Up Close with a Ghost

Way back when, the ex-Mr. TWLG and I realised a long-held dream by engineering a stop-off in Egypt on our way out to live in Australia.  I say way back when because it was in the days when you could walk beside the sphinx, ride a donkey through the sugar cane fields past the rearing Colossi of Memnon on your way up to the Valley of the Kings – come up close to things of such antiquity it makes my spine tingle.  Among the myriad fascinations was the ghost-like image of the expunged Pharaoh Hatshepsut at the temple at Karnak.   To me, there’s something about the malice of this methodical cover-up that makes the absent Queen more visually potent three and a half millennia later than it would otherwise have been!

Pop over to see other Close Ups in response to Ailsa’s Travel Theme this week.

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23 thoughts on “Up Close with a Ghost

  1. Typical for a man to be jealous enough of the Queen to have expunged her. Not done a great job though since it just piques a person’s interest.
    I see she instituted a peaceful reign and good trade agreements. I wish our politicians would do the same. More women in charge might mean less wars for our children.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

  2. a conundrum, up close, after so many years …. such unbelievable shots, like a page torn from NG … human nature does not change does it … now you have programmed my dreams for the night M!!

  3. Fabulous photos, M. They take my breath away; the richness of this history up close and personal…thanks for sharing this trip with us. I will never get there, and I’m sure it’s changed by now (being able to get so close); and somehow, seeing a friend’s photos, makes it feel even more real than looking at photos like this in a magazine.

  4. She really was a great queen…how sad that so much of her has been eradicated. Loved the sepia tones…really suited these images Meredith.

  5. You were very lucky to get that up close and have a chance to see things so many no longer can. It was like that in Angkor Wat, Cambodia. I wonder how long that will last before the throngs of tourists start to take its toll and they cover things up and barricade views behind velvet ropes and fences.

  6. Traveling experience has definitely changed over the years, Meredith – can’t walk among the stones of Stonehenge or get up close and personal with Michelangelo’s Pieta any more either. I can understand the spine tingling, being so personal with the ancients of Egypt. Lucky you.

  7. These are spectacular. Having the images in black and white (or are they almost a sepia?) makes them all the more hauntingly beautiful. Fantastic – thank you!

  8. I agree. I think their attempt at erasing her only insured that she would live on. Seeing her “canceled” images was really something to witness. Thanks, Meredith, for the reminder.
    Visiting in October, 98, the year following the terrorist attack on German tourists at that very temple, my visit was the polar opposite of yours. There were armed guards everywhere, including an escort through the desert during which they sped us through an area, guns drawn. We saw Aida performed at the base of the pyramids and the entire perimeter was ringed with heavily armed troopers, standing about 10 feet apart. It was all so surreal. Here we watched as close to 500 singers, actors, and musicians performed against a backdrop of the dimly lit pyramids, and surrounding us were storm troopers. Even, with all of that, my trip to Egypt was fulfillment of a life-long dream and I wouldn’t trade one moment of it.

    • What an amazing experience, John. Really, quite as dramatic as the opera, what with the romantic ancient setting and the stark reality of living with terrorism.

      I’m so glad you told me about it – I’d often wondered how they reacted after the killings. Sounds a bit like being in Spain during Franco’s reign. Now things will have changed again – poor people, to live with such volatility and uncertainty.

      • The sites are wonderful, no matter the backdrop, Meredith, but it was so unsettling at times. Besides Aida, imagine walking through the Valley of the Kings and looking up to see armed troops all along the valley’s ridge. That “race” across the dessert was truly frightening. So glad that whatever threat that existed was gone for the return trip.

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