Free the Nile
Aswan Travel Blog› entry 82 of 151 › view all entries
We made it to the train station with actual tickets and ended up meeting two guys from Illinois on the train traveling separately. One is an engineer who also quit his job to travel for 6 mos. He keeps saying that everything is much crazier in India. Can't wait for that...anyway he has been traveling with us ever since.
Speaking of crazy, I am uncovering some of the meaning behind what appears to be total disorder on the roads. No one drives with their headlights on at night. Headlights are more a means of communication rather than a way to illuminate the road plus the cars are so crappy here they cannot run with the lights on very long. Each flicker of the light means something different, as do the different honks. Hazards are used to signal heavy traffic up ahead to those behind you.
More importantly though, I made it to Aswan. The first afternoon we took a ferry over to Elephantine Island to visit Nubian Villages - at least that is what the LP guidebook says we should do there. Instead we ended up walking around in their garbage looking at their dillusional sheep and goats with massive balls. OK, we did meet some of the locals, watched them do their laundry in the Nile and let these boys lead us around until an elder chased them off. However, we did not exactly see the draw to the island so we grabbed another ferry and headed back for an early night as we had a very early wake-up call.
The main reason for heading down to Aswan is to get to Abu Simbel where Ramses II's Temple is located along with a smaller one for his wife Nefertari. The drive from Aswan is about three hours and the location dangerously close to the Sudan border so all tours go in a convoy. This meant we had to get up at 3 a.m. to meet the rest of the tour buses at 4 a.m. arriving at 7 a.m. when the temples open. It is also cooler for sight-seeing at that time as Aswan and further south is super hot still this time of year. The temples were amazing! The size is overwhelming. They are located on the edge of Lake Nasser, but were actually moved when the dam was built to control the Nile (our new slogan is Free the Nile).
On return back to Aswan at about 1 p.m. we also checked out the Philae Temple on an island nearby. We met another guy from Connecticut who is also studying at AUC and studying Arabic so he was useful to have along to negotiate the cabs and so forth.
So far we haven't slept much in Egypt. There is far too much to see and sight-seeing is better done in the early morning hours when the heat is not at its peak.