Friday, 10 May 2013


Dear Darra, 

I did it!!! 

Today I crossed of one of my bucket list items. Abu filled my heart with so many stories of this special place that I could not leave you behind. I brought a photo off you with me and by doing so I crossed of the last item on your bucket list. Daddy its beautiful the Nasser lake which surrounds the two temples has blue blue water and looks amazingly cool. The heat is not something I can really describe. We arrived just after 7 and it was already boiling hot. It’s a very dry heat and one that settles in your bones almost cooking you from the inside. But when you start walking and feel the stones and sand beneath your feet you feel the heat dissipate and it is replaced by sheer awe.

You don't know you've reached Ramses II's temple till you round the corner and to your left you see the four statues on either side of the entrance. Its just like you described....three near perfect seated statues and one without a head. They look like they are staring out across the lake into eternity. The baboon carvings are above the statues and there are all kinds of kartousch's depicting the birth and coronation names of Ramses. There are stone seats in front of the temple and if you can stand the harsh sun and take a moment to sit and just breath then you feel the magnitude of this Pharaoh. You realise that his story seeps into your bloodstream, you become engrossed in the love he had for his wife Nefertari and you are in awe of the power he displayed to his enemies by building this temple here. When you go inside you feel the coolness of the sandstone first then as your eyes adjust to the dim lighting to look at the walls and see the amazing "carvings" telling the story of some this great Pharaoh's life including a depiction of the battle of Kadesh you told me about .

In the centre there is a room which has statues of Ra-Horakhty, Anun and Ptah and just like you told me Ramses had himself sculpted seated next to the gods. On 22 October and 22 February each year the sun still shines through to the vestibule into the sanctuary with the statues and in spite of the temple being moved to preserve it, the suns rays still light up the statues of Ra-Horakhty, Anun and Ramses and illuminates them well all except Ptah who was not meant to be illuminated. Its all just like you always told me. 

Was it wrong if me to want to stick out my tongue at him and say weh weh weh Moses and God outsmarted you weh weh weh!! Some of the wall carvings show him with his beloved queen and I guess I wonder how she became his favorite when he had about 199 others. Did you know he married two of his own daughters.....guess you left that part out if you did. On some of the walls you can see the colours in places and it gives you an idea of what it must have been like when just complete...deep reds, dark blues, greens and golds. Of course some fool named "Andy" carved his name into the Meg says he should be shot, drawn and quartered at dawn. I'm glad I got to share this place with her....if not you then her because she loves it as much as we do. Meg tries to read all the hieroglyphics on the walls and is getting quite good at it. Next is the temple Ramses built for the God Harhor. Outside the entrance there are 6 standing statues of Ramses and his wife Nefertari. Now it may be smaller and may not have as much symbolism but dad the detail of the carvings is incredible. The colours are still very vivid in some places and you can even make out the eyeliner they used. Here the story is about the offerings to the god for protection over mothers and children. Some of the statues have human faces but cow ears....I can't made me giggle. It does look funny.

I had to buy postcards cause we are not allowed to take photos inside the temples but that's to show others. You were with me as I took each step listened to each explanation and saw each carving and admired each statue. I felt your arm around me as I felt the tears sting my eyes as I recognised the stories from my childhood and beyond. 

Thank you for making me love this place for teaching me to respect the history of this land for instilling in me an adoration for its stories. I left a little bit of both of us in this place...your photo and my tears. 

I miss you daddy.

My darra and I in Abu Sinbel

I was not going to share this which is why it is at the bottom of the post but well....I share everything!!

While I was sitting here with the photo of my dad I felt a warmth around my shoulders and a first it was a little uncomfortable but then I realised that I could smell my dad and that's when I dad had walked each step with me, he had seen the beauty, he had heard the history and he had visited Abu Simbel not in the way we planned through skype but he had been there!!!

I know it sounds like I am losing the plot but that is truly how it felt to dad and I crossed Abu Simbel off our bucket lists together!!!

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