Our second official day of rest, and we choose to spend it traveling all day to visit a couple more temples. Ben thinks I am nuts, and maybe I am, but when you are so close...? That was my excuse all trip.
The convoy for Abydos and Dendara leaves at 8am like all convoys, but this time we were in a very nice, leather-seated, Corolla. Our travel agency didn't know why we didn't want a larger vehicle, but the seats were much more comfortable.
Having felt like we had heard enough of the basics from the tour guides, we decided to do it on our own, and by "on our own" I mean we still had a driver. Amed, was extremely friendly but it was the first time we were in a situation were there wasn't someone who was fluent in both English and Arabic. It was the first time we took out the phrase book and tried to make small talk. Most sentences ended in peels of laughter from all sides. Amed was trying to explain how he wasn't sure how to explain future days in English and always ends up saying "after after after tomorrow." Thinking I was clever, and knowing the words for after and tomorrow in Arabic, I tried to mimic him by saying "bad bad bad bokra." I didn't think it was that funny, but it kept him in stitches the rest of the day, and he would mumble it to himself at different intervals.
Abydos was definitely worth the trek. The carvings were some of the best we had seen, but we didn't feel that we needed the two hours they had given us to explore.
Seeking refuge from the sun, we left the temple and entered the "refreshment" area which was a single guy with a cooler asking an exorbitant price for Coke because the tourists in the convoy were meant to leave the well-guarded compound. Having more than an hour to kill, we decided to attempt to convince a solitary guard of letting us out. It worked, but only because it was just the two of us.
We crossed the street to a small vendor's stall, and were made to feel like we had made the ladies day, or maybe month. She spoke some English, and took great pride in getting us a Coke (much better price) and pulling a couple chairs in the shade.
I commented on the heat to make small talk, but she decided that her house was a much more comfortable place to rest and invited us around the corner to her home. Once there it was clear that it was much more bearable. Situated right beside an off-shoot of the Nile for irrigation, there was plenty of shade from fruit trees and a surprising breeze. Before we knew it, we had met her new puppy Rex, her friend who didn't speak English, got a tour of her home, including her room, bedroom suite, and some special clothes from Germany. We visited for the whole time we had left, enjoying her company, enthusiasm and tea. When it was time to go, we purchased a few souvenirs from her shop and posed for pictures.
I love meeting people. You never know what kind of experience you will have when you step out, and challenge the usual path with a friendly heart and open mind. People who load into buses built for 60 other people miss some of the best parts of traveling...