Early Morning...Late Night

Trip Start Dec 18, 2010
Trip End Jan 04, 2011

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Movinpick Cruise Ship - Ramses 1

Flag of Egypt  ,
Friday, December 31, 2010

It's been a good day of travel and sightseeing. Travel began early...1:30 am wake-up, 2:30 pick-up at the hotel. Had to catch a flight at 4:30 am to Abu Simbel (one-stop at Aswan...more on that later). Thought no one in their right mid would be up to catch a flight at that hour...well, when I went down to check out of the Rames Hilton, the place was crazy with people...many from a wedding reception complete with belly dancers still going on, and all sorts of people checking out.

Left our luggage with a bellman who immediately brought us three box breakfasts to go. Thought we were special until we got to the airport and found out every other hotel did the same thing. Met our man, Mohammed, who had not been asleep for 23 hours and he got us on our way to the airport. It was a 15 minute ride instead of 40 like it was coming in...much easier. Got to the airport, and it was hoppin' too! Guess many of the tourists flights leave for Abu Simbel at that hour. Mohammed got us to the gate and we bid him farewell until Monday when he'll meet us again back in Cairo.

We caught the flight from Cairo to Abu Simbel with a one-stop in Aswan. We later flew back to Aswan to get on the cruise ship. A few anxious moments when we landed in Aswan for the first time whether we were suppose to get off...most tourists didn't, so we asked...nope. Good call. About 40 people got off in Aswan, and 40 people got on to fly on to Abu Simbel. But the new 40 seats didn't match the old 40 seats, (they had issued two boarding passes to 40 people on the plane...an A320-200 which seats 145)...those poor people had to move to their new seats rather than just letting the new folks fill in the seats of the ones who got off...crazy! Glad we weren't one of them. And they wonder why airlines lose money!!! After the musical chairs, we flew the final 40 minutes to
Abu Simbel.

Abu Simbel has two beautiful temples...one for Ramses The Great (II) and his bride, Nefertari. Beautiful temples...great pictures (yea, yea, yea!) It's one of the best temples in Egypt. And it was completely dismantled, and raised 200 feet to accommodate the new High Aswan Dam in the 1960s. You can't tell they have been moved. Fantastic site.

But talk about the ultimate tourist trap....you fly from Cairo, stopping in Aswan for a few minutes, then on to Abu Simbel. You are literally at the site for 1:30 and then get back to the airport and fly back to Aswan. Crazy...but that's how it's done. Was a bit worried that our driver might not come back and pick us up like he said he would, but he was right on time!

Got to Aswan, met by our man, and he got us to the ship...Movinpick Ramses I. Nice river boat. Small number of people aboard...150 or so. Accommodations are a bit small, like most cruise ships, but, we'll manage. Lunch on board...very good.

Then we went sightseeing to a couple of places. We went to the old dam, the new Aswan Dam...made me wonder why the US didn't help them...because at the time Egypt was a dictatorship...bad move...they went to the USSR...maybe we could have made some friends here in the Middle East had we helped them.

Then we went to the Granite Quaries where the Egyptians mined their granite. They carved some great granite obelisks from this rock. This one is call the unfinished obelisk. Half way through digging it our of the quarry, it developed a huge crack and they abandoned it. Sandy and Laura were unimpressed...just a big broken rock. But I saw the beauty and possibilities...if it had been completed, it would have been the larges obelisk known to mankind...doomed by a crack! I'll bet somebody lost their secret decoder ring for that one!!!

Then on to a truly beautiful place. The temple of Isis on an island. Took the small boat out to it. What an amazing structure. Laura was very interested in it, as she had written a paper on Isis in undergrad school. Some great pics right at suset.

Did I tell you how much of a pain it is to have to tip everyone for everything...seems like everyone in Egypt wants a tip...even if you're a Tourist Police with your AK-47 and you take a picture of him...let me see, pay or die...yep, I'll pay...gladly...how much you need???!

Back to the boat...Laura crashed after being up almost 24 hours...Sandy napped and I tried to get both our phone and my iPad to work...hadn't been working all day. Phone...good....iPad...still bad. Had to rent time from the boat (ouch!) to get this out tonight.

Sandy and I had a great dinner in the dining area...Laura still slept. It's now, almost 11:00 PM Aswan time...only one more hour until 2011...9 more hours for you folks!!! Be that as it may,


Dave, Sandy and Laura

P.S. Running out of time...gotta go!
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