Ever since seeing Iron Maiden on the Powerslave tour in the mid 1980s, Spud has always been intrigued by the pharaohs and temples of Ancient Egypt. A trip to North Africa was not an inexpensive venture however, especially intodays tough economy where money was tight. That all changed one day when Disney Pixar called and told the tuber that they were making Toy Story 3 and would need Spud to reprise his role as the chippy Mr Potato Head. The saavy side dish negotiated an advance signing bonus and before he knew it, he had a plane ticket to Cairo.
The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Egypts capital was Spuds first stop. This amazing museum is home to over 120,000 priceless items chronicling the history of one of the worlds oldest cultures.
Inside the tato was introduced to the world of the pharaohs and their treasures. The museum even had a room dedicated to the royal mummies. The tater found this room to be particularly interesting so he could compare how the Egyptian mummies compared with the ones he saw in West Virginia.
The Egyptian technique for mummification appeared to have a much more scientific approach than those in the USA. After removing the internal organs, salts were used to remove any moisture . The mummies were then anointed with oils and perfumes (Spud supposed this was due to the fact that air fresheners had not been invented yet). They then covered the body in natron (another salt like substance) to prevent decomposition. The dried corpse was then wrapped in strips of white linen and then canvas. While the process obviously did a good job, the tato wondered how much better the mummies would have looked had they used duct tape.
Having whet his appetite for ancient exploration, it was time to head out to see some of the sites. First up was the Giza Plateau to see the Great pyramids.
Built in the 4th dynasty, roughly 2550 BC, the pyramids of Giza were mammoth tombs built for the Pharaoh Kings. The biggest was the Great pyramid of Cheops, which held the record for the tallest building on the planet for a staggering 4300 years until some wiry Frenchman decided to steal some of the Egyptians limelight by building the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.
Spud had seen countless photos of the pyramids before, but nothing could truly capture the sheer size and scale of the undertaking until you physically stand at their base. Cheops is comprised of ~1,300,000 limestone blocks each weighing anywhere from 2.5 15 tons, and assembled together with incredible precision. Spud learned that these are not merely piles of rock, but instead are intricate in their design so that secret corridors within lead to a number of secret rooms and chambers. All accomplished without the use of metal. Today you cant find anyone to build a birdhouse unless they have an Auto CAD program
The tater clamoured into one of the corridors of the Pyramid and eventually found his way through the labyrinth and into the Great Gallery; where the sarcophagus of King Khufu was found. The Pharaohs crypt was hewn from a single immense block of granite that had been transported to the site from over 1000km (650 miles) away. The tato would have much preferred a pillow top mattress for his eternal resting place over a block of rock...
potato made his way back up the musty corridor and out of the Pyramid.
The Great Sphinx, is a mythological creature that is a recumbent feline with a human head. Of course, Spud assumed that this was mythological and not some kind of bizarre ancient mating ritual, but you never know While Sphinxes now exist worldwide, this one is truly great as it measures 60m (200 feet) in length and 20m (65ft) wide.
Lying in the shadow
of the Great pyramid of Khafra, common belief is that the head
of the Sphinx is that of King Khafra. Noting that the nose was missing,
Spud speculated that the pharaoh had the same plastic surgeon that Michael
Spud looked up to see a Bedhouin man in a long robe atop a camel.
Come we take desert tour to Luxor! the man bellowed. Always up for an adventure, the tato agreed, and his new guide introduced himself as Abdullah, then offered the carbohydrate his own personal transport a lovely dromedary by the name of Lou Lou.
After a bit of harsh scolding from Abdullah, Lou Lou finally resigned herself to the fact Spud was a paying client and not her dinner, so she crouched down to allow the tato to climb aboard. A swift pat on the camels butt from the Bedhouin guide and the caravan headed off into the desert.
About 3 hours into
the journey over the endless sea of sand, Spud realized that this trip
might take a while especially considering Luxor was in Las
Vegas and they were in North Africa. The potato pointed this out
to Abdullah who laughed heartily. No, no
we have Luxor here
in Egypt! he barked back. We will see it over the next rise,