FIND ME IN EGYPT – 4.
A massive site this. We have worn our guide into the ground, adding and adding and adding to the monuments visited, and after guardians have whistled us off site and we are back in the bus, we sit there chanting “More tombs, more tombs, more tombs…” Even enthusiasts like us, however (and lets face it, you can sit in a café or hotel anywhere, but see these sites nowhere else) see only a sample of the northern part of the site.
It is no clue at all to tell you that this is a cemetery, home of the jackal, entrance to the underworld…. We started our day here with a ‘Special’. Nicely appointed place, the very finest in sculpture. This was a posh address, with the most elevated neighbours. A sort of Stella Street for the deceased elite. He was a general. Big guy in the military…and there are signs here that he got bigger still. We are lucky and the inspector allows us to visit one of the neighbours here. A famous discovery this was, My God, yes!
Tramping happily back towards the main site we came across a tomb. Well, whilst we’re here… Fascinating this one. Much, much older than where we’ve been, this monument attracts a great deal of debate over the orientation of its inhabitants, if you get my drift. I think they had a salon in the palace, you know. Beautiful tomb, of course. Tastefully dressed.
Now as it turns out, you get another tomb on the same ticket. Our guide is now wearing a resigned look. Lunch seems further than ever away. But Hey! Given the name of this tomb, perhaps he can get something here. “You’re not vegetarian, are you?” we tease. A good tomb this, and now we concede a spot of lunch might be agreeable.
But our guide’s rest is short-lived. “What, you want to go back?” he says with ill disguised horror. “Those tickets are good for a few more tombs yet,” we tell him. What the poor man does not realise is that the morning was a sort of warm up, and we are only now hitting our stride. One beautifully decorated tomb chapel follows another – our guide now in that resigned, energy-conserving mode, devoid of spark or enthusiasm. He is happy, in a low key kind of way, to inform us (sadly, truthfully) that some underground galleries are off limits. Drat. I’ve seen them once, and they are massive, magnificent, (and mooody?) “Oh, those sarcophagi! The walls are this thick,” I rave to the others. “Maybe you’ll be able to get a drink in this next mastaba”, we bait the guide. And so we go on, until there is just time for a quick tour of the main bit, the big site everyone comes to see. Even here we go further than most, right round the back of the terraced thingy. Before we are driven off by the whistling men, that is…
To avoid any confusion, I should add that this was written about 2008.
a) What is the name of the whole site?
b) Who was the General?
c) Who were the ‘salon owners’?
d) What is the name of the underground galleries?