Travel Journal

Aswan

(Saturday 1 January 2011) by Mike and Julie's sort of round the world trip
Day 131-32 – 12/13-12/14/10
We arrived at Aswan a little before ten and made our way to Paradise Hotel talking to a guide/tout along the way to get a reference of prices for tours. At the hotel we had to change rooms four times to get most of what we wanted to work. We talked to the hotel tour guide and decided to sign up for the Abu Simbel and got information on a two night felucca trip but I told the guide I’d need to see the boat before paying which wouldn’t be a problem.
We walked around the town and the riverbank where I tried to gauge prices for the boat at the latter and we searched for food at the former. We ran into problems at several vendors where they would charge us more than the locals. One person was going to buy a sandwich for us at the normal price but the cook refused to sell it to us. Other places we had to haggle just to pay twice the local price. This was rather annoying.
At the hotel, I paid the clerk for the day trip to Abu Simbel which was 70 EP and we could have spent another 5 EP to include local sites but we would be returning later than the departure time for the felucca. I met the guide again who could not show me the boat but agreed I could pay after seeing the craft and he would pick us up after the Abu trip. We went over what was covered by the 200 EP which was two nights on the boat, 6 meals and then a van trip down to Luxor with stops at two sites on the way. The hotel was to give us a wake up call at 2:45 AM but we set our alarm just in case.
Of course there was no wake up call as the phone in the room didn’t work but the alarm got us up and we were just finishing dressing and packing when there was a knock at the door. It was our wake-up knock telling us we had five minutes till we had to leave! We left our bags at the front desk and got in the van which, after picking up at a couple more hotels, drove and parked at the queue. Travel to Abu Simbel requires a police/army escourt still but it is really more a formality now. After waiting for enough buses to join us we left with a pickup truck with two soldiers in it. Within five minutes the pickup was gone and we headed unescourted south.
Julie napped a bit on the way there which took a couple of hours. There is not much to see going there and we were let off in the parking lot and told to return in an hour. We happened to run
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across Yi again (we had seen him on the train as well to Aswan) and got some photos of each other. The massive Great Temple of Ramses II is incredible. The visitor center also has a very good film and documentation of the massive effort to move the temple as the dam was being built which flooded the original location.
The Temple of Hathor next door is equally impressive. Photographs are prohibited within the temple and I saw several cases of guards examining cameras inside the temples to make sure any pictures taken were deleted. A guard at the Ramses would let you take photos at the entrance way if you tipped him but when one tourist refused to tip him he began yelling for the police who just laughed at him. It’s a pity we couldn’t take any pictures because it was very colorful with amazing hyroglophic inside.
We returned to the hotel and waited for the tour guide for a bit before having the hotel call him. His “brother” showed up instead and was going to take us to the boat and could we pay him now for the one night trip? What? We told him we had a two night trip but he said there was no such thing. I told him, no that two night was the normal trip and I could show him my guidebook which says so. Oh, yes there are two day trips but the boat had already been out one day but the price was still 200 EP. When I complained, he shrugged and said take it or leave it. It was too late to try booking another trip for that day and if we postponed it for a day it would cause some problems so we had him drive us to the boat which was about seven kilometers out of town (they really don’t sail very far) and after determining the boat was seaworthy (riverworthy?), I grudgingly paid him the full fare which he was still surprised I was upset about.
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Onboard there were three travelers who had started out the previous day: Robbie, a Bangladesian who lived in London, Daniel from Switzerland, and a Korean surprisingly called Kim. There had been another couple that left with them but had decided to leave a day early because it was too cold at night which the three agreed that even with their sleeping bags it had gotten very cold. Hmmm, Julie and I have no sleeping bag – this might be a problem!
That afternoon was a lazy day on the Nile as the “Captain” and “First Mate” tacked back and forth. The meals were rather simple eggs, tomato, bread and then pasta for dinner. At night, we built a campfire on the beach, drank cheap brandy and Julie showed the boys how dominos really is played and then went to sleep. The captain had borrowed a few thin, dirty blankets and we had put on multiple layers of clothes and we huddled together for warmth. I got maybe two or three hours of sleep while Julie didn’t sleep at all. One of my compasses has a thermometer but I didn’t think to look at it till after sunrise when it showed 42 degrees. I think that explains why we didn’t see any other boats camping for the night. If we did have the trip booked for two nights, there is no way we would have spent a second night onboard. If we had time, we should have taken a three night river cruise down the Nile.
We docked and said our goodbyes to the Captain and crew – who were really nice but unfortunately work for cheap bastards. We got in a van with some landlubbers and headed south. The first stop was the Temple of Sobek & Haroeris at Kom Ombo
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which looked impressive from the outside but wasn’t very big so we passed on paying the entrance fee and admired it from behind the gate.
The next stop was the Temple of Horus at Edfu which is perhaps the most complete temple in Egypt. This we did pay the 50 EP to enter and spent an hour marveling at the architecture and interior of the temple. Photos were allowed here.
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Then it was onward to Luxor.

  • Wonderfull by Nellie d mom
  • message from julie by Julies Friend
  • message from julie by Julies Friend


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