Journey Up the Nile River

Journey Up the Nile River

TRAVEL & LIFESTYLE
July 2019
There are many kinds of vacations—the relaxing, island vacation, the adventuruous trip up the mountains of Peru, the majestic splendor of old churches throughout Europe, and then there is the Middle East. A term coined in 1850s by a British India official, it is composed of 18 countries, 60+ languages and nearly four million people. It is the birthplace of most of the world’s religions and “has been a major center of world affairs; a strategically, economically, politically, culturally, and religiously sensitive area.”

So, let’s just say, it’s not Hawaii.

There are over 200 Nile cruise ships. Many originate in the small town of Aswan, which is down the Nile. This is where our journey begins—after we leave the hustle of Cairo. To get to Aswan you travel by plane or train—driving is not recommended.

An overnight trip to Aswan by an overnight train is a unique experience. The train station in Cairo grows smaller in the distance as we head south on a 549 mile journey. Waking early morning, a rattling train is now alongside the Nile River; a country with a long history that hasn’t seen, in these parts, enormous change: Men still pull carts with cattle, horses carry cane sugar. In one brief moment a dead cow carcass can be seen in a small pond by the side of the road. Time has stood still in these parts.

Aswan is a smaller version of Cairo. To be sure, there is a McDonalds, a Kentucky Fried Chicken, and likely anyday, a Starbucks, but for now, it is a popular city that sits on the Nile, with a substantial amount of river boats.

Aswan is the “Jewel of the Nile”. Pink and grey granite thrusts upward through the Nubian sandstone, forming mountains, cliffs and jagged outcrops. While there countless mosques, there is also Archangel Michael’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral—a towering catherdral  in the Coptic architecture — the architecture of the Copts, who form the majority of Christians in Egypt.

Security is a way of life in Egypt. In Cairo and in places like the Coptic Church, security runs high. Armed guards and blockades can be found at many hotels and indeed at this Coptic Church. But retail and restaurants flourish in the city of Aswan—it is only until late one after noon on a Friday that the azan, the call to prayer can be heard by countless speakers throughout the city—these callers, called muezzinine, are a cacophony of  sounds—it becomes a surreal moment in a backstreet hotel as the soundtrack shifts, the sun sets, we are surely not in the West anymore.

The river Nile. The view of the river as seen in Aswan.
Photograph by Zuke Oshiro
“What you can expect from a Nile River cruise is the adventure of a lifetime.”
DAY ONE we board the Santuary IV. The Sanctuary Sun Boat IV is a contemporary chic, sleek boat with heavy art deco influences. There are 36 standard cabins, two presidential suites and two royal suites. We are greeted as enter the plank by the entire staff offering refreshments and introductions. We are divided  into groups and assigned an English-speaking tour guide, who will accompany us to the various temples along the way. Afternoon tea will be served. Everynight an activity is planned—tonight, after a gourmet dinner is served, we watch as traditional fokloric music and a “whirling dervish” perform.

As one look about it becomes clear that this journey invites all kinds of people—local Egytians, A London-based Sufi businessman with his family, and elderly couple from Scotland, a couple from Cape Cod, a Brazilan opera singer and her daughter, and Egyptian family with their California-based son-in-law. The staff is attentive, ocassionaly too attentive, but the dinner, which is buffet-style, is a nice start to the this ride up the Nile.

A felucca is a traditional wooden sailing boat used in protected waters of Egypt. Its rig consists of one or two lateen sails.
Photographed by Zuke Oshiro
DAY TWO a large buffet breakfast is served each morning. Groups gather on the first deck and we head out for adventure.  We journey to the majestic Philae Temple on the Island of Agilika. We begin to make friends with some Egytian locals and their California-based relatives. The temples are surreal. Over three thousand years old, the preservation is impressive. We are to dress like and Egyptians for a post-dinner party. We bargain with the locals to buy a “galabeyya”, the traditional Egyptian outfit. Each night, at dinner you are seated in the same place. We are seated next to a Brazilian opera singer and her daughter. The after-dinner party is a chance for everyone to mingle and dance into the wee Egyptian hours. This is the requisite fun of travelling by boat—it’s a small party, you get to know everyone, and their stories.
DAY THREE we set off the visit the Temple of Horus. We begin to understand some aspects of the Egyptian pharoah culture. The mythology is deeply complex. For example Horus, is the sky god and there are two, Horus the Younger and Horus Elder. There is a surprising lack of sexuality in these temples, and everyone is quite fit. The drawings are impeccable and rarely vary in form.

