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If you're not haggling...

Aswan Travel Blog

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learning all the secrets

...you're not actually in Egypt.  I swear I have never met a people less willing to give you a straight answer.  Everything involves a wheel-n-deal type of interaction.  It can be quite tiring.

Our train arrived late, about 10:30am, so we were rushed on our sightseeing list of Aswan.  At the hotel we hired a car to ake us around three main sights: the Unfinished Obelisk, the Temple of Philae, and the High Dam of Aswan.  Hiring a car is the same as paying for cabs to ach of those places, and a lot less hassle.

The Unfinished Obelisk is a huge piece of carved granite that's still stuck in the ground.

all kinds of unfinished
  While being carved it was found to have a flaw and they just left it all there.  It's said to be he largest single piece of sone carved ever...I don't know about that. 

What I do know is that Aswan is incredibly hot- which would be great if it was winter.  But it's not- it's May and H O T.  Saudi, Jordan, and Cairo have been having a spell of nice weather... I guess we go a little spoiled.

The Temple of Philae is lovely.  It's all alone on an island (it was actually moved from its original island when the valley flooded due to the damming of the Nile) and a sweet spot to look at.  Unforunantly hiring a boat to take you there is anything but sweet.  The damn boat drivers charged us more han our enrance ticket- and that was after 10 minues of haggling!  Ugh- too hot for this kind of drama.

boat ride of goodness
  Thankfully the temple is serene...

After disembarking from our return trip to the shore we looked for our driver.  Walked around the courtyard and looked, walked up the hill and looked, walked back down the hill and looked again.  No driver.  He left us- and did I mention that it was hot?  Heat and agressive haggling don't mix very well so we just called it a day, sucked up the loss and took a taxi back to our hotel.  Missing the High Dam is no big deal- it's a just really big dam.

The Hotel apologized and reimbursed us for our taxi ride.  Very nice of them.  After a nap we went out to dinner- the heat had no abaed one little bit.  Dinner was relaxing (today is my birthday) and we walked along the Corniche (Arabic word for "road along the water") bazaar, looking at the jewelry shops.

ancient Chrisitian grafiti
 

I found one place that seemed nice and had a cute pendant of a lotus on it- lotus being the symbol of Upper Egypt (remember, in Egypt south is up).  The store is owned by a Christian man and his family.  Admiring his daughter's shirt I asked where she got it, through some interesting gesticulations/broken English translating I learned that it was a gift from her sister's fiance- and that she would take me to his shop to make sure I got a god price.  Finally!  Some honest-to-goodness generosity...

Mary introduced us to Daniel who introduced us to Phillip who introduced us to Faraz (the Bible names were a little shocking at first, but they are all Egyptian Coptics and Catholics)- who did give us a good deal on pretty shirts.  The night ended on a high note and I went to bed feeling much better.

karulm says:
This blog made me smile. Memmorries. I really love Aswan, and yes, it was HOT when we visited and it was only early June. I was sure I had entered the bowels of hell, but it was so worth it. Glad to hear that it all worked out after all. :)
Posted on: May 24, 2007
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learning all the secrets
learning all the secrets
all kinds of unfinished
all kinds of unfinished
boat ride of goodness
boat ride of goodness
ancient Chrisitian grafiti
ancient Chrisitian grafiti
if only I could read ancient Egypt…
if only I could read ancient Egyp…
i think theyre meant to represent…
i think they're meant to represen…
Temple of Philae
Temple of Philae
inside the sacred sanctuary
inside the sacred sanctuary
Aswan
photo by: Vikram