snake – good opportunity to contemplate strategy and tactics surrounded by blue sky, bright sunlight and a cavorting turquoise sea. Some of the instructors are sparring on a wall, holding ground, giving way, surprise attacks, imaginative defences.

 12.2.13

The Ungrateful Tourist.

Today we actually made it to Luxor.

Danil Mikhailov Training

Danil Mikhailov Training

I have to admit that I don’t really like going into Tombs. I have an uncomfortable feeling that I shouldn’t really be there – great care was taken to lay a person in their intended final resting place, surrounded by the things that were to make them comfortable and take them on a spiritual journey. And here I am walking around it whilst the rightful owner has been evicted. It’s like going to a stranger’s house and just because the front door isn’t locked I walk in and have a good look around. The real owner’s remains are on public display somewhere else – not exactly looking their best. But the real problem is not the dead, it’s the living. The dry, solemn atmosphere is full of breathing, sweating people in various states of awe or irritation, discussing either the amazing workmanship of the artists or the driving skills of the bus driver on the way here. I wouldn’t mind if they weren’t speaking English. Mind you the name of the tour company on one of the buses was Al Rehab – so perhaps they had their reasons.

Adam Prout Training

Adam Prout Training

I did manage to tune into the cultural significance of the Valley of the Kings sufficiently to appreciate the human endeavour that created this place. I wonder whether the craftsmen and artists who created these tombs would be honoured or disgusted by our interest in their work. Our jolly tour guide with her enthusiasm for the Book of the Dead (it’s like a Lonely Planet guide on what to expect on the way to the afterlife) and her forthright views on the different treatment of men and women in the times of the Pharaohs spoke to the cultured part of my brain. Her spirited rendition of the history of the Pharaoh Hatshepsut will stay with me for ever. The enormous significance of this Pharaoh in Egyptian history contrasts with her stepson’s attempts to annihilate both her memory and her legacy.

Things definitely looked up when I got out the camera (they are completely non grata at the Valley). “This is looking too civilised – somebody hit somebody else….action!”. Ahhh that’s better. And so the day wound on. Lunch was forgettable which is the worst type of empty calories I know.

The Temple of Karnak was “insert your favourite superlative”. Some of the great love stories of ancient Egypt were recounted and we walked around the lucky scarab the prescribed 7 times. We were chided for spending too long just wandering about absorbing the atmosphere. Needing an energy outlet we took a boat trip to Banana Island and had a bit of a scrap on the way. Best bananas I’ve ever had.

Got back to find our late arrival at the hotel. Late dinner and so to bed. Will save lobster card for tomorrow’s Chinese session.