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Category Archive for Egypt

Miffy x Ghostly clothing collaboration! Weird Egyptian art at Valley of Kings tombs, Queen Hatshepsut, Luxor temple.

miffy ghostly international apparel line collaboration clothing

Goths adore ghosts… and Miffy the cute bunny… so why not bring the two together?

The twain have in fact now met: Miffy has a spook-tacular fashion collaboration with Ghostly

Let’s start this story with the new Miffy new clothing line. Then, we’ll continue my Egypt Travel Talk adventures by descending into the tombs of pharoahs, and traversing the temples of queens.

miffy clothing line ghostly streetwear street fashion

Who’s that haunting my t-shirt? As you know, I adore Miffy the cute bunny character from the Netherlands. She teamed up with Ghostly International, an indie music, art, and street fashion company, for a clothing collab. (Above is the print on the back of my shirt.)

miffy halloween goth ghost ghostly dick bruna

The merging of Miffy x Ghostly is perfection. Both have cute mascots outlined in black and white, and take a playful, minimal approach to their designs.

miffy bunny cute t-shirt shirts tops

Ghostly’s sceptre logo floats over the center of the top. Can you spot Miffy peeking out from behind the yellow square? (This is a size S unisex shirt, which I hemmed for a cropped look.)

ghostly intl miffy tote bags, hoodies, shirts

The Miffy / Ghostly limited edition collection includes four t-shirts, a hoodie, and a tote bag — I want it all! Everything is printed in the USA, and features original bunny illustrations by Dick Bruna, with a fun Ghostly spin.

Everything’s available on the Ghostly International website; go swoop these up before they’re gone.

acne python platforms, snakeskin chelsea ankle boots

I also wanted to share my early birthday gift to myself… I nabbed these Acne Studios platform python boots! The monochrome snakeskin is easy to match with outfits, and the Chelsea-style ankle booties are easy to slip on and walk in.

These Acne leather platform boots are currently 60% off here, in case you wanted to get a pair and match me… it’s a crazy good deal.

naomi rubin moonsprout station comic

I was also tickled pink to receive a copy of Moonsprout Station — it’s a comic by Naomi Rubin (my First Mate who works with me on our crazy TV productions around the world). She created this hopeful fantasy comic about queer identities and relationships, which takes place in a sweeping, mysterious natural setting.

In her words: “Moonsprout Island is a diverse place where queer characters “just are” and their identity isn’t questioned or stigmatized. I talk about issues and questions that are important to me without harmful fantasy tropes.”

queer lgbt comics, naomi rubin portland artist moon sprout station

Naomi has made Moonsprout Station free for anyone to read online here, “because I want hopeful, comforting queer narratives to be available to anyone.” You can also read the full pages on Webtoon and Tapas.

travel comic books, indie gay narrative comics

She has also published Foggy Mountain Letters, a chronicle of our recent adventures in Asia, as well as shooting with German TV in Tokyo. Above, you might recognize the crazy monster character we featured on the show!

“In the Summer of 2018, I went to Japan for a job with my swashbuckling captain La Carmina, and afterwards we got to travel for a bit around Japan and Thailand. I got to do lots of drawings on the trip but didn’t know how to put them in my comic – so I started mailing letters and drawings about our travels to my own fantasy characters. It got kind of out of hand, and now it can be in your hands!”

queer lgbt comics artists portland artists

I hope you’ll consider supporting Naomi’s art and mission — these comics are a joy to read, and let you peek into our alt universe! The print books also include bonus stories and extras that you can’t see online.

You can get a copy Moonsprout Station here, and Foggy Mountain Letters here. Great news, La Carmina readers have a special promo code / voucher: 2 dollars off each, with the coupon code “basilmrao”!

You can also support Naomi Rubin via her Patreon, a “members-only sketch blog and tool shop, where I post sketches, artwork, and drawing resources that I don’t post anywhere else.”

 weird strange egyptian burial art

Now, let’s hang out with the ghosts of ancient Egyptian pharoahs! While in Egypt with with Travel Talk Tours, I got to see one of the country’s most impressive archaeological sites: the Valley of the Kings.

