Hannah and Je together

Friday, 1 August 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Twenty Ninth Day – First day in Cairo

View from the Hotel Room

View from the Hotel Room

This is the view from my room in Le Meridien Hotel.  This is a five-star hotel.  The building and facility are very nice but the management and customer service is so bad.  I would never use this hotel again.

Today, I had some problem because I did not know the time change.  During the Ramadan and the feast after it, Egypt change the time one hour earlier so that they can eat one hour earlier.  Now, the Ramadan and the following feast is over, so Egypt came back to its normal time.  Everything could have been messed up.

Ramses II

Ramses II

In the morning I went to the Mit Rahina Museum which was the temple originally for the god of textile and craftsman.  He is also believed to created the universe because he is craftsgod.  There is a huge statue of Rameses II.  Ramses II is the most powerful Pharaoh and everywhere the archaeologists dig in Egypt, people say that they find the name of Ramses II.

First Stone Building in the world

First Stone Building in the world

This is the first stone building in the world.  And the first means no experience, so they also built some useless or unnecessary supporting wall for the columns.

First Pyramid

First Pyramid

This is the first pyramid in Egypt, and also in the world.

Pharaoh's Court

Pharaoh’s Court

This is the Pharaoh’s court.  The platform in the front is where Pharaoh sits, and the wall on both sides has the governors’ seats.  Pharaoh promoted, punished, or executed the governors in this place.

No Egyptian Cats but dogs

No Egyptian Cats but dogs

Egypt has image of cat more than pyramids to me.  But for three days in Egypt, I have not seen any cat yet but a lot of dogs – Taba, Sharm, Cairo, and Luxor.  It is really hot here in Egypt, and Luxor was 47C or 117F yesterday, that is why all the dogs are looking for shades.  It was probably National geographic, if my memory serves me right, that they examined the cat’s DNA and concluded that the all cats in the world are descendents of originally five female cats in Egypt.  And Genographic project also found by the same technology of comparing and examining DNA that all living human race in the whole world are descendents of one female, namely mitochondria Eve.

Titi Pyramid

Titi Pyramid Entrance

This is the Pyramid of Pharaoh Titi, the longest lived ruler in Egypt history, and the last Pharaoh of the first or ancient kingdom.

Longest Reigned Pharaoh with Humblest Tomb

Longest Reigned Pharaoh with Humblest Tomb

During his reign, the Pharaoh lost its power and got weaker, so his Pyramid is quite small and even inside is very humble.

Servant's Tomb is more Glorious

Servant’s Tomb is more Glorious

But one of his high officials who had the real power, made his tomb so glorious and bigger than the Titi.  The photograph was forbidden inside so I could not take any picture, but it was literally so beautiful and every picture or wall carving was very good in detail.

Traditional Carpet Making

Traditional Carpet Making

I was told that there are five industries that still survived in the traditional method.  Carpet making is one of them.

Papyrus Factory

Papyrus Factory

Then I went to a papyrus factory.  Papyrus was worshipped because of two things.  The first one is its flower is looks like a sun is emitting its power and light.  The second one is that its stem looks like pyramid.  The worker in the factory showed and explained me how to make Papyrus paper (actually the word paper itself came out of papyrus).

Chicken Chicken!

Chicken Chicken!

And I had lunch at a very nice restaurant where the chicken is specialised.  Not like in American or Canada, water is not free in Egypt.  I experienced that in Luxor hotel, Cairo restaurant, and even in a restaurant at Haifa, Israel.  Because of yesterday’s experience, I brought my own water bottle today – saving money!

Climbing a Pyramid

Climbing a Pyramid

Then I went to the great pyramids in Giza.  As I knew already, the pyramids surface is like a steps.  But I was told that they are originally very smooth but during the Islam reign, the rulers took the nice stones on the surface to build mosques.

Picking a Pyramid

Picking a Pyramid

On the top parts of the centre pyramid, you can see the original surface of the pyramids.

Labourers' Village

Labourers’ Village

This is the village and cemetery of the workers.  Traditionally we believed that the pyramids were built by the forced labour of the slaves.  Couple of years ago, I watched NHN documentary about this, and an archaeologist found this worker’s village, and he also found some writing, which is task manager’s journal.  It has the recordings such as the names of the worker, and how many days he worked, And in case he did not work, what was the reason.  Some of the reasons are he got hurt, he is in medication, and his son has wedding party, or he has his father’s funeral.  Which slave can drop t he daily labour and work to attend his son’s wedding?  Pyramids were built by the freemen, and it may work as the national project to boom the economy as America did – mass construction of roads, dams, and other infrastructure.

