Tomb Raiders


This photo was borrowed at random from fashioninn4us.blogspot.

I’m about to spill some nefarious doings, so will offer no details that might finger a perp.  When the Egyptian government needs money, they sell exclusive viewings of exquisite tombs.  I was one of only three people in our tour group willing to shell out for this privilege.  The pricey entry fee buys just 10-minutes inside, but strings were pulled to allow us more time.  When another group arrived for a viewing, they were encouraged to visit nearby tombs until the tomb was not “full.”

Every inch of every wall and ceiling was decorated, all of it inset into the wall and still brilliantly colored after thousands of years.  Being untutored, I have to admit the messages got a bit monotonous.  Every tomb and temple shows similar scenes of a pharaoh or tomb owner making offerings to different gods in hopes of either becoming a god or entering the afterlife.  (Actually, our tour guide did point out several unexpurgated items of interest on temple walls, but if anything like that had been found in the super tomb, our guard guide didn’t speak English well enough to explain it.)  He used my shoulders to move me into position to see how perfectly aligned the pillars were, and then got a bit over-enthused about moving me to no particular purpose.  He quit about the time I started thinking I needed to set a limit.

Photo by Coral Bradshaw

Cameras were forbidden unless the photographer purchased a $175 permit. One of our group asked to take her cell phone in case she “needed a flashlight.”  Being naïve, I decided I’d take my flashlight too.  When we’d seen all the rooms, she got out her phone and innocently asked the guard/guide if she could “take a picture.”  He let her shoot the whole tomb while we blocked others from seeing what she was doing.  She then tipped him a few dollars, and we returned to the bus flushed with triumph.

Meanwhile Mom had been sleeping in the bus, which was sensible given the number of 4 AM wakeup calls the tour required.  She woke and went out to the souvenir stands to see if I was there.  The vendors pounced, and one of our group rescued her from a shop where she was surrounded.  Then the locals asked if Mom needed the toilet.  She thought she might as well.  Where was it?  Next thing she knew she was riding behind a man on a motorcycle.
On their return trip to the bus, more of our group members stopped her driver for a photo shoot.

Does this mother/daughter team know how to have an adventure or what?


About breathtakebyways

Ann Williams’ travel articles have appeared in publications all over the country including The Washington Post, Roads to Adventure, and Jack and Jill. Between researching and writing books, she specializes in creative lectures.