Aswan on.

Trip Start Mar 23, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Egypt  ,
Tuesday, April 11, 2006

At 4am 12 of us found ourselves in a mini-bus heading to Abu-Simbel.

Abu Simbel was commissioned by Ramsesses II & is 2 temples carved into a mountain/ roc face. Since the dam was built the whole site was carefully cut into sections and moved to higher ground. Men who actually did move a mountain. (well most of it).

After a small explanation from our guide we had a look around. You are only allowed to take photographs of the outside facade of the temples otherwise the flash would damage the colour of the inside wall paintings etc. I never actually knew that there was more to Abu Simbel than the main facade of the 4 Ramsesse's (egotistical bastard!) Inside were images of Ramsesses II, Gods, Goddesses etc (I think I'm a little templed out). Also in the inner chamber were statues of 4 gods.

The smaller temple was dedicated to R II's wife (obviously her not being Pharaoh meant she was only able to get a smaller temple.) I ended up loosing the group so I walked around for a bit before going back to the meeting place and was mundane a read for a bit (there are only so many pictures you can take of the facades!).

We made the 3 hour drive back to Aswan- some of which I kept thinking I saw blue sand out the window, I must have slept more that I reaslised on the mini-bus. At one point our guide woke us all up to see a mirage. In the distance was what looked like a large section of water but what it really was is the silica in the sand. If I had been more awake I would have taken a photo.

After crawling back into the hotel I decided to go on a 1hr camel safari (I can't have been awake enough to think). I am not fond of riding horses so I'm not sure what I was thinking. We caught a boat across the Nile from the back of the hotel. We were meeting our camels and guides on the West bank. I was in too much shock to squeal or scream when my camel got up- bum end first, then head end. I haven't clung onto anything as much as I did to the knob on the saddle of the camel (I can't remember its name, we were introduced though.) I was given its lead rope to hold on, not that I'd know what to do with it anyway other than maybe make it turn left which was the side the rope was on. Luckily my guide (about 15 I think and smoking the whole time) didn't push my camel into going too fast that often.

That was all a really bizarre experience. I thought I was going to fall off a couple of ties but I made it to the end still clinging to the saddle knob. I pity Mark and Richard who came along since the saddle can't have been too comfortable for them (it was bad enough for me). We all dismounted after our two kneed beast knelt down, head first this time. (if you didn't lean back enough you hit the knob on the saddle in a very back way - don't wear a back pack while doing this.) I walked a bit funny after this when i first got off but I think everyone else did too.

Once back in the hotel again I was inspired t go off and have a look at the botanical gardens- another short boat ride away on a little island. (I was beyond being sleepy at this point, probably on auto-pilot.) The garden was a nice break and pretty. The cats at the cafe were cute, but rather anerixic. (They like ice cream and chocolate i found out.) One cat even wanted to play with the teddy-bear key ring on my bag.

Soon after we got back to the hotel the whole group was off again (just Sam, Christi, me and 2 others went to the garden.) We were on a boat once more across to the West Bank to have dinner with a Bedoin family (the extended family of the boat & felluca captains). I would say the family was great company but they didn't eat with us (they never do) but they were great hosts, the food was wonderful too. Kumuka has been using the families boats for the last 9 years or so now.
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