Sphynx

Sphinx

Who can skip this Sphinx in Egypt?

Horse Station

Horse Station

There are so many horses in Egypt and even they have horse stations in most tourist attractions.

When I came back to Hotel, the cardkey to my room did not work.  I tried, and other hotel staff tried, but it did not work.  So I went down to the reception and asked them.  A guy checked with computer and told me that I already checked out this morning.  What the heck!  I explained him that my reservation is until Sunday morning.  Then other guy checked the computer and told me that 3090 is not my room.  Well, I slept there until this morning, and I did not check out.  And third guy checked the computer and told me that my room is 3045.  I said to him in a little bit loud voice, “how can you change my room without telling me anything at all?”  Then I began to worry about my stuff.  Finally I went up to my original room and thankfully all my stuff was there.  Then I got the new cardkey, and reconfirmed my room.

I was so mad, and I wanted to complain to the manager.  So I went down to the reception with the reception guy who came up to the room with me.  He asked me to wait five minutes.  So I did.  After fifteen minutes, he came to me and the manager is busy, and he would call to my room if I go up and rest.  He also said it would take ten minutes.  Now, five hours passed, but no call.  It was very obvious that all the hotel staffs are trying their best to protect their manager from me.  Le Meridien Hotel in Giza Cairo – do not use this one because customer service is very bad.  Today I also saw an Arabic speaking guy was yelling in the reception, and a middle-aged lady also was very mad.

Pyramids and Moon

Pyramids and Moon

I also went to the night-light show of the pyramids.

I had some chance to talk with Egyptians about current Israel-Gaza situation.  In my assumption, Egyptians would support Gaza, so I usually began my conversation by blaming Israel about the cruelty.  But to my surprise, most of them did not like Hamas at all.  I cannot transcribe all the conversations and dialogues, so I will just summarise them.

  • Hamas is not even a (true) Muslim
  • Hamas should stop making rockets and tunnels and use that money on the Gazans.
  • Hamas is a branch of Muslim Brotherhood and we had bad experience with them in Egypt.
  • Hamas also killed many Palestinians in Gaza.
  • Hamas refused to form one government with the West Bank, this is same as riot or coup.
  • Hamas must dismiss themselves and Gaza must make one government with the West Bank.
  • Using violence is wrong and it is not Islamic.
  • Hamas must follow the example of West Bank which is the resistance without violence.
  • Gazans are dumb that is why they cannot say no to Hamas.  Egyptians did revolution three years ago, and we are walking toward true democracy.
  • Hamas should not fire rockets to Israeli civilians.  To military base is ok.  Killing unarmed people is not Islamic

And I also asked people if they identify themselves also as Africans because Egypt is in Africa.  Such as most Koreans, Japanese, and Chinese identify themselves as Asians at the same time with their identity of being Koreans, Japanese, and Chinese.  And all people whom I asked said “We are Egyptian.  We are not African at all.”

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Eleventh Day – Second Digging

Second day of excavation at Tel Lachish.  We got up at 4:30 in the morning, and left to the site and began work right away while the moon was still in the sky.  It was so hot and thirsty, and exhausting.  I drank a crazy amount of water continually, but I peed only once during the whole day probably because I sweated a lot.

Ancient River

Ancient River

This is the fourth expedition of Tel Lachish led by Professor Yossi Garfinkel at Hebrew University, and found a small gate in the east side.  This is the view from the Tel Lachish to the eastward.  Ancient Lachish had the major road in its ease side, same as today.  And they also had a major water source which is river along the road.  Even though we do not have running water now, we can still see the where the river ran in the Biblical days.

Babylonian Destruction Layer

Babylonian Destruction Layer

I was digging on the north side of the Tel, and it was Persian era, then we found the black floor, which they call Ash Layer.  This black layer means there was huge destructive fire probably of the entire city.  And this is identified as Babylonian destruction.  Now, I am standing on the history of the Israelites and the army of Nebuchadnezzar.

Rosetta Seal Impression

Rosetta Seal Impression

We also found two Rosetta seal impressions.  This is on the jar handle, and it identified that jar is for royal use, probably tax to the king.  This broken jar once contained olive oil or some other things to be sent to the king in Jerusalem (since this is Jewish jar before exile).

Pottery Reading

Pottery Reading

We began this day around five, and we finished digging at two.  But that does not mean the day’s work is done.  After lunch we were divided into three groups – pottery reading, pottery washing, bone washing.  Pottery reading is done by scholars or someone already has good knowledge on archaeological potteries.  Normal people or volunteers like me are assigned to the washing team.  The reading team identifies of the potteries.  Washing team washes the bones and potteries found in the site.