If you are especially intrigued by strange Egyptian rituals and tomb art, then this burial ground cannot be missed.

valley of kings egypt mountains rock

The Valley of the Kings is located just outside Luxor (the ancient settlement once called Thebes). The Egyptians may have chosen this as a royal burial site because of the pyramid-like peak (on the left) in the Theban Hills.

To this date, archaeologists have excavated 63 tombs here — and many more mysteries lie beneath the sandstone. Every year, they discover new treasures, which lead to more questions than answers.

valley of kings paintings tombs

The Valley contains the tombs of some of Egypt’s most famous pharoahs (Seti I, Ramses II, King Tutankhamun) as well as their wives, children, and some nobles.

Notice the cat in the middle of these god-figures… kitties were considered sacred and treated like divinities back then.

egyptian occult devil horns satan

The art that covers the burial chambers is wild, especially considering that they date back thousands of years (16th to 11th centuries BCE).

Yukiro and I were captivated by the stars that covered the ceilings, as well as the devilish horned gods and Sphinxes.  

colorful paintings ancient egypt pharoah tombs

Since these royal graves were so well-preserved under the mountain, you can still see the original pigment of the bas-reliefs. Most people think of Egyptian wall carvings as colorless, but in fact, they were painted in brilliant shades.

egyptian gods worshipping religion

No wonder the ancient Egyptians are associated with death, aliens, and the occult… just look at these bizarre paintings. Who (or what) are they hailing?

scarab headed god egypt creepy

I focused on snapping photos of the weirdest, creepiest artistic elements for you. The scarab-head god, Khepri, is quite the spooky sight… The ancient Egyptians had quite the imaginative pantheon of animal-headed gods!

day tour valley of kings visit

One of the many benefits of Travel Talk Tours was the ease of visiting sights like Valley of the Kings. Our group arrived here by bus, and our guide got our tickets so we didn’t have to wait in line.

The general ticket lets you visit three tombs (different ones are open to the public at different times; usually you can choose from around 10). If you want to take photos inside, you also have to purchase a photography pass.

photo pass valley of the kings egypt

King Tut’s burial site (KV62) also requires a separate ticket. While most of the royal chambers had been looted over time, the famed tomb of Tutankhamun was discovered nearly intact in 1922 by Howard Carter. You can still see his mummified body inside, but not the famous blue and gold death mask and treasures (those are in various museums worldwide).

Unfortunately, due to a mix-up, we didn’t receive a ticket and weren’t able to enter… looks like the “curse of the pharaohs” lives on…

egyptian three headed snake carving

Nevertheless, we got to wander through three other Valley of the Kings tombs, which were covered in mysterious spiritual renderings. The three-headed snake with legs and ankhs drew our attention.

tickets for valley of kings tombs

Aren’t the rich colors outstanding (and surprising?) Most of the Valley of the Kings tombs were desecrated ages ago, and the treasures have gone missing. However, the decorated corridors remain in remarkable condition.

painted colored hieroglyphics egypt

In their heyday, these hieroglyphics were likely rainbow colored! The ancient Egyptian writing system was remarkably advanced.

boat to afterlife egyptian burial

Most of the tomb artwork shows the dead’s journey through the night, and into the afterlife. The pharoah had to travel safely through the underworld by boat.

valley of the kings tombs open to public

Then, the king would have his heart weighed against a feather. If the scale found his soul to be lighter, Osiris would receive him into eternal life.

ankhs with arms weird

The ankh, which symbolizes life, is favorite of Egyptians — as well as vampire and Goths. These ankhs are so powerful that they have arms!

anubis jackal egyptian tomb art

Egyptian symbolism tends to appeals to Goths, as there are many occult leanings, and deadly or horned creatures.

