Egypt in Both Headlines

First, I am sorry that I have not posted here in awhile, but life likes to detour us whether we want it or not. And life has given us a couple huge detours recently, there was the historic floods in the Balkans (which still need huge help), there is the violence in Ukraine, there are several crises in Africa (Nigeria, Libya, Sudan), as well as the elections in Syria and Egypt this past week (give or take a day or two). Which brings me to our topic….Egypt.

Karnak Temple by jumpingnorman via virtualtourist
Karnak Temple by jumpingnorman via virtualtourist

It had been my initial plan to move out of Egypt at least for a bit in our journeys of thought, but as such would have it Egypt had other ideas, I couldn’t afford the $25 exit tourist fee to leave the country! No, I am kidding there, but the exit tourist fee is real. Did you know that when you fly say from Cairo to Luxor as a tourist you will pay a $4 tourist fee, for the airport handling you? And when you are attempting to leave Egypt to return home from holiday or maybe move on to another holiday, rambling destination or whatever you will be charged $25, again for the airport expense of handling you. So their thank you for spending the money to fly into their country, stay and eat in their country, use their businesses and services in your daily activities while in their country, and buy their trinkets in their markets to hand out back home is to charge you for needing to be handled. Really? Cause the $1 -2K for the plane ticket and the at least $500+ I spent in your country wasn’t enough for you, you prove a point of principle by charging me to leave. Considering the political instability, which has led to security issues on the streets, Egypt should be paying tourists $50 for showing up!

Ramses Square Egypt Unrest
Ramses Square via CPJ

That being said the focus of this post is about a curiosity that I noticed recently, well in the recent past, like last few months, in relation to Egypt and the headlines. I am sure you know that Egypt has been in the headlines concerning its ousting of its ‘last’ elected President and the clashes between all sides, you can’t say both as there are more sides than a dance card can hold, have led to less security on the streets and less than civilized behavior by some aspects of society. Egypt is not a top safe travel destination. I’m not easily intimidated, which frustrates some of my male friends in the region, they are really good guys and kinda have over protective/big brother syndrome.  But I have never been overly worried about being abroad alone. That being said I would not just holiday in Egypt right now. Would I still travel there on business or other needed reasons? Sure, but just to go hang out and see the sights, nope I’ll wait till later.

respro_pyramid_British Museum
Excavation at Hagr-Edfu via British Museum

That being said, thus the reason for this post, has anyone else noticed that not only has the Egyptology field been business as usual, it has been business extraordinaire! I mean seriously, every few day not less than every week there seems to be some HUGE NEW find! How is it that in the midst of such unrest, granted not nearly as bad as Libya, but still, not only are digs still going on, they are having a very high, abnormally high success rate. Don’t get me wrong, I think that is a great thing, but it does make me wonder if you can make these great finds while you have to at least have the back of your mind flooded with safety concerns, you in some cases have to actually have either someone watching your back or one eye looking over your shoulder; why weren’t they being made in relative peace-time under Dr. Hawass? And how many more amazing finds are going to be so easily and quickly (yes, I am using the terms loosely, I do know that years of work go into the efforts) discovered with Dr. Hawass no longer GOD of Egyptology? I guess only time will tell, I just hope this means that new and fresh looks and thoughts and ideas will be allowed inside the field now!