Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Village in the Bahariya Oasis

This set of photos is again from our trip to the Bahariya Oasis.  This village is actually a small city of about 25,000 people, but it still felt more like a village.  When we were at the hotel asking about going to town to look at the museum where the Golden Mummies were, I said perhaps we could get a cab.  The man laughed saying there aren't cabs.   We did see a kind of covered pick-up truck with little benches on each side which seemed like the equivalent to a local bus.  We told the man at the hotel that we would just walk to town.  He said, but it's a half hour!  (I guess most tour groups that come through there are not big walkers).  We said that would be fine and off we went.

There were a few things that I found interesting and unique about this town.  One is that many of the houses are in a row flanking the street and are walled in with a doorway in the wall.  It seems to be the style of the community.  I guess one advantage of this style is that children can play inside the walled in part while still being outside the actual house part.  It must also add to a sense of privacy.

Another feature of this town was that stone doorways, in the form of archways, are often found next to the road even if it's just nature behind it or a path leading eventually to a house.  

Here are a couple photos of the downtown area.
Here are some photos of kids.  I asked kids if I could take their photos.  Some were delighted.  Others shook their head emphatically no.  I suspect this an area that was impacted heavily by tourism after the Golden Mummies were found.  Our guide in the White Desert commented once about what he would do if he ever met that donkey who fell into the hole which lead to the Golden Mummies (... he didn't have friendly feelings toward that donkey).  Not unsurprisingly, even the guide whose livelihood depends on tourism has a great deal of ambivalence about having his home town invaded by tourists.
The boy on the left holding the chicken upside down thought it was very funny
that I was telling him to be careful of that chicken.
(The attitude toward animals here is often different than what I am used to.)

There seemed to be a grove of trees reserved for animal grazing.  
The animals would be left there and the owners would come back later to collect them.

We visited a couple tombs located two blocks from the museum where the Golden Mummies are.   Here's the sign and the outside of the tombs.  Inside, you climb down a precarious set of steps and enter a room with murals on the walls of ancient Egyptians and with small low rooms off the sides of a main walkway flanked with murals.  These low rooms were where the bodies were kept.  

One of the tombs was inside this building.
This steep stairway leads down to the second tomb buried under the earth.
Here are a few photos of the hot springs that were located behind our hotel.   The photos showing the concrete channel is what was built to funnel the hotsprings into the hotel to fill up the hotel's hot tub every night.  We tried dipping our hands in the hotsprings and they were indeed hot, so hot that one couldn't actually climb in without getting burned.


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