March 25th 2012: Anna Hodgkinson
With most of the team arriving in Cairo on Saturday, a group of us used the Sunday, the day before we set out to the Fayum, for shopping and preparation.
Jan had produced a list of what we needed, and we convened at the Horus Hotel, Zamalek, where the bulk where staying, around mid-morning. Jan, Ivor, Liz, Valentina, Nina and I first went to the stationary shop, where we bought some drawing boards. After this some supermarket shopping was done, while Liz and I photocopied some recording sheets – whilst photocopiers exist in the Fayum, the paper used by these is often flimsy and of a variety of A4-related formats. We gathered again just before lunchtime and took a taxi to Felfela Restaurant in Downtown Cairo where we feasted on Tamia (Falafel), Babaganoush (Aubergine-puree), Hummus and bread – a much needed feast for the task ahead: the purchase of extra survey equipment. Liz kindly brought a second total station from London, in this case a heavy, robotic instrument. This total station can be used in single-person mode, which means that Hannah will be able to undertake her topographic survey independently. Hence we needed a new tripod and detail pole, the viewing, selection and purchase of which had been previously been arranged with the manager of “Techno Scient”, a Downtown Cairo survey equipment shop. After being led to the correct address by some friendly Egyptians, a very excited Liz and I viewed and selected the equipment. We went for a wooden, very sturdy tripod in addition to a Chinese-made telescopic detail pole, the prism to go with which had been brought over from the UK.
Our treat after this task, although we had to carry the rather heavy equipment, was a visit to the American University bookshop, close to Tahrir Square. We were surprised to find a roadblock out of concrete blocks where we expected the official entrance to the university and its bookshop:
Although this was currently being removed we could not enter this way and had to go to the old entrance, via Tahrir. Along the wall of the University we came across a whole range of different graffiti from the “Arab Spring”, some Egyptianising in design, some being copies of actual Egyptian tomb scenes (and sometimes rather violent) in design. A selection of these is shown here:
Foreign Tributaries as shown in the tomb of Rekhmire (TT100) in Western Thebes.
Offering scene with a mouse and a cat, caricature.
A cat and dwarf (or a male figure wearing something shaped like the white crown of upper Egypt), dancing.
We had dinner at a Chinese restaurant on Zamalek before an early night in preparation for the departure to the Fayum the following day.