Aug 10, 2005
Up at 5:30 in the morning. On extremely rare occasions, I decide to get up early to see the sites. Karnak seemed worthwhile enough to make it one of those occasions.
There weren't any minibuses running at that hour. I couldn't find any carriages. I walked for a while, and then eventually found a taxi.
I arrived at Karnak at 6:45am, and I'm about the first one there. The ramparts are unbelievably huge. Then you enter the Hypostyle Hall. It's incredible. 3500 years old. There are 134 pillars, each 80 feet high (24 meters).
As you walk on, the site isn't nearly as impressive. But what can compare with that great hall? Much of the site is piles of ruble. As I wander around the site, I'm amazed that absolutely everything is covered in hieroglyphics, and the original 3500 year old paint is still in place in places.
In the 19th century, tourists came through here and carved their names into the walls. Ah, those were the good old days of being a tourist. What was graffiti at the time, has become history now.
At 7:30am, more tourists start slowly trickling in. At 9:30am, the sun starts coming into the main hall lighting up the colors. It's beautiful, but with the bright beams of light, and dark shadows, it's tough to take any good pictures.
I find a comfortable spot on a rock, in the shade, and settle into people watching. I'm still adjusting from being in Sudan, and the tourists, especially their inappropriate dress for an Islamic country, come as a shock. There are women in daisy-duke shorts, men without shirts, women obviously not wearing bras, and my favorite to watch, women in extra-high heels struggling on the rocks.
I take a break from the people watching for a bit at 10:30am. There is a small room adjacent to the main hall. A beam of light pierces though the ceiling at this time of day, and lights up the floor. It looked just like the map room in Indiana Jones.
Then at 11am, twenty buses of tourist show up. I'm leaving.
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