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Published: February 22nd 2012
The best thing about Abu Simbel is it is situated 40 km from the Sudan border. I love places which seem faraway and Abu Simbel fits that criteria. A supposed police convoy is necessary to travel there from Aswan. We tourists collect together at a certain point and the police meticulously check all the cars, mini buses and coaches. Recording all the details. Finally we line up all ready to go, I’m expecting something out of a war movie. Hummers, soldiers and guns, but alas no I forgot for a moment I was in Egypt. These people couldn’t run a chook raffle. The first bus is waved off and then shemozzle. The vehicles jostle for positions as we squeeze out the gate. The fast vehicles passing the slow as we drive up the main street. Luckily or maybe unluckily our driver thinks he is Mark Webber and we soon there is only one bus to pass. The convoy is soon spread out over many kilometres. How they can possibly protect us who knows but hopefully they will attack the weak at the rear.
It is 275km to Abu Simbel and we have an early start at 3am. Sleeping most of
the way in our car luckily the driver speaks little English which is a Godsend. We watch the sun rise over the stark, white desert before arriving at 7.30 am. We are only allowed 3 hours at the temple before the so-called convoy returns to Aswan.
The Temple is situated on the edge of Lake Nasser. Four giant carvings of stone stand about 25 metres tall at the entrance of the temple. They are of some Pharaoh named what’s-a-me-caller from the you-know-what era. Yeah that bloke! Looks magnificent though. Inside there are beautiful pictures and writing carved into the walls. The intricacy of the work is spectacular. The artists must have been highly skilled. The engineering is astonishing. This all done 5000 years ago.
The journey home a bit more pleasant being daylight, the desert is interesting. The mirages unimaginable and the black rocks jutting out of the white sand so stark.
The high light I think though was Natarsha’s toilet stop. She scampered off behind a pile of gravel while we all found something interesting to look at over the horizon. I think the driver was shocked and surprised all at once. After that he asked
regularly if we needed a toilette.
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