My party and I left London Heathrow Airport on B.A. Flight No BA0155, on this occasion a less than half full Boeing 747 was the Aircraft. As always with BA. We arrived at the El-Gezirah Sheraton, our base for the next five exhilarating and action packed days, in the middle of the Cairo Film Festival. Over the next few days we would meet. Roger Moore 007, Omar Sharif, Peter O'Toole and Alain Delon. I had to assure my wife Christine and our guests, this was not the norm for an Egyptology driven tour. FRIDAY 19.11.1999 Up for breakfast, 'I love Egyptian breakfasts'. I remember in the 1970's and 1980's, I would rise at 05.30am, not these days a more leisurely 8.OOam suffices. We were met by my long time friend and associate Sabri El Masry and off we went on our first adventure.
Always my first port of call SAQQARA the excitement of the drive even though it is partly via the new motorway has never left me. Goodness me I love this place. Call at the ticket office next to UNAS Valley Temple, if you get the opportunity its worth the visit). Over the years I've come to know all the ticketmen, we pass the time of day then off we go up the road onto the plateau. Its difficult to know where to start, today though Christine wished to view KAGEMNI she has long had the ambition to see the tomb having known Dr Yvonne Harpur and Paolo Scremin many years, indeed having been house guests of ours on a number of occasions, she was not disappointed, the questions came flowing. There is so much spectacular detail in this Chief J ustice & Vizier's 6~ Dynasty Mastaba Tomb. By the way Dr Harpur's definitive volumes on this tomb are ever nearing completion after a ten-year labour of love.
The Ancient Hieroglyphic Texts have great beauty. It's a wonderful place to visit but by far better if you are alone. After a brief visit to Hetep, Ihy, Imhotep, Khentika and Ankhmahor we spend time at the ever crowded MERERUKA. So sad it is now difficult to enter this Tomb without crowds of not so interested tourists. The Tomb of Ti was eagerly anticipated as we have a large print of him on our living room wall by (Paolo Scremin Photography). Of course the lights failed when we were in the chamber next to the Serdab, was it the curse of the Pharaoh's or just showbiz. We were lent a torch so it didn't really matter. The Tomb has an eerie air about it in the darkness, which enhanced its enjoyment.
Now off to Ptahhotep Complex D64. Some of the wall reliefs here are staggering for their beauty, especially Ptahhotep with the unguent JAR. We walk from here to the Tomb of ISESIANKH, which is now suffering neglect. Most of the wall offering scenes on plaster has now fallen onto the floor, but this would not be the worst we would see, later in the week. On the west of Step Pyramid we visit MRFNBF the recently discovered Tomb by Prof-Mysliweic. There is now very little to view most of the site is extremely well protected by brick enclosures. I was very fortunate to visit and enter this Tomb in December 1998 when Professor Mysliweic spent an hour explaining in great detail his wonderful discovery, many vividly coloured pristine wall reliefs, that needed immediate conservation. With UNAS Pyramid being closed we next moved on to the New kingdom necropolis, the Temple Tombs of Horemheb and Maya plus TIA & Tia, Khay, Pabes having a letter of introduction it was no problem to visit these tombs at leisure. What magnificent conservation work has been in evidence over the 15 or so years since discovery. We now returned to the transport via NI'ANKH'PEPY HERIMERU, IYNEFERT, PEHNUFER.
In the evening we visited my favorite restaurant The La Mamma 'Italian'. at the Sheraton Casino & Towers a nice half mile walk across the Nile Bridge, helps digest the food. 'I am sure the Wine is improving'. We finished the evening by having a few drinks back at the El Gezirah, sat next to us in the bar was 007 James Bond, one of my all time favorites since his days as the Saint Roger Moore, what an end to a great day.