Working Trips to Egypt
Continuation of Second Working Trip to Cairo, Egypt

Next we went to Pompeii's pillar, which is a huge pillar, almost 100 fit high and maybe 20 feet across at the base. It is sited on a hill with surrounding ruins. The pillar was once carved with figures. This pillar was erected by the Egyptians in honor of a Roman governor, who brought wheat to the country during a time of famine. The pillar is set on a stone base perhaps 25 feet square and 15 feet high. There is a stone underneath it which was brought from Aswan and positioned upside down -- the hieroglyphs are upside down! No one knows why this happened! There is an underground library at this sites which is exactly underneath the spot that the pillar and the sphinxe are located. In the library, the niches can be seen in the walls where the papyrus books were stored. You can also see the places for mounting lamps.

We next drove to a labyrinth not on the Alexandria maps. In some ways this was the most interesting place we saw in the city. It was a site for religious ceremonies and burials. It consisted of an underground cistern about 60 feet high with circular steps on the outside. The bottom contained watered passages for transporting the bodies for burial and also passages like sidewalks for the familiest. The bodies went along the waterways and the families went along walkways on each side of the waterways. A small sitting room was next encountered. Another tower was then seen with rectangular windows through which other waterways could be seen. Finally, there was a resting place for the bodies. The waterways split up into rectangular rows leading to the burial sites. Some of these were very elaborately carved, but most were plain. The ones which were carved had Egyptian/Roman markings. There were about a half-dozen tombs which were extremely elaborate with all sorts of animal carvings and other human figures Truly, this was a very interesting place!

We went back to the bus station for my departure to Cairo. I was nervous because no one there spoke English and there was some doubt about which buses were going where! The bus was supposed to be air conditioned because our route was through the desert. Naturally it was broken, probably for the last 5 years! No one on the bus spoke English! I left at 2:00 p.m. and got to the Nile Hilton at 5 p.m. During the desert ride, I saw many military bases and aircraft. There were also many people living along the road.

September 18, 1983 - I got up at 2 a.m. and had no trouble getting to the airport by Mercedes limousine. We took off at 5 am with about 20 people on board. The pilot announced that we diverting to Beirut, Lebanon! This was a serious problem since they had been bombing the airport and it had been closed during the time I had been in Egypt, I wanted off that plane! But there was no way off! The pilot mentioned a cease fire, did it apply to our plane? After a nervous landing in Beirut, we saw many soldiers, dogs, and bombed out hangars. The plane filled completely with Lebanese -- they seemed to be very happy that our US marines were there (obviously not all the people in the country were happy). We could see smoke in the far background but could not see the city very well. We stayed about an hour and took off with no incident. After a long trip I arrived back in Atlanta via Rome and JFK about 20 hours from the time I left the Nile Hilton.

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