Sunday, August 12, 2012
Aswan, August 10/12
We got up early and had a lovely buffet breakfast at the hotel. My hubby and Graham are still complaining about their leg muscles. Cameron seems to be fine.
While staff transports our luggage, we grab a boat across to Aswan where we meet our guide Sayed and driver. No body guard today.
We hopped into our van and they took us to the unfinished obelisk. This obelisk was cut into the quarry rock for Queen Hatshepsut and would have been the tallest one in the world at about 40 metres if it hadn’t cracked. The poor workers just ended up leaving all their work and starting a new smaller one. In ancient Egypt, obelisks had the same job as church towers or miniarettes.
As I write this, I hear the calls to prayer from outside my window.
Back in the van, we passed the British Dam before heading to the Aswan Dam. When this dam was created in the 1960s it caused the largest lake in the world to be created. It is called Lake Nasser. We travelled through a military check point to get to the dam.
Yesterday, we passed through many check points on our way to Abu Simbel.
Apparently, now there are only Nile crocodiles left above this dam.
Then it was onto the famous Temple of Philae. This temple was moved from Philae Island to another island by UNESCO when they created the Dam. This temple was dedicated to the goddesses Isis and Hathor.
We went to and from the island on a motor boat.
We then went to our cruise on the Sonnesta St. George. The Nile cruises are all smaller boats, not like the big monstrosities that ply the Carribbean. There are 49 suites on our boat. From the outside, the boat has lovely, ornate grillwork across each of the sliding glass doors of the suites. The inside has a luxurious old world, intimate charm. There are only four floors and a huge,sparkling crystal chandelier hangs throughout the middle. It is totally charming.
Our suite has a full window/sliding glass doors on one side and is very spacious with a desk, sitting area, king size bed, large closet and a great bathroom with a Jacuzzi/shower that has coloured lights.
The main restaurant is at water level and there is also a luxurious lounge/show area, a piano lounge, a few shops, beauty/spa area and a fabulous sun deck where you can watch life on the Nile drift by on both sides.
After a buffet lunch, we rested up and I did some wash. I know this isn’t classy, but the sun was so hot that I did a bit of laundry and hung it out on our ornate grillwork to dry. It only took a half an hour for some pieces. Unfortunately, one pair of Cameron’s boxers blue off and floated down the Nile.
At 4pm we met Sayed again and he took us to a boat dock where we had our own motor boat (and Captain). The Captain and his first mate looked to be about 12 or 13 years old, but they drove the boat with skill and experience.
On our way to the Nubian Village, we passed The Old Cataract hotel, the first cataract and the tomb of Agha Khan and his wife. We watched people riding camels up to the village.
When we arrived to the village, we had to walk over a board to get onto land. Then we went to a Nubian house where two families lived. All the houses in the village were made of mud and had curved rooftops.
In the courtyard of the house they had a tank with two stressed looking baby crocodiles. Then there was a pit with two bigger separated crocodiles. The largest one was eleven years. A Nubian older guy would poke a stick in to make the crocodile snap for the tourists.
We felt sad for the reptiles….the Nubian guy took the baby crocodiles out and put them in tourists hands and on their heads. One of the baby’s jumped out of Cameron’s hand and ran for the side of the courtyard but the handler caught him. He was also going to take the big crocodile out. Hmmmm. Our guide didn’t think it was a good idea. The Nubian man was missing a finger because of an unfortunate crocodile incident.
A lady was doing some really neat henna tattoos. Of course I had to have one.
After some pops, it was time to head back to the boat. We all sat on the roof of the boat for a thoroughly comfortable breezy ride back to our boat.
After cleaning ourselves up, we went to the boat cocktail party, then dinner and ended the night with a Nubian show.
This boat is fabulous.