We head to The Temple of Esna. The Temple of Esna, which was buried beneath its own debris for many centuries, is located in the center of the town, close to the River Nile and only a short walk from your boat through the local market. We are given passage by way of carriage. The remains of the Temple contain a hall of columns with 24 pillars beautifully decorated with lotus and palm capitals. Also notable is that while looking up, astrological symbols can be seen, 12 of them.

To suggest that it is overwhelming is an understatement. One has to pinch themselves to remind themselves of the reality—you are in Egypt, in the MIddle East and these are the temples that Hollywood has been in love with for so long.

So that evening, as entertainment, they have set up a projector to show the 1978 film, “Death on the Nile”. This version features Peter Ustinov as Hercule Poirot, the famous Belgian sleuth. Actually filmed along the same route we are on, this two hour and twenty minute film runs late into the Egyptian night—we all retire early for our last day.

DAY FOUR The east and west banks of Luxor. This is the big one, the grandaddy of temples. We’re suddenly seeing more people at these temples.  First stop, Temple of Luxor, dedicated to the god Amun. We have had a change in our tour guide! The people in our group requested a new guide. Welcome Medhat, looking like something out of a central casting for Indiana Jones, he is informative and affable. We move onto the Temple of Karnak.
After lunch, visit the Valley of the Kings or The Great and Majestic Necropolis of the Millions of Years of the Pharaoh, Life, Strength, Health in The West of Thebes, as it was once known. We will have the chance to visit at least one tomb in the Valley of the Queens, and visit the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut. On the way back to the river Nile, you will pass by the famed Colossi of Memnon, known in Ancient Greek times for their haunting voices at dawn.

 

It’s over. We arrive at our final moments on board the Santuary IV — saying goodby the ship is abuzz with activity. Rooms are quickly seen to. We head to the Luxor airport to head back to Cairo. We have made friends. We travel over vast stretches of desert, broken by the sudden appearance of a great lake, which seems to run for miles. We are back in Cairo for 12 hours.

There was something about this trip, that for the well-worn traveler speaks to that ocassional need for danger—not physical danger, but to be somewhere where your native language is foreign, the landscape, the people, the culture is vastly different than anything previously experienced. Bali was one of those places, The Maldives certainly. Cairo, Aswan, Luxor, all spoke to a distance of things known, flavors never tasted, history seen in terms of thousands instead of hundreds. Dangerous? Sure—you’re in the Middle East—you cannot get to Israel easily from Egypt though it is under 500 miles away. But it’s Egypt, it’s Cairo. It’s the Pyramids! It’s everything you ever imagined and more. To be sure, there was a moment, leaving the hustle of Cairo in a taxi and the Pyramids suddenlhy appear in the distance—it’s a moment. Crusing up the Nile via a five star luxury boat, that too, was many moments.

https://www.sanctuaryretreats.com/egypt-holidays

Giant Humanoids Descend Upon DTLA in “Fantastic Planet” at FIGat7th

Giant Humanoids Descend Upon DTLA in “Fantastic Planet” at FIGat7th

Gigantic, startling, illuminated, and altogether breathtaking humanoid figures will descend upon Downtown Los Angeles later this month at the FIGat7th Plaza. The Australian artist Amanda Parer’s latest must-see light installation opens Tuesday, October 30th and will live among us through November 10th.

While seemingly peaceful and ethereal, the figures are also imposing and daring. They seem to display an extraordinary curiosity for their onlookers, just as onlookers are fascinated by them. These giants from above give audiences the impression that they have just landed and are quietly observing us and gently exploring our, you guessed it, “fantastic planet.”

Parer’s edgy artworks explore the natural world and our place within it. As with Parer’s globally successful public art exhibit Intrude, these forms will not be randomly placed sculptures but are strategically placed to give the impression that the giant humanoids have taken over the entire event site and, perhaps, the world.

As Parer describes her work, “I raise questions about our relationship with the natural world. I communicate these themes by use of, scale, light, dark, humour, and drama. In these works, the audiences are enticed with beautiful, mostly invasive (which includes us) or endangered species, enlarged and dominant within their given habitats.”

Parer was inspired by the 1973 Czech/ French film Fantastic Planet (La Planète Sauvage). This stop motion science fiction film was directed by René Laloux and depicts a story set in an unimaginably distant future in a world of gargantuan humanoids where human beings are treated as animals and sometimes even kept as pets. The film was awarded the Grand Prix special jury prize at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival, and in 2016, it was ranked the 36th greatest animated movie ever by Rolling Stone.

In her eerie and surreal installation, Parer lightly touches on the idea of a struggling human race through her Fantastic Planet installation, opening the door for existential questions about our place in today’s world.

