Convoys & calamitous air con
Trip Start Jun 07, 2010
88Trip End May 11, 2011
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As was the case ten years ago, doing this fourteen hour stretch during the night remains the best option. However, as was not the case ten years ago, we are going first class. Why? I'm not too sure... from what I remember second class was perfectly adequate and from glancing through the windows, actually looks better... at least I couldn't see any glass on the floor there!
One thing that can be said for this journey however, is that it may be 45 degrees outside (probably even at night) but inside the train..
Venturing down as far south that you are practically on the Sudanese border does provide a swift reminder of the intense heat that this part of the world is capable of... so much so that in order to get to the temple of Abu Simbel and avoid the extreme temperatures, departure time is at three in the morning!!!
Just as you feel your eyes are finally shut and you're out for the count your alarm is going off...
However, in these parts, starting at this time of the morning is also one of Egypts biggest shows... The police convoy!!! This is where truckloads of bleary eyed foreigners are all put in the same place and told to sit tight for a couple of hours until all of a sudden one of the police cars make a move and everyone is off to follow in single file for the next hours.
This, in truth only lasts about ten minutes and then you're all on your own... making the whole thing a bit of a time wasting farce but gives the impression of protecting the delicately poised tourism in this country... hence, one of their biggest shows!
Nonsense aside, Abu Simbel is most definitely worth it and having not quite having made it last time, you can't help but feel pleased to have endured 14 hours in a moving freezer and then a further three hours as sitting ducks in Egypts questionable protection techniques.