“We have constructed pyramids in honor of our escaping This is the land where the Pharaoh died”
– The Doors
I recently returned home from a trip to Egypt. I had not been there since August of 1980, and I had been wanting to go back for some time, so I finally did. (I’ll write more about why I decided to go now in a later post.)
Needless to say, when one goes back somewhere after 36 and a half years, you can expect some things to change, and certainly some things have. Yet, in a place as ancient as Egypt is, it seems that many other things remain the same.
Photographically, things seem to have reversed. In 1980, you were not allowed to photograph in museums but you were allowed to photograph in tombs (that of King Tutankhamum being the exception). Now, with the purchase of a pass for a few dollars, one can photograph in the major museums (some of Tut’s items and the royal mummies being the exception) while photography in tombs is now prohibited (though making a “donation” to the attendant can sometimes change the policy).
One of my other photographic concerns were x-ray machines. On my trip to China last year, I made at least half a dozen airplane rides and not once was my film x-rayed. In Egypt, however, they would not hand check the film, and to make matters worse, you have to go through the machines twice for each flight – once when entering the airport and again when approaching the gate.
So, my film went through at least seven times, with some rolls even more. My hopes laid in the lead bags into which I put the film, though some were put through with the bags a couple of times.
The good news, though, is that I’ve gotten a dozen of my exposed rolls developed and as far as I can see, even on high-res scans, there is no noticeable damage.
However, I’ll post my film images later. For now, I’m just posting some photos made in the north in the area of Cairo, Giza and the pyramids that I made with my pocket digital cameras.
Oh, regarding safely, I don’t think I or anyone else in my tour group felt threatened, and the people in Egypt seemed happy to see us. About the most dangerous thing we did was crossing the street on foot against the chaotic traffic – which is, admittedly, taking your life into your hands!