Case in point: coiled cobras and Anubis, the jackal god of death and embalming.

mysterious alien occult ancient egyptian art

What’s the deal with these headless creatures? And how odd are their poses…

valley of the kings tickets passes tours

I tried out this new “walk like an Egyptian” posture.

I wore a hat from Tenth Street Hats, wide legged pants by Charli Cohen, and a heart Hope bag by Lola Ramona.

Khnum horned egypt god

Ready for the Satanic connection?

The depiction of Baphomet is based on the Egyptian ram god pictured above. He was known as Banebdjed, and had a cult of worship at Mendes; in Upper Egypt, his name was Khnum.

egyptian burial chambers luxor

This devilish ram-headed god is found on the walls of many chambers and corridors.

weird erotic egyptian art

At other Egyptian temples, the depictions of figures is relatively “standard.” However, in the Valley of the Kings, things get literally topsy-turvy.

ancient egypt erotic carvings

Plus, there are racy elements. I think you can guess what got scratched out…

ancient egyptian erotica art

Well that’s an… interesting way to take a shower. (I’m guessing you will only find photos of Egyptian oddities like these on this blog!)

Thoth as a baboon, monkey god egypt

Here’s Thoth as a baboon, hailing Anubis (watcher of the dead) and the horned one.

egyptian cursed tombs mummy burial

The Valley of the Kings let us get a deep look into the esoteric beliefs and rituals of the ancient Egyptians. To this day, we don’t understand all the mysteries in these tombs.

spooky haunted egyptian tombs

Watch out, there’s a scarab dancing on your head! Despite his eerie look, the black beetle god Khepri represented the rising sun and creation of life.

rainbow egypt writing hieroglyphs

Gotta read em all… Most hieroglyphs were phonetic, meaning that a picture-symbol corresponded to a particular sound.

(Yukiro illustrates this with his Pokemon cap — R for Team Rocket!)

ancient egypt sarcophagus jackal

Most of the tombs burrowed deep into the mountain, with the tunnel ending in a shrine to the dead. This one held a giant stone sarcophagus decorated with jackals.

I’m sure you can see why we were captivated by the Valley of the Kings. I’m still wrapping my brain around the wonderful weirdness we encountered.

 hatshepsut temple queen with beard

On the same day, Travel Talk Tours took us to see Queen Hatshepsut’s mortuary temple, which is also in Luxor.

The powerful Egyptian queen ruled from 1507–1458 BCE. While she technically joint-ruled with her young son Thutmose III, you can say she was the one who wore the beard and held the whip! 

chapel of anubis, mural hatshepsut temple

The Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut featured a chapel dedicated to Anubis, jackal-headed god of mummification.

I was glad to have my Tenth Street Hats sunhat to shield me from the sun. My pants are Charli Cohen, and this heart and bow purse is Lola Ramona.

hatshepsut mortuary carvings

The Egyptians were so progressive that Hatshepsut was the third woman to become a pharoah and rule the country. However, she stands out because she was the first to have full power.

Her temple also breaks ground by showing the divine birth of a female ruler through art. 

egyptian ceiling stars, hatshepsut horus falcon art

The funerary temple includes this wall, showing an offering to Horus. Note the stars on the ceiling once again; the ancient Egyptians had a keen interest in astronomy. 

figures of queen hatshepsut bearded

Walk up the stairs, and you’ll be greeted by a row of bearded ladies. The pillars show Queen Hatshepsut as Osiris, god of the afterlife and the underworld.

queen hatshepsut temple columns statues

Hatshepsut is depicted with all the symbols of a powerful pharoah. She wears a false beard, and the “bowling pin” double crown that signifies her power over all of Egypt.

The queen also holds a crook and flail, which were derived from farming tools and show her rule over the people. (They also look quite a lot like dominatrix equipment!) 

 luxor temple obelisk nighttime

We’ll end with a final temple: Luxor after dark. I recommend visiting Luxor Temple at night, as the temperatures are cooler and the statues are illuminated in a haunting way.

