Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Getting to the Excavation Site

My luggage arrived at 1 am. I was glad to get it. I was able to sleep a little bit longer, but woke up at five and that was it. So I spent some time organizing the things I needed to take with me. Then I read and got ready for the day.

We made it to Fayoum City just fine, and met with Ahmed Abd Alal. He is a good man. He assigned us an inspector and we picked up just enough of his Arabic to understand that he was telling this brand new inspector all the good things he would learn by working with us. We were able to pay for our guards, social insurance, etc., and we agreed to run a field school on textiles, osteology, and conservation while here this year. 

We took our inspector, Ayman Radeb, and our Fayoum inspector, Madame Ines and went to the antiquities police. There was a new one there, and he seems very good. His name is Mustafa, and I am impressed with him. He has had a lot of different kinds of experience. He would like us to take a different way to Fag el-Gamous than we normally do, which will take a bit longer. This is because he fears that at some point in the near future the problems with getting fuel will become such that a protest will shut that road down and we will get stuck on the road in a tense situation. I am grateful that he is helping us be careful.

We were able to go and open the site. It is Ines’ job to do that as an inspector for the whole governate, and then turn it over to Ayman. We did that. The site seems fine, the storage magazine was fine. I think all is well for us. We were hoping to just mark out our square. Because we had not finished a square we were already working on, and because last year the stakes were left in the ground still, we thought this would not take us long. But only one stake was left this year. We searched for the other stakes but they are nowhere to be found. We had to measure again, and make sure we had a perfect square. It takes a bit of work, but we got it done. Thank goodness for our good old Pythagorean theorem. 

As we were finishing Julianne skyped me and I got it on my phone. I went off to the side and joined my family for family prayer, half a world away. It was wonderful. 

We organized our storage magazine a bit and arranged for workers to come tomorrow, paid the extra taxi drivers, etc. Then we were able to pack up and head home. It was a little later than we usually stay there, but it worked out okay. I did some sleeping on the way there and a little on the way out, but mostly I did some writing here on this computer.

When we got back I immediately went in to see Rick Zeolla, the manager of the hotel. He said he just wanted to chat. And chat we did. What a really nice guy. I sure like him. We talked about how much tourism is struggling here, and how that is hurting so many people and so much of the economy. I feel so bad for my beloved Egypt, they are struggling so much right now. Prices just keep going up and up. Gas and food are so expensive for them right now. It is so hard. Anyway, it was great to visit with Rick.

Brent Benson and Paul Evans’ flight out of Paris was delayed, for six hours. This is bad because we had arranged for someone to meet them at the airport to help them clear customs with the total station. They are getting in so late I am not sure how this will work out for them. I can’t get in touch with the people who are supposed to help them. We can only hope. I think they will get in very late. It will all work out, one way or another. But we are having to make all sorts of adjustments for how we will do things tomorrow morning. Things always change. That’s how it goes while excavating here.

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