The blog is not finished! But after the Theft (yes, capital letters), the want/need to update the blog took second fiddle to dealing with the Theft and just finishing the trip sans computer. Since being home, it's been hard to get that motivation to complete it. But I will. Ever so slowly. Please be patient!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sunrise to Sunset

The following takes place on Day 190, June 5, 2011

I am not a morning person. Far from it. So when I realized that the second day of the tour required us to be awake and in the lobby by 5am, I was not a happy camper. I am much more of a night owl and have a hard time forcing myself asleep before midnight. But in order to get to the temple of Abu Simbel on the shores of Lake Nasser before it got too unbearably hot, we had to leave by 5:30am at the latest.

It used to be that in order to go there, one needed a police escort the entire way. They seem to have disposed of this in favour of a simpler stop check. If you go to Abu Simbel, your bus stops, the police take account of all who are on it, give the driver a form and then, after the tour in Abu Simbel, another stop check checks to make sure you didn’t take on any additional passengers. Mainly, illegal immigrants from the Sudan which is just across the water from the temple.

The three hour drive was not the most comfortable as the driver didn’t bother turning on the air conditioning at all. Even at six in the morning, the temperature was already reaching into the mid-30s(Celsius).

IMG_7575Abu Simbel itself is another temple that had been painstakingly moved up a hill in order to protect it from the rising waters created with the building of the Aswan High Dam. This one was an even more spectacular feat as the temple itself, and its sister temple beside it, were carved right into the side of a cliff. To move it, they had to literally cut the mountain into blocks and move it piece by piece.

We had no official guide for this temple so my knowledge of what I was seeing is fairly limited.IMG_7594 From what I know, the temple was created by Ramses II, with the sister temple for his wives and children. It’s been used in many movies throughout the years. My sister would recognize it from the movie The Mummy Returns as it was used as the entrance to where the Scorpion King lived.

I have no excuse as to how I know and remember that.

We were given plenty of time to explore both temples, both inside and out. There was even a IMG_7584wonderful exhibit set up in a building close to the entrance of the site showcasing how the task of moving the temples was undertaken. It’s hard to even fathom the work that had to be done to succeed. My hat comes off for everyone that was involved.

Sadly, once again, I was unable to take photos inside the temple but at least this time they never confiscated the camera.

IMG_7632The driver gave us four hours to explore the site before we were meant to get back on the bus. Four hours was definitely a sufficient amount of time. Probably even a bit more than one needed. We managed to see everything including the exhibit without feeling as though we were rushed. So by the time the bus opened its doors, we had been ready to head off for about half an hour.

Back in Aswan we had about forty minutes to pick up some beer and water and snacks before we were driven down to the docks where the five of us(Mick, Vitaly, Arnold, Ying, and myself) boarded a traditional Egyptian boat called a felucca. We would be spending the rest of the day and the night on this wide, wind-powered, boat.

IMG_7644The ride was beyond peaceful. We weren’t moving particularly fast, zig-zagging down the river at the mercy of the wind, but we still had a pretty good pace. For the most part we lazed around on the mattresses that had been set up and either napped, stared out over the water, or read. As the sun was beginning to get lower in the sky, our navigator grounded us on a large sand dune where we got the opportunity to spend a good hour swimming around in the Nile River.

IMG_7663It was surprisingly clean. Compared to the portion of the river in Cairo, this was meticulously clean. It got really deep quite fast and the current flowed at a decent knot. Having forgotten my swimmers back in Cairo as I never suspected we’d be swimming, I just stripped to my undies and dived in. I’m glad I did. After the heat from the day(it got up to about 50 degrees Celsius), diving into the chilly waters of the Nile was perfect.

IMG_7679When we had had our fill, we clambered back onto the boat and rode for another hour or so, watching the sunset behind the hills on the west side of the river. We docked on the river bank, enjoyed a wonderful meal by candle light, and spent the rest of the evening playing cards(which had me losing a total of 10 Egyptian pounds before winning it all back). With the multitude of stars twinkling above us, we each laid ourselves out on the boat and fell asleep.


  1. nice pics, but omg that is very hot!

  2. Haha, thanks Heather! I'm going to die when I get back to Canada after experiencing this heat. -40 is going to be so cold!