National Geographic : 1965 May
Yankee hustled up behind the last two "stacks" and found them fight ing to gain priority. Both crews now stood on top of the straw, shrieking insults. Then came the collision, an anticlimax, soft and quiet, haystack to haystack. That seemed to settle something. As the feluccas parted, the apparent winner streaked for the span opening. Race Takes Incredible Turn But there was to be no winner. "The bridge tender's closing the. bridge," Irving shouted in a tone of disbelief. "They haven't got a chance of stopping in this wind." Under the lash of the wind, the high load of the first boat swept it bridgeward with its shouting, waving crew. We not only heard, but seemed to feel, the sickening crunch of wood against the half-closed bridge as the boat sliced through its own fender of straw. There the victim stuck. "We can pull him away," Irving called to us. "Get a towline ready." We motored close, and the crew made fast our line. Stern foremost, the felucca was an awkward tow, but somehow we got him to shore. The second felucca, too, was blown against the bridge, and we yanked him away as well. Apart from their gratitude, it was a satisfaction to undo a little of the bridge tender's astonishing action. Now the Nile took a course due east, making its farthest reach toward the Red Sea. Here, at Qena, we hired donkeys for a short ride to the ancient Tem ple of Dandara (page 603). Without Ahmed to run interference, we would never have gotten past the phalanx of eight- and ten-year-old donkey Monumental majesty of Luxor re calls the golden age of Egypt's power under Amenophis III in the 14th cen tury B.C. A staff of 2,623 slaves once served the 853-foot-long temple. The great colonnade, seen through a win dow of the Mosque of Abu'l Haggag, has provided a landmark for Nile voyagers through the centuries. The medieval mosque fills a corner of the forecourt of Ramesses II. 609 Sunlight plays upon paintings in the 3,000-year-old tomb of Menna, a nobleman. Silvery foil catches beams reflected from a mirror just outside the tomb. Colossi and columns at Karnak reduce man to Lilli putian size. The conceptions of Egyptian architects "are those of men a hundred feet high..." wrote French Egyptologist Jean-Francois Champollion. EKTACHROMESBY WINFIELDPARKS ( N.G.S.