Temple Hopping and Egyptian Nights

Trip Start Dec 09, 2005
Trip End Jan 01, 2006

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Flag of Egypt  , Aswān,
Monday, December 19, 2005

December 18, 2005: Went to Philae (feel - a)Temple on an island about seven miles outside the main city of Aswan. After the Aswan Dam was built but before the construction of the High Dam, the Temple of Isis at Philae was submerged for about half the year. However, Philae Island would have been totally submerged under Lake Nasser. The Temple was moved to Agliqiya Island in the 1970's, and it baffles me how they were able to move such a huge structure.

It was a beautiful temple, with large columns and, of course, lots of hieroglyphics. We learned that the construction of the temples followed a typical structure, which sounded similar to the construction of the temple the children of Israel built in biblical descriptions - a fašade, outer court, inner court, vestibules and the holy of holies. Very interesting.

On the way back from Philae Temple Michael said he wanted to steer the little boat back to Aswan. And as he approached the captain of our small boat to ask if he could he drive us back, I was almost certain the Nubian man wouldn't understand a word he said. But much to my surprise, after a few minutes of speaking with the captain, Michael actually had his hands on the wheel. He has no shame in asking people for things. That cracks me up. The other guests aboard the boat looked surprised too, as Michael stood there actually steeling the boat along the waterway back to the landing dock. One gentleman even asked me how Michael was able to drive back and I told him that he just asked. Truly an adventure and another first for Michael. Now he can actually say he's sailed or piloted a vessel on the Nile river even though it only took about 15 minutes. I have to hand it to Michael, he's not afraid to step forward and get into the local mix and experience the culture at hand.

On the way back to the ship, we stopped at a papyrus institute, where we learned how they make this ancient paper from the stem of the papyrus plant. They strip it, smash the starch out of it, smash it and let it dry in a cris-cross fashion and then are able to paint or write on it. A pretty interesting process that takes from 2 to 4 weeks.
We made it back to the ship just in time to set sail from Aswan, headed for Kom Ombo (Michael pronounces this "Columbo"), where we visited yet another temple. Breathtaking yet again, this one sat on a hillside near the Nile River and featured lots of chambers and a lovely view of the small village below. It was the perfect backdrop for the evening, which was themed, Egyptian Nights.   All of the passengers and crew dressed up in our galabeya outfits (loose fitting long robes, some with head wraps or scarves, others wearing beaded head coverings). Everyone looked great, and I must say, Michael and I looked marvelous. Everyone said we looked like a king and queen.
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globetrotters on

Re: tour guide
Ha, ha. Very funny. Actually, that was Uncle Mike. So who sent this?

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