Luxor, Egypt

Wednesday, March 13, 1929

Tilly [Hall’s wristwatch] decided to take another extended vacation today, so I am once more running sun-time, which is easy to do in a place like Luxor where they never have rain. Also, Nero, the blamed fountain pen, has refused to scratch longer, even after a good cleaning. The reason can be seen if one lamps the ink in the drawing on the opposite page. It flows like mud.

After getting a note off to the gang, I started out for Karnac again, but “like a woman” (?) suddenly changed my mind at the last minute and crossed the river. It was ten when I landed after a nice sail over the deep for ½ piastre. The main reason it wasn’t 9:30 was because I had to get an elegant shave to look respectable and set off my long hair, which I can soon braid, to better advantage. Pushing (the dogs) on past the Colossi, Ramseseum and Madinet-Habu, I entered in fifty minutes the small valley where are the tombs of the Queens. Unlike most of the kings’ tombs, these are not sporting electric lights. The candles are not as good, but at least give you an idea of what is to be seen. None are as large nor as elaborate as many of the kings’ tombs. Still, the inscriptions and paintings were excellent. It was beastly hot and I was glad to sit in the cool shade of one and read for about an hour.

A little after noon I sallied forth through valleys and over hills to a spot somewhere where the French are excavating along the side of a hill. Already they have unearthed a whole hillside of tombs as far back as the foot of the towering cliff. Going on to somewhere, I saw what I could of it through the locked gates—a temple, some stumps of pillars, and a few broken stones and statues lying miscellaneously about an enclosure of dried mud bricks. Climbing a hill, I went into a tomb in front of which was a scattered pile of fragments of mummies and wrappings and bones. Soon a boy came along and tagged me for a long time. I knew what he was after, so didn’t pay much attention to him, and it just happened that the way I was going wasn’t where he was always trying to get me to go. I crossed a big field of sharp stones and he walked beside me barefooted, just as fast as I cared to go. These natives must have skin like leather on their feet. I was beginning to doubt whether I had any skin left on mine and had no doubts about the fact that the soles on both my shoes were half off. I climbed a stone fence and then he wanted his money, I suppose for tagging along and bothering me. Anyway, he got it like all the rest do that pull these tricks on me.

I was now on the same hill I had been on the preceding day. It is actually lousy with tombs, and I visited many, though they are nearly all the same and roughly hewn, without inscriptions. Descending to the plain level, I thought I would melt before I got to the shade of the temple of Menthu-hetup III. I spent some time here at that wild Hatasu’s pink temple Deir el-Bahari. Finally an overgrown bee became too friendly, so I left. Tourists were pretty scarce. Most usually come in the morning or later on in the afternoon, spending the hot hours sipping cool drinks of water (?) in the shade of the Winter Palace’s nice verandah overlooking the Nile. I seem to be the only person in Luxor who has a financial status so flat that even walking is a luxury because of the wear and tear on shoe leather. At least I am the only one that will admit the fact.

The Ramseseum had a caller about three-thirty, and he cooled off in the shade of a large pillar of the Hypostyle Hall, fooled about the courts and pylon for a while, then hit for home over a dusty path through a field, with every other little rascal in Egypt tagging along behind holding a bleating kid in their arms, and crying baksheesh, baksheesh. The more educated cried photographic baksheesh.

When I came to the river, the cool H2O was too much to resist, so I went up the broad sandy beach (in this spot) a ways and divested to my “swimming suit,” then had a grand half-hour swim. I am certain the Nile is much shallower now than before. Three days accumulation of dirt in Luxor is like carrying a brick in each pocket. When I was dry, I took the ferry across and waited in the Luxor Temple to see that elegant sun drop behind misty gray hills. I am assured that the sky is not always a pale orange, but is often a wonderful rainbow of colors. I was greeted by a lizard in my room. He was shy, though, and ran up the wall and in some crevice on the ceiling.

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