Sunday, 7 June 2009

There, doesn't that make it all better?

Ok so this is just a ludicrously cute kitten. But one of the reasons I could spend so long watching Egyptian cats, besides the cuteness, is the way they clearly haven't changed since pharaohnic times. They are all skinny - not unhealthy, just right for the heat and for an un-pampered, un-western existence. Their small bodies, big ears and lined eyes are an exact match for the statuette of Bast in the British Museum, or in the Gayer-Anderson House in Cairo. They stalk the same birds close to the river.

It's sometimes difficult to get a real sense of history in the temples and tombs when they are full of people, but the cats have it. Watching the banks of the Nile as we cruised was a similar feeling. Palm trees, small farms, mud brick houses, cows and water buffalo, all more or less as they would have been at least hundreds if not thousands of years previously. The weather seems to add to the continuity in very practical ways - it helps to preserve both the monuments and a certain way of life, at least outside the cities.

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