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The life of luxury

EGYPT | Wednesday, 6 May 2009 | Views [758]

We landed in Aswan after a quick hour flight from Cairo. The American guy we met in Cairo while staying with Tarek was beginning a tour company and one of the countries he wants to lead tours is in Egypt so he spent severl week here. He was able to take a Nile cruise while in Aswan and gave us the manager's phone number to call about a cruise. Now for those who know me well enough will remember that I am philosophically against cruising for two reasons. One, I think they wreck the ocean by dumping trash, etc. directly into the water. And two, seems rather boring to me to be on the same boat for a week not meeting locals and eating tons of buffets. However, being the open and flexible person I am I thought maybe it won't be as bad on teh Nile; the boats are smaller (even though there are reportedly 250 boats cruising the Nile), you spend less time and we needed some downtime because we were tired. After securing a price that almost fit our budget we bid our new friend Ahmed farewell said we would see him the next afternoon in time for the sail to Luxor. Since the boat was not leaving until 2pm the next day we decided to book a quick tour through our hostel to Abu Simbel. This is a temple located in southern Egypt very close to the Sudanese border. Most people just go for a few hours in the morning but in order to do this you have to wake up at 3am and leave at around 3:45am. The Egyptian government has responded to the terrorist bombings of the past with way more security along popular tourist routes including this one. So after bording the minibus you queue up at the police checkpoint outside of town with all the other people going that day, big buses, mini-buses, and small cars for a police convoy. It is kind of a joke once you realize what is going on because instead of one or two buses to target now there are like 30! And they all speed like crazy and pass each other at 4:30am in complete darkness, would have been scary if we had not all been sleeping. We arrived right after sunrise to Abu Simbel, the temple is on Lake Nasser, created by the Nasser Dam from the 1970s. It is a well perseved temple and the mornign light was great on some of the huge statues left. Unfortunately, like most Egyptian temples you can not take photos inside, although I snuck a few in the rebel I am. We left promptly two hours later, which was good for us because it takes about 3 hours to return to Aswan and we needed to get our bags and board the ship for our cruise. Plus we had already paid so if they left we would be stuck in Aswan. Some people in our van were going on the long tour which went to a few other spots so of course or driver drove slow to meet the other van that would take those people on their continuing tour. Thankfully we had told our driver we needed to get back so he left Abu Simbel with enough time to get to Aswan for our cruise, even with switching vehicles and driving slow as molasses!

I think we were both pleasantly surprised by the 2 day/2night cruise, the food was not bad, our room was clean and we had hot water the entire time(a luxury in africa). After we had set sail for Kim Ombo, our first stop our new friend Ahmed, (big one, there were two other smaller ones) told us we could not stop at Kim Ombo but were pushing on to Edfu, the second temple stop along the Nile. We were a little disappointed but figured ok we get to relax more. As we began to talk to more people( the boat was mostly Germans in a big group) we began to understand why we did nto stop at Kim Ombo; the Germans had already been there on their way to Aswan where we got on the boat. They were on their way back toLuxor where they started 5 days before. We also began to figure out why we got such a deal on the cruise, essentially we were "off the books" in the eyes of the boat. Not treated any differently by the staff but not officially on board. Oh well we still enjoyed the cruise and the next morning the boat moored in the city of Edfu liked Admed promised and we got up early, caught a carriage to the temple at Edfu. It was a niced way to spend the morning, the temple was really nice in the early morning light and we beat most of the other big tour groups. We got back to the boat in time for breakfast buffet and then resumed our position on the top deck lounging in the sun until reaching Luxor that evening. I think we were both happy to just do nothing except read, eat, nap and repeat during the short time.

We arrived in Luxor on our second day late afternoon and although this was our destination our second night was on the boat moored on the Nile. This was fine by us it gave us more time to relax on teh deck and enjoy probably the easiest, although not the best food we have had on our trip. The staff was reall nice to us, everything was clean and for once we did not have to sleep on our sarongs because the sheets were dirty! We awoke the next morning, packed our bags, ate breakfast and left our nice 'little' boat for thetownof Luxor. We caught a cab after some bargaining and set out for our hostel of the next 3 days to explore all the famous sights of Luxor.

Tags: abu simbel, aswan, cruise, nile

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