Ancient Egypt was the monumental civilization par excellence. They are bloody well everywhere. One can be walking down a village street or out in the field and you will be walking over a buried tomb, temple, or monument without realizing it. There are whole villages built over such things and one family - the Rasuls in Luxor - have a 200-year old, lucrative family business of locating and looting such tombs and selling the artifacts on the black market (so to speak). Which is to say, teams could excavate in Egypt every week for 500 years without uncovering all of the monumental remains of that civilization. The place simply mesmerizing. So is the Nile itself. In Luxor, my room in the Sonesta Hotel overlooked the Nile and at different times of the day I would just stare at it. Finally I said to myself, "Those ancient people loved this river, to the point of worship". And I have come to love it in nearly the same way. Herodotus said nearly 2500 years ago that Egypt was the "gift of the river". And no truer or more succinct epigram has ever been vouchsafed about the Nile or Egypt. The place is still the "gift of the river", in spite of the Aswan High Dam controlling the annual flood. Without the Nile there is no Egypt, then or now.
Hot as hell though. We routinely drank 2-3 gallons of water daily in temps routinely above 100 degrees and, back at the hotel, another half gallon. Drinking water all the time. Not much sweat however, in that dryness it evaporates almost as soon as it appears on the skin. We spent two days at the South Assasif archaeological dig of the 25th Dynasty High Priest, Karakhamun (c. 715 BC) and it was the highlight of the trip for all. One absolutely has to admire the commitment, dedication, and tenacity of two people, both of whom have been essential to the excavation of Karakhamun's Temple-Tomb: Elena Pischikova and, of course, Anthony Karakhamun Browder. Those two are the twin pillars of this enterprise and let me tell you, they, with the team assembled there (including the volunteers) are making and re-making history. Ancient Egyptian history-writing will have to be re-visited and revised because the Temple Tomb is showing that the 25th Dynasty - the Cushitic Dynasty - was a brilliant, if brief, epoch of cultural achievement and innovation, veritably a mini-renaissance in Egypt. So many of the attainments attributed to the 26th Dynasty are actually those of the 25th. The pharaohs of the 25th were seen at the time as the restorers of Egypt's ancient glory but the 26th appropriated the credit.
Five members of the Djed Rising Collective have now been present at the ongoing unlayering process of Karakhamun I's Temple-Tomb. I really have to strongly encourage ALL the Djeds to make that pilgrimage. Consolidated Tours accepts payment plans lasting a year; Karakh Browder will go again in 2015 and I will return in 2016. Karakhamun is NOT dead; his spirit is orchestrating this entire project and reaching out from 27 centuries ago to touch everyone who visits his Temple-Tomb in the present era. What the Asa Project needs: (1) money and (2) volunteers. Fund-raising is unceasing and Karakh pursues it relentlessly. Elena Pischikova is the first to say that without Karakh Browder, there is no excavation of Karakhamun I's Temple-Tomb or the companion Temple-Tomb of Kerabasken. Enough talking about it: if one wants to experience directly and personally the transcendant power of ancient Cush-Kemit, one can travel with Karakh Browder to South Assasif in the next two years.
The quasi-hysteria of the media about Egypt is, shall we say, overblown. Syria and Iraq are another matter and I suppose one could say that Egypt gets lumped in with the violent crises in those two countries and Libya. But the Egyptians, with the national army, have clamped down on jihadism. Doesn't mean it has been uprooted and eradicated but, as of now, jihadism is not tearing the country apart. To me Mubarak's biggest miscalculation was not the dictatorship as such, but his attempt to make it hereditary by naming his son as his successor as was done in North Korea. That precipitated the first uprising, opening the way for the Muslim Brotherhood who in turn of made the mistake of assuming that their somewhat dubious electoral success was a mandate. It wasn't, as Morsi found out the hard way.
Anyway, back home and life goes on...