Alexandria last day

Saturday, July 31st. Onboard time is 6pm. So we have to be careful not to go too far. Our plan is to get to the new Alexandria Library early, look around a bit, catch the 1:00 show at the planetarium, and catch a cab back to the ship.

Traffic in Alexandria is a little bit crazy. It’s sort of like Boston, if Boston had 90% fewer traffic lights. You just run your car out into intersections and folks make room for you. And they enter the intersection from your right or left and you make room for them. There is some horn honking, but mostly of a relatively polite “I’m passing you please look out” variety. We did have an incident where our taxi was cut off. And our driver proceeded to force the offending car out of the traffic lane and then to sit for 30 seconds or so before “releasing” him. But overall drivers seemed resigned to the traffic methods.

The first show we saw was on the seven wonders of the ancient world. The only one of these still standing is the Great Pyramid at Giza. Alexandria was the site of another, the Lighthouse of Alexandria. Which is believed to have slipped into the sea. BTW, Alexandria is planning an underwater museum. They plan a sort of glass tunnel in which folks could observe antiquities that have been found in the bay.

A collage of The Seven Wonders of the (ancient) world, depicted by 16th-century Dutch artist Maarten van Heemskerck.

There is a collection of medieval instruments of astronomy and science in the planetarium. Islamic scientists made major contributions to the development of science in the first millennium, and astronomy was one field where they led the way.

The other show was about the cosmology of the Egyptians during the period of the pharaohs. Weird stuff, but no weirder than any of our other many religions. The earth is flat with an overworld and an underworld. The sun shines on 1 for half the day and on the other for the other half-day. At death, some of us through careful preparation can move from the one to the other. One interesting tidbit was that the north star hasn’t always been the same star. The axis upon which the earth spins does not always point to the same spot in the universe.

Book of the Dead

Book of the Dead

OK. Out into the Egyptian sun, and back to the empty port terminal, and back on the ship. Next stop Morocco.