July 2nd,, 3rd and 4th, 2021
Well, we are behind on keeping up our notes for the journey. It has been a busy two days, but the most important part is we have our own shower, toilet, and a big old bed!! Ahhhhh, the luxuries of life. Our new guide Michael picked us up from the train, deposited our luggage in our rooms, checked us in, fed us lunch, and then we were off for our first adventure. No rest for the wicked. Yesterday saw us visiting the High Dam and learning the history of the dam and the importance of water in this area. The heat alone is enough to teach one about how important water is to exist here in the desert. We were joined by a lovely couple from Puerto Rico, Raul and Julia, who are taking a similar trip like ours except in reverse. They started in Greece, then Turkey, and lastly in Egypt and fly home the same day we fly to Greece. We were on the same train and will be with them on the same flight back to Cairo. They are a lovely couple, and it has been a joy to get to know them. We have had the opportunity to get to know them as they are our dinner mates in addition to being with us on this leg of the tour. Last night we stayed on the boat which was docked at the port and don’t expect to set sail until tomorrow afternoon. That evening after dinner we had a delightful show highlighting the Nubian culture. The dancers at one point were wearing a horse costume and Dave got nudged by the “horse”.
The next day, Saturday the 3rd, arrived bright and early with an 04:00 wake up call to start our journey to Abu Simbel Temple Abu Simbel – Wikipedia, a 3.5 hour bus ride one way and a 3.5 hour bus ride back, which really means, in Egypt time, a 4 hour bus ride there and a 4.5 hour bus ride back. This meant our cruise ship was late leaving the dock and heading downstream to our next destination. The drive was worth every minute, as at the end of the drive we arrived to view the magnificent temple built for Ramses II and a smaller one for his wife Nefatari (not Nefertiti). The temple has magnificent statues that had to be moved after the High Dam was built, as it was then flooded by the reservoir and covered by the water. UNESCO spent years moving the temple to higher ground. They had to build a concrete wall around it, then pump the water out, before cutting it into parts and reassembling it on higher ground. We walked around each temple and into the chambers marveling after all these years at how the walls still “talked” and told a story to the visitors to the temple. While the visit was short in comparison to the drive, it was worth the time it took. The drive home took a tad bit longer as a powerful windstorm kicked up the sand, making driving difficult for the bus driver.
After a late lunch we arrived at our next stop, Kom Omba, a temple that was unique in some of its characteristics. Our knowledgeable guide for this part of our journey, Michael, delighted in talking about how this temple gave us a glimpse into the ingenuity of the ancient Egyptians, including the fact that they invented scissors. One entire wall showed how a hospital worked and the tools used by the practitioners. Dave was suitably impressed with the scissors, sponges, cupping devices, opium for pain, and the birthing techniques that were highlighted on the wall. The ingenuity did not stop there as they had a well system that was designed to filter out sediment and provided clean drinking water for the residents who lived there thousands of years ago. Dinner was a buffet consisting of traditional Egyptian fare.
The food is a story in itself, as Dave has been adventurous. He has tried just about everything; sometimes with success, but sometimes the failures were EPIC!! He was excited because next to the dessert fare and cheese bar there were grapes and/or lychees……… or so he thought. With the first bite, he got a taste of pickled onions and green and black olives. Not his finest moment. He next tried chicken strips, again another failure. It was not chicken, but instead were fish sticks. Kathy knew it was not chicken, but instead of warning Dave, she just watched him bite into it and she waited for his reaction. Dave was suspicious but soldiered on. Foolish Dave. He tried again at another meal and was rewarded with another bit of some yummy fish. Thankfully, he has had many more great tastes of food than bad food. We have enjoyed the fresh fruits and vegetables.
As the ship went through a lock on the river, Dave was ready and taking photos. Some of his photos included the hucksters who took advantage of the boat slowing down to enter the lock by rowing their boats alongside the ship to try and sell their wares. If you dared enter into a conversation with them, they would fling their goods up onto the ship, expecting you to pay for them. However, you could fling them right back at them, too. This could go on three or four times!
While Dave was watching this unfold, Kathy took advantage of some down time to get an aromatherapy massage. The massage was one of the strangest experiences according to Kathy, sort of like military induction. The massage therapist waited for Kathy to “drop” her clothes and climb on the table. No privacy no here is a towel, no I will wait here while you undress, just remove your clothes and climb on the table. She then proceeded to give me a massage, while not painful, it also did not put her to sleep. She did a deep massage on the back, legs, and arms. Next was an aromatic facial that included a mud mask and heated towel. The massage came to an abrupt end when she flipped off the towel that had been covering me and said, “you’re done.” A weird end to a weird start. For a society that values modesty in females guess it does not extend to foreigners. A lovely lunch followed where we got to have an interesting conversation with Raul and Marie where we learned in addition to be an attorney, she is also a published author. Hoping to read her book and eventually get my copy autographed. What an accomplished couple and we have had so much fun talking with them and sharing our tour with such a fun couple. (pictures will soon be posted)
Afternoon on July 4th has arrived quickly, and the day spent relaxing after the massage sees us journey into Luxor to visit many of the sites. Stay tuned for an update of this afternoon and evening adventures. Happy Fourth of July to all!! Shoot off a few fireworks for us!!