I’m writing from the blessedly quiet American Research Center in Abydos, set down in a swale between dunes, a low spot formed by a water flow (though no water flows now). It’s 7 am December 17th - nine hours ahead of my old New Mexico time zone. Most of the team is sleeping, apart from my British friend Tim – a doctoral student at Brown University. He’s reading here in the sufra (living room) – something about Napoleon’s Egypt. It is incredibly good to be here; getting here was full of those gyrations typical to Egypt travel. We couldn’t take the train – it’s off limits for Western travelers. We rented a van, waited for a police escort (for hours!), and cruised the rough desert highway south arriving at 8pm – nearly 12 hours after our planned departure. This still, cool morning is refreshing after Cairo – and a calm before the commotion of the dig, which we’ll begin tomorrow.