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Adventures of a short vet

Karnak Temple and Animal Care Project

EGYPT | Monday, 28 June 2010 | Views [684]

Did I mention how big it was? It's pretty big

Did I mention how big it was? It's pretty big

Another day in Luxor saw us visiting the Karnak Temple where we met our guide, Ahmed, who was to show us around the conglomeration of a temple built by several Pharaohs, each of whom added their own style over the years.

He was running late so we visited the Animal Care Project first. This volunteer project run by two British veterinarians was initially set up to provide health and care advice to local donkey & horse owners, later expanding to include veterinary care that also extended to dogs and cats. It turned out to be a pretty good set-up, mainly due to the fact that a donor had left a large amount of money to the project. Unfortunately the money was to be spent on the building alone, resulting in a nice building and new stables, but very little money for medications and staff. Hence the need to bring visiting tourists to the facility. A British e-vet nurse showed us around, but accidentally put me off ever wanting to volunteer there by recounting stories of people being put in hospital by untamed or abused horses. I don’t need that sort of excitement! I would have liked to chat to the volunteer vet, but Sam told us later that Intrepid almost pulled out of supporting the place after several foreign vets bad-mouthed the Egyptian people in regards to how they treated their animals, which (even though it may be true in some cases) is pretty insulting when you have a local Egyptian guide! I donated a bag of vetwrap bandages, and although the nurse didn’t seem to interested in them, I am sure they will come in handy. Though I have to say the highlight of the visit was when a crazy young cat that was rolling around on the table climbed up onto the bench between Shaun & I, pretended to smooch Shaun, and then bit him on the side! Hilarious.

We then headed over to Karnak temple to meet Ahmed and wander through the massive pillars and obelisks, avoiding the hot sun and hundreds of tourists doing the same thing. Shaun walked around the Scarab statue once (for health), the girls walked around three times (for money), but no-one could be bothered walking five times (for marriage) or dared seven times (for children). I was too lazy to do any laps and enjoyed the shade by a pool that was said to contain the “waters of life”. Unfortunately too sacred to swim in then.

I joined the Aussie girls in visiting the Luxor Museum, which I actually preferred to the Cairo Museum as it had some beautifully restored statues and was much more ordered with cards actually explaining what you were looking at. There were some amazingly well preserved statues that were discovered in a secret underground chamber during excavations of the Luxor temple.

We also visited the Mummification museum, which turned out to be the biggest disappointment of all our optional activities.

TRAVEL TIP – do not waste money on this museum!

I have seen better school projects on mummification, and most of the tools and mummies you can see in the Cairo museum.

Snacktime provided yet another nutritious lunch, after which we spent the rest of the afternoon firmly camped by the pool at the hotel watching a couple of kids ignoring their mother and trying to drown themselves – funny how kids are the same the world over!

That evening we caught the overnight train back to Cairo, stopping on the way to the station to pick up some much-needed beer, which Shaun managed to bargain a good price despite our rush. Whilst waiting at the station a guy came up to us and rudely interrupted my conversation with Aly to try to sell a pack of cards. I politely said, “La Shukran” (no, thank you), which of course he ignored and continued to hassle me, so I then just said, “La”. Then HE had the cheek to get angry that I was being rude by just saying “La” and not “shukran”! I was tired and hungry and had had enough of rude Egyptian salesmen (though to be fair most had been pretty good) so I replied politely but FIRMLY that I WAS polite and HAD said “no thank you” but that he had chosen to ignore me and continue to interrupt me, so HE was the one being rude. I then turned my back to him and continued to talking to Aly, at which he took the hint and left. The others were a bit dumbstruck before bursting into laughter.

The train ride was much livelier than the first one as we were by now good friends. We hung out in the Americans’ room drinking beer and listening to Sam’s stories of difficult groups. Eventually we had to retire to our clunking rattling beds as we would be arriving in Cairo at 6am and served breakfast at 5am! But not before Shaun & I short-sheeted Sam’s bed while Carly distracted him in the corridor.

Tags: animal care project, karnak temple, train

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