Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Temples, Felucca’s, and we don’t want to leave………

We can understand why many Egyptians claim Aswan to be their “favorite” city in all of the country.    Aswan is a beautiful city, with a wonderful mixture of Nubian and Egyptian people (as our guide says, “the lighter skin from the north, the beautiful darker skin from the south”).  Nubians were the native people of this area who were removed or resettled in nearby areas during the building of the great dam and the change of water levels.  Many are now in Sudan, just to the south of us, but it seems that all of them are kind people with ready smiles and as well as “kinder and gentler vendors!”  In other words, they give you a fair price without too much bargaining and if you don’t buy, they don’t chase you down the street!

We began late this morning, thankfully.  As I re-read what I posted last night, I see that I was even more tired than I thought!   Dancing up a storm with college kids on a ship with ceilings only five inches higher than one’s head (and hot blinking lights) was just a bit more than I should have done.   That said, everyone had a wonderful night – our trust guides and tour managers led the way with everything from native Egyptian songs to Egyptian rock (?) and good old Y.M.C.A.    What great memories they have provided for all of us!

Our boat, the Jamila.  It means "Beautiful."  And it is.

One of our tour managers, Hussein, has taken excellent
care of the students.   He even likes his shirt!

At 10:00 we loaded buses and headed south a bit to an area full of vendors (yikes!) and, at the end of the gauntlet, wonderful boats into which we jumped and headed off to see the Temple of Philae.  This gorgeous setting is actually not the original setting……..UNESCO worked for eight years to move the temple from its original location on Philae Island to its current location because of the building of the Aswan Dam (1900), the completion of which submerged most of the original structures.    We found it a bit amazing and almost too hard to imagine how this vast complex was cut apart, catalogued, moved and re-built as it looks as though it has always been in this location.  The temple is in honor of the god Isis and dates back to the 4th century BC.  Location, location, location.   Wow.  It’s certainly got it!

Nadine and Dale's next Christmas card photo.  They were
enjoying the sun and the boat ride to the Temple.

Ahmed (from the north) and Mahoud (Nubian from the south)

Some of the students are trying to race us........

Main area of the Philae Temple

View from Temple to approaching boat.

Ficus trees grow much larger here than at home.

As always, plenty of shopping opps!  

We returned to our “Boatel” (now that we are docked and not moving, we came up with this name) and had lunch.  The Friends group swung by a Perfumerie and learned that nearly every perfume sold in the world has roots here in Egypt.  There are certain base products found only here – and they proved it through some pretty fine demonstrations.  Ooops, more weight in the suitcase….these Dolce and Garbana (#35) bottles are heavy, but the scent is undiluted and a drop a day will make the bottle last for 100 years.   Wow.  Something to hand down!    Aromatherapy anyone?   Uffda!

I’m told that no trip to Egypt would be complete without a cruise in a felucca, the name for the boats that Egyptian/Nile fishermen for centuries.   We boarded three of these vessels near our floating palace and began a two hour ride around Elephantine Island – the large island in the center of Aswan.   Not sure what to say other than it was one of the most relaxing experiences of the entire trip.   We watched the sun set, and became amazed at how these boats managed to keep moving when it appeared no wind was around.   Little guys in rough hewn boats would pull up alongside to sign us songs (and get a dollar or two of course) and ever turn brought new and wonderful things to see.   Ahhhh, what a memorable day this has been.   Yet there’s more to come.  How do we keep up?  HA!   All in all, after a day like today, it’s just a bit hard to think we’re heading back to Cairo tomorrow.   Aieieieieie – can you feel us gearing up for the excitement of the city again?

"Sbe'll be comin' round the mountain" was sung
to us (in Nubian!) by this young man...

They're everywhere, they're everywhere!

Believe it or not, Dr. Ammann and his group are on
this Felucca.  What a view..........

And we need to leave all of this?    Seems impossible.

Tonight, dinner and a Belly Dancing show.   Looks like I'm in for a long night again.    I'll write tomorrow from Cairo and fill you in on the details.  

Good night!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for all of your updates. It really links us to your experiences and makes us excited to hear more of the stories when the band returns home. It amazes me all that you have done, seen and learned. Have a safe trip back to Cairo and home!