This temple was an important religious site, and conveyed the power of Egypt’s pharoah (it was likely the coronation site as well). Imagine how an ancient civilian would feel, standing in front of the colossal pylon entrance, obelisk, and king statues.

ramses ii statue luxor temple

Even in this modern age, you can’t help but feel floored by the gigantic seated statues of Ramses II. He wears a royal nemes headdress topped by the double crown, and has a uraeus (rearing cobra) at his forehead.

luxor temple at night tur

Luxor Temple was constructed by a succession of pharoahs around 1400-1200 BCE, including Amenhotep III, Tutankhamun, and Rameses II.

 pharoah ramesses ii statues temple luxor

Cower past the giant seated statues, and you’ll reach the court of Ramesses II. The pharoah is shown at different ages, and stands stiffly next to the columns.

luxor temple carvings offerings supplicant

As you wander through Luxor temple, be on the lookout for fine carvings. Love the elegant rendering of these flying birds.

Our tour guide also pointed out cartouches, or ovals encircling hieroglyphs that spelled out a royal name.

luxor pharoah court thebes temple

Ramses II truly knew the power of scale, in the temples that he built and number of children that he fathered. (Remember our visit to Abu Simbel, which was dedicated to him as well.)

king tut and wife statue, luxor temple

Our guide pointed out this statue of King Tut and his wife Ankhsenamunat, who was also his half-sister. Tutankhamun, son of Akhenaten, became king at age 9 and died at age 19. They had two daughters together that were stillborn with defects (likely from inbreeding).

luxor temple carving sperm semen

Luxor Temple is enormous, so we were glad that our Travel Talks guide showed us the major attractions, before giving us time to roam freely.

He pointed out this 4000 year old bas-relief of the god Min. Did the Egyptians somehow know about the shape of a sperm, thousands of years before microscopes were invented? (Cue the alien conspiracists…)

visit luxor travel talk tours

Later on, Alexander the Great conquered Egypt. He added a granite shrine to Luxor Temple, presenting his rule as legitimate.

eating ankh ancient egypt carving

What do you think ankhs taste like… birdseed? (This cross-like symbol gives the soul the breath of life, to bring them to the afterlife.)

ramses ii statues standing luxor

With stiff shoulders like this, Ramses II looks like he could use a massage.

pharoah ramses face portrait bust

I hope you’re digging our tales of Egypt with Travel Talk Tours. Their 18-30 something group tours are led by a local, and are a fab way to see the most impressive ruins in the country.

Alas, I only have one post left from this trip, but it’s a good one… Cairo’s Egyptian Museum awaits.

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PS: I was honored to be interviewed by Travindy about sustainable travel! I shared my thoughts on showcasing offbeat sites, issues with over-tourism, and how technology can help combat these problems.

PPS: a clip of my new Acne snake-skin leather ankle boots in motion. They’re crafted in Italy, and have a chunky platform sole / heel for an edgy look.

You can find these Acne platform boots here for 60% off, along with other major reductions on designer fashion right now. Happy shopping!

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Hail Horus! Ancient Egyptian temples Edfu & Kom Ombo, Nile felucca boat tour, Luxor hot air balloon ride.

horus statue egypt bird god statues

Hail Horus, falcon-headed son of Osiris and Isis!

My head still spins when I recall all the epic activities we did in Egypt, thanks to Travel Talk Tours. Today, we’ll explore the temples of Edfu and Kom Ombo — home to bird gods and mummified crocodiles.

