Monday, July 26, 2010

The Zoo in Cairo: A Photo Essay

For extra fun today, Gilgamesh and I headed towards Cairo University to take in the Giza Zoo. We knew to ignore the negative comments on Trip Advisor that said things like “Worst zoo ever,” "Don't take young kids," and “Shut it down-it is a disgrace.” Therese and I had been here a couple of times before and we know that for a fun day of watching kids throw rocks at monkeys and gorillas smoking cigarettes there isn’t a better place in the world.


It cost $3 for me to enter, Gil was free, and we headed first to the fascinating cat display. There were a lot of rules, and in five minutes Gil noticed that we’d seen every one of them violated. Kicking soccer balls against the cages was the most common rule infringement.


After stopping at what Gil called the second worst toilet he’d ever seen, we found the cats. The sign was labeled "Persian’s cat" but I think they were Tabbies. They were very ferocious.


Then it was off to the dog area. The sign said that these were Maltese dogs, and though they weren't Maltese, I do think the Cairo zooologists were accurate about the "dogs" part. We watched one of them chew on a bird carcass. He was so cute.


Speaking of playful chewing, this camel chewed on its infected second hump for about five minutes, and then we decided to head off to the monkey area.


Someone threw a bag of chips in the baboon cage and all hell broke loose. I swear their buttocks became a brighter shade of red, probably because the chips were spicy.


Gilgamesh had never seen the elusive shit-horned rhinoceros so we lucked out with this one.


There were supposed to be crocodiles and ducks in this lagoon but all we saw were pepsi cans, water bottles, plastic bags, and animal feces.


We didn’t get to see the chain smoking gorilla. He must have died from lung cancer. For a few extra dollars in baksheesh we could have had Gil’s picture taken holding this chimpanzee, but I declined, as the chimp looked suicidal.


The Giza Zoo seems to be the Angola of animal jails. What these critters need is an old time Christian rodeo.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


The internets was down the last time I had a day off from excavating in Jordan, so I'll do a weeks 3-4 post about Barqa later when it all comes into better focus as the sands of the Jordanian desert fall away, but for now, Gilgamesh and I are in freaky deaky Egypt! We're hanging out with my student Shavonda and her mom Eula. We got to know them very well during the dig, so they're sort of like family now. Today we went to the pyramids. It was great to hear Gilgamesh get so excited when he first saw the giant ones in Giza. But first we went to Saqqara to see the step pyramid. The highlight of the day for me was getting to take a few pictures inside the Tomb of Ti, as the pictures there show how the ancient Egyptians made beer. Here is me, Ti, and much beer:
Then we went to Saqqara to see Imhotep's Step Pyramid, and here is a pic of Gilgamesh and yours truly:
Finally it was off to Giza for the big three pancakes (note "pyramid" is Greek for pancake). Tomorrow we're off to the Egyptian Museum, but for now, here are a few panorama shots I took with my fancy new camera:

The Red Pyramid and the Bent Pyramid:
Ubiquitous camel and the Giza pyramids:
Sphinx and the Giza pyramids:

Monday, July 05, 2010

Barqa Week Two

The second week of excavations in the Barqa region are in the bag. My area is working on a large Iron Age II house and last week we started uncovering large amounts of ceramic vessels, some intact, and a few metallurgical pieces along with walls, floors, and a large layer of ash from the destruction. Shavonda, my student at Xavier, found many of the ceramic vessels one day last week. Currently we're unwinding at Petra and trying to get the dig dust off us and our electronics. Gilgamesh and I just got back from a fairly lengthy walk to the monastery. He's sleeping now, but in the meantime, here are three pictures of the mighty Gilgamesh.

Gilgamesh with some pottery that we excavated on an Iron II surface.

Gilgamesh with a kafilla and something hairy in his nose.

Gilgamesh at the Treasury building in Petra.