Saturday, 29 March 2008

Egypt

Well Egypt was memoriable for several reasons, the camel that ran away with me, the hot air balloon ride over the Valley of the Kings, the non-stop hassel from the traders, the beauty of the Nile in the early morning light and the heat. It was their Winter and we were expecting temperatures of around 24-27 degrees C but we were the lucky recipients of a heat wave. It never dropped below 37C and reached 46degrees at midday in the Valley of the Kings. The heat took its toll on me, my poor lungs couldn't cope with the dry, dusty atmosphere and I'm afraid the last few days were spent prone in my cabin with the air conditioning going full blast. Still I did actually enjoy the holiday, despite my lungs.
Our guide assured us all that the camels were slow and we would have plenty of time to admire the beauty of the Nubian desert before we arrived in the Nubian village. Wrong!! mine stood still for a photo and then took off at a fast trot with me clinging on for dear life. I have the bruises to show for it but you don't really want to know where the bruises are.


We were offered hospitality after the ride at this Nubian home, the best in the village so we were told. This is the daughter of the house, I must say they were all very beautiful people. The lady who owned the house told us of her daily life and answered any questions (via an intepreter) we wanted to put to her. Afterwards she told us to wander where we will and have a good look around. All the doors had hand prints above them, sign of good luck, so now I'm going to think twice about wiping the dirty finger prints from my doors.


We got up at 3:00am to travel 270miles to Abu Simbel (about 25 miles off the border with Sudan) This is the temple of Rameses II and there is a smaller one next door dedicated to his wife. This photo was taken at 7:30am and the temperature was up in the high thirties already.All the temple decorations have lost their colour and much of the stone bas reliefs are damaged. The temples were originally several hundred feet further east which is part of Lake Nasser. They moved the temples to their new position when they built the new High Dam at Aswan.

Whenever you travel by public transport in Egypt you go in a convoy with an armed guard. The convoys leave Luxor/Aswan etc at set times and travel in groups of 200 or 300 buses. We found this very odd but the locals take it for granted.

Even travelling along the Nile there will be lots of boats around, you are never truly alone.

This is a typical view of the river bank, this one is looking towards the Nubian Desert (in the distance). Lots of wildlife on the riverbanks if you look for it. The fertile strip on both sides of the Nile varies from a few feet to a mile or two after that there's nothing but desert. No wonder they think of the Nile as a god.

Spent a lot of time looking at temples but to be truthful after a while they began to merge. The boat was a bit shabby but very clean and we were very well looked after, too well sometimes. Spent one day on deck sunbathing and sitting in the pool after that it was too hot. Glad we went in Winter, not sure how we would have coped in their summer.

4 comments:

Angelcat said...

I've always wanted to go to Egypt but the heat thing really puts me off I know I'd be no good. Love the picture of you on the camel!

Jocelyn in NZ said...

Oooohhhh, thank you for posting these photos and your comments about Egypt. My husband and I are planning a trip there next April, so I was excited to see your post! We are wanting to do the Nile cruise too, and go to Abu Simbel - oh dear, reading your post has made me so excited, and I have a whole year to wait!!!
Jocelyn

Susan D said...

I've always wanted to go to Egypt so thank you for sharing your trip with us. Did you see the fascinating programme on Channel 5 a few weeks ago on how they moved Abu Simbel?

MargaretR said...

I did enjoy your Egyptian report and I almost missed it. I would have hated that. It must be almost 20 years since I went there and had to travel in a convoy of about 4 coaches. It must be busier now. A rather frightening experience with the soldiers trucks and guns and the watch towers. I didn't venture on a camel as I go seasick anyway :)the children smiling and waving in the streets of cairo made a lasting impression on me and they weren't begging. They are lovely people IMO. So it was the heat that brought on your asthma then?