Sunday, October 31, 2010

Down the Nile: Aswan, Luxor, and back to Cairo!

Aswan: Cute town, our hotel rocked, pool and all.  Once we got there we were able to enjoy our first beer in what felt like forever!  Early to bed to be ready for our 6 hour journey to Abu Simbel the next day, where we had to wake up at 2:30am. Shit.
          We spent two nights in Aswan,  and one evening we went to an authentic Egyptian restaurant, delicious food, lots of meat, and dips, tahini, yogurt, hummus, babaganouj, it was probably one of the better meals we've had!
After that, we explored the Bazaar.  Everything in Egypt tends to open later and stay open late.  If you walk around at 2 in the afternoon, not much is open, 9 at night, the city is alive!  Mom bought some spices, which they tried to sell to her at 500 Egyptian Pounds, but was bargained down to 100.  That is the way of buying things here, you have to haggle!  Everywhere you go, men are bothering you to buy something, it's nice when you find a place where no one is asking you for baksheesh(tips)  or trying to sell you a scarf!  
The next cool thing we saw was Kitchner's Island, pretty much a garden island owned by some English Horticulturalist.  Many pretty flowers and trees.

HA!  Oh, man.  Not what anyone would have expected.  We were taken by bus to a random spot down the road.  Our guide gets out and leads us down the dirt embankment to a shitty little felucca.  It was small and dirty and had a huge futon-like mat on the deck was where we were to sit, sleep and eat for the the next day and a half.  !  As you could expect, my mom was a little more than pissed!
There were three people already on board, two French guys and a Korean girl, all very nice people and entertaining company.  At first, this quaint little boat seemed cute and intimate, until you had been sitting on it for a couple hours and your ass and back hurt. 
  I did get to practice my french which was a plus, for the .. umm 24 hours where all we had for entertainment was conversation!  Once the sun went down we floated to a bank and Nasser and his son, Ahmed made us all dinner, which we ate crosslegged in a circle.  We had pretty traditional food, tomato sauce with veggies over rice with pita.  Talked some religion and politics and went to bed.  It's funny to hear what foreigners think of Obama, most don't really like him. Which is interesting, they are saying what most Republicans are saying in the states, that he hasn't done a lot!
AWESOME sunset over the Nile, which was pretty cool!
That night was the coldest night ever!  It freezes in Egypt around one in the morning!  For bed they (Nasser and Ahmed) threw us some nasty looking blankets to keep warm, they seemed pretty thick so I didn't think anything of it... until I had to make a cocoon to keep from freezing to death!
The following day we were dropped off on the bank and picked up by a van, no AC. eck.  Turned out, we had gone like 100 meters from the place we got on the falucca..and ended up driving the rest to Luxor!  What a sham. 

Recap of the whole experience: "That was a fucking joke." in the words of my mother.

      Once we arrived in Luxor, we went to Queen Hatshepsut's Temple, which was sweet!  I was psyched to see something that monumental that I had learned about in Art History class freshman year! The story of a Queen who took over the kingdom after her husband died and didn't want her step-son to rule.  We visited the Valley of the Kings- over 70 discovered tombs under a natural pyramid, Colossi of Memnon, Karnak-the largest ancient temple in the world, and of course, the Temple of Luxor.
      On the last afternoon we had in Luxor we decided to go find a freaking pool.  It was so hot the further south you went!  *What was pretty cool, forgot to mention, when we drove all the way down to Abu Simble, we were about 50km away from the Sudan border! 
So, that afternoon we strolled into a fancy hotel and went straight for the lounge chairs, grabbed some towels, fibbed a room number and had a very relaxing afternoon at some expensive hotel we didn't have to pay for!

And no honking allowed in Luxor, we need these signs in The States.

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