We washed them until seven, and had dinner.  After dinner, we had a lecture by the Professor Yossi until 10.

I went bed around or slightly before eleven.  And I still have to get up 4:30 tomorrow morning.  What a schedule!

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Israel Trip Twelfth Day: Sea of Galilee, Capernaum, and Chorazain

Today was certainly New Testament Day, and especially Gospel Day.

Nazareth View from Saint Gabriel Hotel

Nazareth View from Saint Gabriel Hotel

This is the Nazareth view from the hotel. It is quite foggy and could not see far down there.

Cana

Cana

While we were driving down, our local guide identified us Cana where Jesus performed his very first miracle. He said wine is very precious gift because it means one years labour and huge portion of wealth. And if you do not provide enough wine in such events like wedding, it is permanent disgrace to the family. And how much it would be gossiped in that small town. Jesus literally saved the family. And George said that Jesus was not sitting with his mother in the feast because that is the Jewish tradition and culture that time. Even now they are separated in the synagogues.

Church of Beatitudes

Church of Beatitudes

First destination was the Church of Beatitude where Jesus preached the famous sermon on the mountain. On Matthew text, Jesus was on the mountain top, and it begins with Jesus sitting down. In Jewish tradition, rabbi stands normally, but when he sits, that means he is serious about his on-coming speech. So when Jesus sat down, everyone must have been quiet. And a beautiful church was built upon the rock which is believed that Jesus preached on.

Here is Matthew 5.3: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Between the two Hieberts

Between the two Hieberts

They are my favourite professors at McCormick and they are husband and wife. Such a beautiful couple.

With George, our local guide

With George, our local guide

Then we went to Galilee and had worship on the “Jesus” boat. The service was good. We read Psalm 150 in different languages of English, Korean, Spanish, Hebrew and Arabic. Arabic was read by our local guide George. He is the best guide I’ve ever met.

2000 Years old boat

2000 Years old boat

This boat was found under the mud in the Sea of Galilee and scientist concluded this boat is about 2,000 years old. At Jesus days, there must have been so many boats on Galilee, and this is one of them. There is also possibility that Jesus was on this boat at least once. And the boat is made out of twelve different trees.

Migdal

Migdal

This is archaeological site of ancient Migdal. And there is huge construction is going on to build a Magdalene Centre and resort. Our famous Mary Magdalene means Mary from the town of Migdal. Galilee area is the core place of Jesus ministry. We had lunch here.

Herod's Massacre

Herod’s Massacre

I forgot the name of this mountain. Our local guide said that there was rebel against Herod among Jewish people around here, and they fled to that mountain. And Herod commanded his solders to push and throw all the rebels off the cliff. And the people in Galilee saw that.

Church of Peter's Primacy

Church of Peter’s Primacy

And we went to Peter’s Primacy Church. Peter and his fellow disciples came here and were fishing after the death of Jesus. And Jesus came here and prepared the fire and meal. Then John found the Lord and told Peter. After that Jesus asked Peter if he loves him three times. This is the Church built to commemorate it.

This is John 21.15: “So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.”

One of seven springs

One of seven springs

This area is known as Heptapegon which means seven springs in Greek. We did not have time to go for it, but I ran and found one of the seven springs.

Olive grinder

Olive grinder

Then we went to ancient Chorazin, one of the three towns Jesus cursed. This is small town, and the people here must have been more conservative, and relatively closed-minded stuck in tradition and religion. That is why Jesus came here and worked so hard to change them. This is ancient olive oil press.

Peter or Peter's mother-in-law's house

Peter or Peter’s mother-in-law’s house

This is Peter’s house in the town of Capernaum. Many of the holy places are just to commemorate and/or the actual locations are in dispute. But this one is 100% legitimate, without any dispute. That means Jesus actually ate, slept, rested, preached, healed and talked there. It is most probable that Jesus walked through the whole town. And there is Jewish synagogue during Jesus time. Jesus went, read scripture and taught there.

Stairway to the roof

Stairway to the roof

This is the house next to Peter’s and you can see the stairway to the roof. In Gospel, good friends carried their paralysed friend to the roof and lowered him down. This is how. And the roof is usually covered with just leaves and straws woods. So it is easy to open.

Sunset in Capernaum

Sunset in Capernaum

This is beautiful sunset. And my crude camera cannot contain the beauty of it.

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