“11-11-11: Life, Death and Afterlife”
It’s Monday morning November 9th and pictured here are the gardens at the legendary Winter Palace of Luxor that I see with my own eyes as I write this — taken with my trusty iPhone.
It’s a magnificent 5-star hotel whose reputation has faded for all of us with a series of bad-service incidents I prefer not to detail for you so as not to color your own opinion of this oasis in the Luxor dessert. Would I stay here again? Doubt it, but as you can see, it is a feast for the eyes and my idea of heaven to have an outdoor terrace with a view such as this.
Yesterday in the blazing sun, our group of 13 trekked by mini-van to the Valley of the Kings to see the tombs of King Tutankhamen along with several others discovered by Howard Carter in November of 1922 — one of which had lain nearly undisturbed for over 3,000 years. What lay within astounded the world…as it did us.
The tombs were inscribed with carvings, paintings and hieroglyphics in brilliant original and natural colors that took our breaths away. Cameras were not allowed, so I offer you no first-hand photos of what we witnessed, but any Google search will result with lots so you can take the tour ‘virtually’ along with us.
Just as we were about to go down into the tomb to see King Tut’s mummified body, my iPhone rang. On the other end was a gentleman speaking French — a policeman from the 13th arrondissement inquiring about the next of kin of our long time friend, reader of Parler Paris and often-time attendee of “Après Midi,” Gar Westfall. I asked, “Il est bien?” (Is he well?) and of course, the reply I was not hoping for but received was, “Non, je suis desolé de vous dire qu’il est decedé” (I’m sorry to tell you he has died).
It was a shock and a strange synchronicity that we should be studying the life, death and afterlife of Egyptian kings at the very moment to receive this news that a close friend had passed into what we hope will be a heavenly afterlife. Gar was an elegant, intelligent and sweet man who had retired to Hawaii, but spent many months a year in Paris where his heart truly lied. He had many friends who adored him, including myself, having spent many an afternoon visiting exhibitions together or having meals together discovering new Paris restaurants. He attended every “Parler Paris Après Midi” he could and made a point to get to know Paris like the back of his hand.
The cause of death was cardiac arrest, as his doctor told me, as he was climbing the steps to his apartment. It was fast and relatively painless, or so we think. He will be truly missed. This Nouvellettre® is dedicated to his life, his death and his afterlife.
Later that morning, our guide, Mahmoud, took us to see the Temple of Hatshepsout. She was a female ruler of note, not only because there were so few women rulers, but because she projected hers
elf in the image of a man (wearing men’s clothing and false beard) and was very powerful. Her reign was long and prosperous and successful in warfare early in her reign, but she was considered to be a pharaoh who inaugurated a long peaceful era. Her temple was a stunning monument to this revolutionary and rebellious Egyptian woman.
I wondered why more modern Egyptian women had not taken her lead and followed in suit — to evoke their own feminist rights in this land so dominated and controlled by men. What we notice is that only the western women are without veils or headscarves and only the disrespectful western women are without sleeves, long pants or long skirts. All others are dutifully dressed as they are expected to be. It’s frightfully sad for us women who know what it’s like to be equal (or at least close to being equal) with men in our western worlds.
Today we fly from Luxor to Cairo and this afternoon we will tour the Egyptian Museum there. Tomorrow we will see the Pyramids and the Great Sphinx of Giza — a statue of a reclining lion with a human head that stands on the west bank of the Nile. The guidebooks say “it is the largest monolith statue in the world, standing 73.5 meters (240 feet) long, 6 meters (20 feet) wide, and 20 meters (66 feet) high. It is the oldest known monumental sculpture, and is commonly believed to have been built by ancient Egyptians in the third millennium BCE.”
This is the highlight of the whole trip, to end our 10-day journey through the place where civilization began. We ended it today when we flew back to Paris on 11-11-2009, the day of three “elevens” (November the 11th month, the eleventh day and when you add 2 and 9, you arrive at 11). This is significant to those who experience the phenomena of 11:ll, and who understand its greater importance. Psychic Uri Geller ( http://www.urigeller.com/) writes, “If you multiply 1111 by 1111 you get 1234321, representing a pyramid, and number 11 is a sacred number of the pyramid with the proportions of the great pyramid being of the ratio 7:11. Eleven is also a number harmonious with Pi. Therefore, it seems that number eleven is of central importance in understanding the mathematical infrastructure of the universe. This appearance of an abundance of 11:11 sightings on clocks is about thinking out of your box and letting your mind stretch outside it’s comfort zone. 11:11 does not allow you to forget about the larger questions because it is always popping back into your reality, acting as catalyst to distract our consciousness away from the sublime and on to something far more challenging.”
On this important 11-11-11 day, Paris will become once again our ‘life’ with a sad ‘death’ on our minds, but with a new viewpoint on our ‘afterlife’ and the number eleven.
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris