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Up Up and Away……..

To survey the land. We boarded a small boat to cross the River Nile because it was much closer to our destination than driving to a bridge. It was 4:00 am.

This is quite normal stuff for these people to get up early. Their first mandatory prayer of the day is at sunrise and it is also much cooler in the early morning hours. We were offered coffee or tea to enjoy during our river crossing ride.

On the other side a short van ride ended at the site of the balloon ascension where we were taught the proper body position for landing by Mohamed who would be our pilot.

There were eight balloons being inflated with HUGE fans in preparation for the gas flame! The baskets are HUGE! 16 people piled into our’s! The bursts of flame that would lift us up we’re hot – hot – hot!

One at a time they began to ascend. One – two – three – four – five – and finally it was our turn!

The entire region is full of Temples and Tombs! From the air it looks like an architectural model.

We ascended to 800 meters before returning to earth. We had seen the largest statues on earth (according to our guide) from the air so visited all that is left of this temple the Amenhotep III Conservation Project.

Along the base of the mountain there is a region of Alabaster workshops. We stopped to learn more and do a little shopping.

We were treated to a short demonstration of a technique that is as old as the temples.

The store was full of carved stone of many types. Lapis, Basalt, Alabaster to name a few.

Estelle was entertained by the penis statue. There was always a tunnel of shopping on the way in and out of the monumental sites that we visited. There is an art to making a purchase of good value – more about that later.

We finally reached the Valley of the Kings. The second highlight of the day.

Rob wanted his picture taken looking up and looking down!

When you Travel Like an Architect, you take it all in… I thought you might enjoy these pottys!

The installation was in a permanently parked semi truck trailer and was not “accessible” at all.

As always in a poor country the attendant expected a tip.

We wandered off alone after returning to the ship where we found a very clean “Souk” (market) and picked up a couple things in this cute spice store. These little taxis crack me up! Today we saw one made by Mercedes.

It was 110 degrees and I had forgotten my hat, so I had a white scarf draped over my head. This Arab man sweetly asked if he could help me put it on properly. I allowed.

The River Nile Merchants tied on for some hard bargaining as we sailed away.

I’ll try to keep these coming – internet should be pretty available for the remainder of our trip.

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