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Like kids in a candy store....

Aswan Travel Blog

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The Nile - Aswan

Because my travel buddy and I only had time for a few days in Aswan last year, I was longing to go back. There is not much to 'do' there and, for most people, Aswan is merely a stopover on their way to the infamous Abu Simbel. But for me, Aswan possesses a welcome 'quiet' that speaks of times past. The Nile is at its most picturesque here, and my favorite pastime is getting on a felucca and just letting the wind and water carry me away.

This year, however, I decided to get a bit more out of my stay and visit a Nubian village to distribute pens, coloring books, crayons and candy to the local children. Unfortunately, there are no pictures from that adventure because it quickly went from "Where are all the kids? Don't be shy.

Nubian Masks.
Here you go, and one for your brother too," to "Drop the bag and run!!!" We were bombarded! Thank goodness I had the foresight to take along two Egyptian friends who were able to police the situation after one little boy practically elbowed me in the chest en route to a Snickers bar.  I finally just eased my way out the crowd and let the kids have a go at my friend, the human pinata.  The worst weren't even the kids; they were the grandmothers whose kids were at school. They had to make sure they got their share!  Kids followed us all the way to the boat, pointing out friends who had missed out and I finally had to turn the bag inside out and shrug. The looks on their faces as they chomped away were priceless though, as were the gap toothed smiles of their parents.
View from a Nubian house - 2006

Then it was time to get back on the boat.  WHY our felucca captain didn't keep a plank ON BOARD is beyond me.  My friends looked around for a piece of wood up to the task, while I dropped my now empty bag over my neck and shoulders smiling exasperatingly at the Nubian captain who was teasingly waving at me going 'Y'alla!'  (Let's go!) Umm yeah, no pressure whatsoever.  Finally, when nothing suitable was found, the three men had to rig a kind of human pulley system. I managed to get my leg up onto the boat (heck, I was damn proud of that; it was a big boat!) then one of my friend had to push on my hips with enough force to hoist me up, while still trying to be respectful.  The other pushed my shoulders and the felucca captain caught me on the landing.

The Nile in Aswan at dusk.
Very, very sexy and the epitome of grace. :-)  I spent 5 mins after we all stopped laughing thinking I should have passed on that second helping of bread at lunch....but then I came to my senses; I mean it's not like any of them broke a sweat or anything. :-)

Back to the Sara Hotel for a shower and a nap, while the guys went off to take care of some business and get me my Nubian music, then dinner at the Nubian House Restaurant for the 'meatball oven' I'd been fiending for since my last trip. What a disappointment! Was it the regular cook's day off?? Gone was the spicy Nubian kick that had put my sinuses to the test the year before. They were regular Ragu-like stuff. Ugh.  Oh well, at least I had the view. I just soaked it in, sighing periodically while my friend kept the stray cats away.

I HATE cats (sorry, cat lovers.) I decided to FINALLY laugh in the face of bird flu, and try a bit of pigeon for the first time. I'm not sure if the pigeon was a pre-mee or if it had shrunk (a lot) in the cooking process, but my friend burst out laughing after the waiter had left, and promised me a PROPER meal. His mom would cook it he said, and he called her right then and there to purchase the pigeons for the next day.  Not sure what happened with the food this time around, but I'll keep going back if for the views only.

Still later, some of the WORST belly dancing I've ever seen in my life. This, at Sara Hotel's entertainment tent. Just horrid, with singing to match but it was some of the most fun I've ever had, if only for the comedic aspect.

  We had A LOT of fun, with the guys threatening to tip the 'Dina wannabe' so she could please just STOP. One of them inadvertently insulted her when she teased him about a tip on his way to the restroom (she had such a crush on him) saying he would tip her if she danced but let the male lead sing LOL! (At least we could look away from the dancing.)  He had the gall to be confused as to why she was cutting her eyes at him for the rest of the night. Men.

Walking along the Corniche at night was magical.  Having a chai along the waterfront, the breeze off the Nile caressing my skin, was the perfect ending to a long, fun-filled day. I was a bit panicked because the restaurant seemed to 'rock' a little more than I liked, but I zoned out, only interjecting sporadically as the guys talked about how much more Aswan could be doing to market itself to tourists. My response - Aswan is NOT Luxor and that's exactly why I love it. 

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The Nile - Aswan
The Nile - Aswan
Nubian Masks.
Nubian Masks.
View from a Nubian house - 2006
View from a Nubian house - 2006
The Nile in Aswan at dusk.
The Nile in Aswan at dusk.
Nubian Arts and Crafts Showroom - …
Nubian Arts and Crafts Showroom -…
Gardens at Movenpick Aswan
Gardens at Movenpick Aswan
View from my room at the Movenpick
View from my room at the Movenpick
Temple of Isis...yes, again. :)
Temple of Isis...yes, again. :)
A closer look
A closer look
Movenpick Tower seen from the Nile
Movenpick Tower seen from the Nile
Aswan
photo by: Vikram