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Aswan / Abu Simbel

Written on: Monday January 4th, 2010

A journal entry from: Sun, Sand and Wind

So it has been one week already since leaving home.

As my last post ended, I was leaving Cairo for Aswan, which is situated in Upper Egypt *Upper in relation to the flow of the Nile. The sleep train from Cairo was good. I thought I had a room by myself but it turned out I was with a guy from South Korea. The train was the best and most sleep I had, had so far, I slept 9 hours! which is probably more then the first 3 nights combined! *So I was very happy about that.  Turns out "Sung" the guy from South Korea is also traveling alone, and once in Aswan, I changed my room from a single to a double room, and we split on the cost. Nice guy, 25yrs old, and good to walk around with somebody and to be able to take each others pictures without having to pay! I've been able to also learn about South Korea as well, which is nice.

Aswan is much smaller then Cairo, only 275 000 ppl. (1/90th the size). The air is much cleaner and there is a bit of landscape. However, ppl are still very annoying when you walk in the market or near the Nile. "For you my friend, special price! No hassle, no hassle shop... and than they continue to hassle you. Kind of like mosquitoes, lol. It's really too bad, since I feel they give a bad rep to the area. So I just keep my glasses on and keep walking. When walking with Sung it is better since we just talk to each other and it's harder for ppl to suck 2 ppl in, compared to 1!
Today we were picked up by bus at 3:30am, to head to Abu Simbel. This was crazy early, but you beat the heat this way and able to make it back by around 4. The bus ride was long and not the most comfortable, We drove through the desert in a convoy of ALL the tour vans and buses (30 + in total). The military will not allow you to travel alone, partly due to being in the desert if anything goes wrong, and also I think in part of being directly beside the Sudan border *I believe there have been tourist kidnapped in the past...

Once arrived at Abu Simbel, we visited the the temples of Ramsses II and his wife Nefertari, built in the 13th century BC. The temples are on the edge of lake Nasser (which looks like it would be amazing to windsurf). Safe to say, the temples were the best thing I have seen so far, you could go inside each and there was so much detail carved into the stone, It took about 20 years to build, and when you see the detail, you can believe it! There was also no Egyptians inside the gates trying to sell things, so it was really nice and we could really just take our time and got to appreciate what we were seeing. Truly amazing and a stunning location.

After that we headed back towards Aswan, where we stopped at the Aswan High Dam, which was built in 1970 and powers most if not all of Egypt. From there we went on to the Temple of Philae. To enter the gates you had to buy your ticket, once pass the gates you walk down a ramp into water,,, if you would like to see them temple which you have JUST paid for, you must now purchase a boat and driver to bring you to it!! With a group of ppl we finally reached an agreeable price with a young boy who drove us. The Temple was relocated on to an Island in order to not be flooded. It was a nice little ride, and the Temple was really amazing, again the amount of detail is surreal! *I would highly recommend Abu Simbel and Philae to ppl traveling Egypt.

Tomorrow, Sung and I will wake up early to catch the train to Luxor, 3 hours North. I will spend two nights there, and then catch a flight to the Red Sea, via Cairo on the 7th!

All the best,

David W.



From Wilfrid on Jan 4th, 2010

It's so nice that you are now in an area that is more beautiful and scenic. Your ability to meet new people is going to make all the difference on this trip.

From Tante Pauline & Oncle Ronald on Jan 5th, 2010

Excellent rapport David! Glad you are enjoying your trip...good you have found people to share the trip with...where are the majority of the tourists from? Are there other Canadians? Are you enjoying the food? Do you find it hot? Keep the info coming...good for us to learn about the world! XXX TAnte Pauline & Oncle Ronald

From Tante Ingrid on Jan 5th, 2010

David, I am loving your blog, all the details and your opinion on everything. Good for you and your adventuring spirit. It does not surprise me that you have found people to explore with; that's your engaging, open personality. It will always serve you well. Sending you lots of love. Tante Ingrid

From David W. on Jan 5th, 2010

Hey guys, thanks for the comments! Tante Pauline to answer your questions, I would say most fo the tourist seem to be French and English from Britain, also a mix of Aussies, Canadians and Asian and some Germans. Seems to eb the normal type, most are quite friendly. I am quite careful as to what I will allow myself to eat, and for the most part walking in the streets makes you NOT want to eat the local food, lol. But so far... knock on wood, I haven't been sick yet! I find the weather quite nice, around mid 20s everyday so far and dry. The past 2 mornings now that we are in the desert are quite cool *Relatively speaking (maybe 7 or 9 degrees)