While wondrous and life-affirming, Parer’s work also offers jarring examinations into our world today. Fantastic Planet is a sight to behold, but also crackles with emotional and political resonance.

Fantastic Planet will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and is located at 735 S. Figueroa. The light installation is free and open to the public, and very close to the 7th Street Metro stop. Be sure to stop by, say hello, and welcome them to our City of Angels.

See more of Amanda Parer’s work at Parer Studio and watch a live one minute video of Fantastic Planet below.

—from http://thehollywoodhome.com/

 

While seemingly peaceful and ethereal, the figures are also imposing and daring. They seem to display an extraordinary curiosity for their onlookers, just as onlookers are fascinated by them. These giants from above give audiences the impression that they have just landed and are quietly observing us and gently exploring our, you guessed it, “fantastic planet.”

Mark Your Calendar: Stanley Kubrick

Mark Your Calendar: Stanley Kubrick

 

For those who know him as a filmmaker, Stanley Kubrick’s early career as a photojournalist is a revelation. In 1945, the future director of such classic works as 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and A Clockwork Orange (1971) was just a teenager—but one with an uncanny photographic sensibility, who was already scouting human-interest stories for Look magazine. Explore this formative phase in the career of one of the twentieth century’s most influential figures in cinematic history.

Stanley Kubrick (1928–1999) was seventeen when he sold his first photograph to the pictorial magazine Look in 1945. In his photographs, many unpublished, Kubrick trained the camera on his native city, drawing inspiration from the nightclubs, street scenes, and sporting events that made up his first assignments and capturing the pathos of ordinary life with a sophistication that belied his young age. He produced work that was far ahead of his time and focused on themes that would inspire him throughout his creative life. Indeed his photography laid the foundations for his cinematography: he learned through the camera’s lens to be an acute observer of human interactions and to tell stories through images in dynamic sequences.

Through a Different Lens: Stanley Kubrick Photographs is organized by the Museum of the City of New York, drawn from its Look magazine archive, which explores this early and influential work from Kubrick’s formative years. The exhibition follows along as he developed his talent for storytelling and honed his visual style in Look assignments that offer a kaleidoscopic view of city life, from the gritty to the glamorous. In these images of celebrities and everyday people alike, Kubrick revealed the hundreds of human dramas unfolding at any moment.

Through a Different Lens: Stanley Kubrick Photographs was organized by the Museum of the City of New York in collaboration with the SK Film Archives LLC.

For more information and tickets head here

THE SKIRBALL CULTURAL CENTER
The Skirball Cultural Center is an educational institution in Los Angeles, California devoted to sustaining Jewish heritage and American democratic ideals. It has been open to the public since 1996.
 
Address: 2701 N Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049

Indian Summer: A Fashion Story

Indian Summer: A Fashion Story

I It’s a hazy shade of late summer— a color, vibrant yet subtle, smooth and alluring, as elegant as a cloud and closing the SoCal summer in style. The cultural relationship to pastels is most often connected with spring because of their association with Easter— pastels have created strong connections with other cultural movements throughout history, too. Pastels were initially known as a chalk-like medium for artists during the Renaissance. In the 17th and 18th centuries, pastel painting became a popular medium with the rise of the Baroque and Rococo styles. During this time, pastels became fashionable in dress because the same frivolity that was the popular taste in art was applied to clothing as well. Marie Antoinette had a proclivity for grand gowns done in pastel silks and laces. In the 20th century, pastels regained popularity during the Roaring Twenties, as flappers turned to the light tones as a response to the seriousness of World War I. Later on, pastels became the calling card of Miami architecture, as art-deco buildings throughout South Beach got a fresh coat of candy-colored paint, reviving the city. Pastels also made an impact on pop culture, with the iconic style of Sonny Crockett on Miami Vice and the art direction of Wes Anderson films, including The Grand Budapest Hotel. That was of course replaced by the chic and eternal, black. But as we all know, fashion comes and goes, so here we are at the backend of Summer looking at the neo-pastels for a summer style extravaganza. Photographed by up-and-coming photographer Christian Acosta, styled by Melissa Tejada, modeled by Danielle Fedder and make-up and hair by Caprice Mitchell. Photographed at the legendary Country Club Studio.

SHOP THE LOOK

RIAN

RIAN

Mini Choker Bag – Clear PVC (Vegan)

Choker Collar (2.5") – Clear PVC

Choker Collar (1.25") – Tan

Choker Cuff (2.5") – Clear PVC

Rita Corset Belt

THE CREW

Christian Acosta – Photographer – @Chrisdnlacosta
Danielle Fedder – Model [email protected]
Melissa Tejada – Stylist [email protected]_
Caprice Mitchell – MUA @primakeupartistry

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