At the end, I’ll announce my next destination… it’s somewhere French-speaking, and you can follow along on my Instagram @lacarmina

(Outfit details: Heart bag by Lola Ramona, long black skirt Charli Cohen, and Ghoul Gang top from Unique Vintage. I’m hiding from Ra (the sun god) with my Gottex Belladonna hat from UK Swimwear.)

hot air balloon ride egypt

When I said we did a lot of wild experiences in Egypt, I wasn’t exaggerating. We’ll go up, up and away in a hot air balloon over Luxor and the River Nile…

felucca tour nile river egypt

… and sail on the Nile in a felucca, or Egyptian traditional wood boat.

sailing on nile cruise tour

Let’s begin on the River Nile, which flows north through Egypt. I’m wearing a Cryptic Apparel cropped sweatshirt with a winged Egyptian goddess print: perfect for the occasion.

I was tempted to Photoshop out the foot next to Yukiro, but decided to leave it in…

egyptian sailor nile boat ride

… as it was this foot that was doing the hard work, in steering the felucca! This Egyptian sailor was a master of multi-tasking: he expertly worked the canvas sail and tiller (long stick that turns the rudder) against the wind, while puffing on a cigarette.

sailing river nile egypt travel talk tours

I’m glad we got to experience this ancient form of sailing, which is a gentle ride over the Nile’s waters. Feluccas are still used today by locals, and you’ll see their white sails gliding peacefully over the river.

But I want to be a pirate… Instead of a puffy shirt, I wore a Cryptic Apparel top and skirt by Charli Cohen.

late ancient egypt architecture

Onward to the temples. Our Travel Talk Tours group went by bus to Kom Ombo temple in Aswan, and our guide taught us about the history beneath these columns.

The Greco-Roman influences indicate that this was built in Ptolemaic times (the last era of ancient Egyptian civilization) — much like Philae temple, which we also saw.

egypt hieroglyphs aswan komombo

In these times, Egyptian medicine was the most advanced in the world. Our guide pointed out some intriguing medical carvings that depict surgical instruments, and two goddesses perched on birthing chairs.

crowning pharoah egypt coronation kom ombo temple

Kom Ombo temple’s layout stands out for being perfectly symmetrical. This design includes two matching entrances, hypostyle halls and chambers.

The eastern part is dedicated to the crocodile-headed god of the Nile. The western axis is the domain of Horus, the bird-headed deity.

 The Temple of kom ombo

I’m striking a dramatic pose in front of one of the most striking reliefs in Kom Ombo. The carvings show one of the later Ptolemies being crowned as pharoah by Sobek and goddesses.

ancient egypt ankh arms

The rounded figures also reveal that this is a late-period temple (compare this to the stiff poses and fabrics of Abu Simbel). Note how even the ankhs have arms!

temple kom ombo horus sobek

Traveling with a tour let us easily see many sites all over Egypt, and learn fascinating aspects about each place. At Kom Ombo, our guide pointed out an ancient graffito, and reliefs that were later defaced by Coptic Christians.

lion goddess sekhmet egypt

Check out the curves on Sekhmet, the fierce lion-headed goddess. According to the tales, she’s the greatest warrior as well as as goddess of healing, and her breath formed the desert. (Sekhmet is a solar deity, hence the circle over her head).

kom ombo pharoah sobek coronation relief

The bas-reliefs at the Temple of Kom Ombo are remarkably well preserved.

kom ombo mummified crocodile museum

Don’t miss out on the Crocodile Museum next door (or as the sign said, “Crocodile Mus.”) We weren’t allowed to take photos, so you’ll have to imagine a giant glass case with dozens of mummified crocodiles!

The cold-blooded creatures are huge and black-skinned, with rows of sharp teeth — very Gothic death metal. The “mus” also features crocodile art that honors Sobek.

egypt giant ankh carvings

As vampires say, “drink from me and live forever”… or as the Egyptian carvings reveal, “eat the ankh and enter into eternal life!”

egyptian poses tourists travelers

By now, Yukiro and I are well-versed in the art of striking Egyptian poses.

edfu temple entrance pylon

Next, Travel Talk Tours drove our group to Edfu Temple, which also dates back to the Hellenistic period in Egypt.

