Monday, October 31, 2005
I am in Aswan right now. It is a very beautiful city.The train ride here was long and for the most part, without incident. It left Cairo at 10 pm and arrived here at about 10 am. In my cabin, there was an Irish family... Seamus, Margeurite and their son, a creepy Egyptian man (Ahmed the judge), and a Sudanese guy, Fadhi. The Irish are staying in the same hotel as I am so I see them around a bit. After arriving, I was instructed on my itinerary (the basics) and then had some time to settle in. I left at 1:30 on a trip to see a few things. The old dam and the High Dam were not much to see, really, but they are very important. The High Dam creates enough power for all of Egypt. Then I saw the Philae temple. It was originally on a different island but was moved after it was flooded by the old dam. A lot of temples and such here were moved because of the dams.When I got back, Margeurite was in the lobby of the hotel waiting for the guys. I spent the rest of the day with them. We went to Biti Pizza for dinner. Seamus insisted on paying. Then we went for a walk through the market where I bought a nice pair of silver Nubian made earrings. We tried to get into the Nubian museum (the book said it was open until 9 pm) but it closed at 3. So, we went to the Old Cataract Hotel, where part of the Agatha Christie movie "Death on the Nile" was filmed. There was a minimum charge of 55 EP for non residents. We had a couple of beer while watching the Nile float by. Seamus again insisted on paying for everything.This morning I got up at 2:30 am to have a shower and get ready. I had breakfast at 3:15 and then was picked up at about 3:45. Every morning at 4, a tour bus convoy organized by the police leaves Aswan for Abu Simbel. It is about a 3 hour bus ride to the site. Abu Simbel was moved due to flooding from the dam. You should know what Abu Simbel is... The giant statues of Ramses II carved into the side of a rock cliff, on either side of the entrance to the temple. If you saw the pictures, you would know what I am talking about. There are two temples there. I had about 1.5 hours to walk around and then it was back on the bus for the convoy back.When I got back I walked all the way from my hotel to the Nubian Museum. It is quite a long walk. I only had about 45 minutes to see the museum. I would have liked to have had more time, as I was very rushed. Then I went down behind the museum to look around the old cemetary. I will try to send some info about that later. For the sunset, I walked all the way up to the Nubian House, a restaurant/teahouse. From there, I had a great view of the Nile valley and of the sunset. Beautiful. I left there after dark. Not great thinking on my part, as a lot of the way has no lights. Nothing happened, though. They guys at the restaurant thought I was crazy for walking, though, and not taking a taxi. Taxis are not plentiful up that way. Walking up, I saw about 2 cars pass and about 2 or 3 people only. It seemed almost deserted. Tomorrow I will go to the two main islands in Aswan.