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Published: November 27th 2010
The next morning we were already in Aswan when we woke up. After breakfast we headed out to go on our camel ride through the dessert and past the monastary of San Simion. A few of our group now have mummy tummy, my bunkmate included, but I feel fine. So far so good.
Our next adventure was a walk through the Nubian markets. I ended up buying a scarf and a couple of wooden dolls. This market was nice, a lot less hassle compared to the others. I think we are all now pretty experienced and instead of being annoyed we are treating it as sport. In the early evening we took a boat ride to a Nubian village and visited their school and had tea with a local family. Back in the 60s when they built the Aswan Dam it flooded the whole area which used to be Nubian country. They all were displaced and had to be relocated to either Sudan or Egypt. In the evening we all needed to be in bed for the early morning caravan ride to Abu Simbel.
Everyone driving to Abu Simbel must wake up at 3:30
am in order to be driven through the desert in a large guarded van/bus convoy. Besides flying this is the only other way to go. What made it worse is that the clocks sprung forward for daylight savings time, so it really 2am. Well that wouldn't be the last super early wake up.
Abu Simbel was the temple that Ramses II built for himself and his favorite wife Nefertari. The temple actually had to relocated after the dam was built to avoid disapearing under the lake that formed. It took four years to dismantle it piece by piece and was quite a feat of engineering. We were all exhausted so slept on the bus ride back.
In the late afternoon some of us took a leisuly feluca ride and a bit of a swim in the Nile. I was afraid to jump in in case there were crocs but our guide said the crocs were all on the otherside of the dam in the lake. Now that I think about it who really knows if there are since the Nubian people have them as pets and they could be released in the river. Yikes we had two in the Chicago
River this past summer. Besides the crocs there is also a bacteria but since the water is very fast moving it wouldn't be a problem. The water was very cold but refreshing.
In the evening the group went to the sound and light show at Philae Temple. A bit cheesy & expensive but a different way of seeing the temples.
Some thoughts on Egypt & this trip since we now have a couple of days just sailing back to Luxor I have time to reflect:
The markets are quite intimidating butif you don't get annoyed and know what you want id can actually be quite fun. Just say la shokrun (no thank you) and they seem to leave you alone more quickly than saying it in english. Aswan has been my favorite so far, a very relaxing place. Sailing on the Nile is a must for anyone traveling to Egypt. our boat was smaller than the others which I ended up liking. We were doing the 7 day cruise but you can also do 3 or 4 days. The food is ok, not what I was expecting they used the same spice in everything. I did like the falafel
& shwarma. Nothing is free in Egypt, you are even charged for TP in public washrooms.
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