Edfu’s magnificent pylon (decorative entrance) was one of the largest in Egypt. The gigantic carvings show ruler Ptolemy VIII vanquishing his enemies, while Horus the Elder looks on.

tour temple edfu egypt interior

Edfu Temple is dedicated to Horus, son of Osiris, the god of the underworld. Inside, this spooky staircase looks like a pathway to the afterlife.

edfu egyptian temple carvings aswan

Our guide took us into the inner chambers, and showed us the various forms of Egyptian writing (demotic, hieratic, hieroglyphic). We also saw an unusual carving of Isis breastfeeding young Horus.

edfu temple inside shrine boat

We peered into the Sanctuary of Horus, which houses a ceremonial barge and altar used in rituals.

egyptian horned god satan baphomet

Quite a few horned ones graced these walls.

Banebdjedet, the ram-headed god, became known as the “Baphomet of Mendes,” as he was worshiped in the ancient city of Mendes. The Satanic Baphomet figure was based on his horned appearance.

horus statue edfu temple

Yukiro blends in with the bird-god. We’re enthralled by the rich imagination of the Egyptians, who dreamed up an animal-headed pantheon.

courtyard temple edfu egypt

Edfu’s builders had a knack for drama. Imagine wandering through these tall outdoor passages, in ancient times.

egyptian temple tour aswan

So far, I’ve shown you the wonders of ancient Egypt. However, we also got to see day-to-day life in the cities today.

egypt women in burkas

While on the bus, we passed by this gathering of locals in the streets.

aswan local market egypt

We took a gander at Aswan market, where locals go to buy daily necessities.

egyptian man motorcycle

This Egyptian man’s tricked out motorbike has Mad Max vibes.

spice market aswan egypt

Many of the stores sold spices. We eyed the mounds of coriander, cardamom, cinnamon and more.

cleopatra coffee, egyptian aswan coffeeshop

Wouldn’t you like to stop by for a cup of Cleopatra Coffee?

cat statue souvenirs egypt

Most of the markets are geared to tourists, and the vendors sell “made in China” trinkets. I avoided these shops, and instead, picked up a local, handcrafted robe and sheath dress made from Egyptian cotton.

(I wrote other insider, hidden tips for Cairo on Touring Bird, the new Google Area 120 site — including a Fair Trade Egypt boutique.)

view aswan city night

View of Aswan at night, from our hotel room. We weren’t able to spend much time here, as there was yet another early wake-up call…

aswan balloon flight egypt

We left around 3:30am, and took a van and boat to this field. The early start was worth it… for a sunrise hot air balloon ride over Luxor!

egypt hot air balloon rides

I had never flown in a hot air balloon before, and was excited that Travel Talk offered this as an optional excursion in Egypt.

Passengers can only bring a small bag and iPhone (no DSLR cameras). The basket is divided into several standing areas, each holding about three people. At take off and landing, you must brace yourself and hold on to the ropes — but otherwise, it’s a smooth ride.

luxor hot air balloon ride safe

Yukiro found it ironic that Pokemon’s Team Rocket claimed to be “blasting off at the speed of light” in their hot air balloons… when in fact, the process of inflating the envelope and getting off the ground took quite a while!

view egypt desert from hot air balloon

The pilot adjusted the burner flame and repeated a single joke over and over, as we slowly flew higher into the sky. Below, we could see the ruins of temples, and stretches of desert that reminded me of an alien planet.

hot air balloon luxor safety

I’m happy that I finally got to experience riding a hot air balloon, and in Egypt of all places. Everyone relaxed and took in the 360 aerial views of Luxor.

ride hot air balloon egypt

The winds were in our favor that day, and we glided over the Nile.

Touching down was a bit bumpy, but we were in safe hands and a van was right there to drive us back.

horus bird temple egypt edfu

A final hail to Horus, also known as “he who is above.”

And now, “Team Rocket’s blasting off again…”  I’m happy to be returning to Quebec City and Montreal this week! If you have any travel tips for French Canada, please let me know — and you can follow along the journey on my Instagram @lacarmina

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