2005 Time-out Diary
Wandering around Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon

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15-18 October 2005

Saturday 15th October 2005    day 96     whereami     Satellite view

At a little bit of a loose end today. I'd sort of intended to arrange my travels back up the Nile for today but I was just too tired when I got back yesterday to even think about it - let alone actually do it.

Went for my breakfast and made travel plans for tomorrow. I'll be picked up at 11am, we felucca to Kom Ombo, visit the temples etc., felucca to Edfu, visit the temples etc., then convoy taxi to Luxor. We sleep on the felucca 2 nights with all food, and all for 100LE which seems very good. I hope I end up in some good company for a few days - there'll be no escape.

I went out to update the neglected website but the decent internet café was closed. There's nothing else I really want to see here so I picked a melon and some water and went back to the hotel to do some washing. Also, it's very hot again and I've had a lot of sun in the past few days - need to give my skin a rest.

Got my washing done and chilled out on my balcony. It's such a lovely place, I shall be sorry to leave Aswan. The incredible climate, the beautiful Nile with the feluccas and cruisers sailing up and down, the desert mountains with their tombs and mausoleum, the idyllic islands, and the tranquil gardens - all visible from my balcony in this very nice £3.50/night hotel. And there's very few flies and mosquitos in Aswan - almost none, which makes it even more pleasant. You couldn't ask for much more.

balcony   balcony

balcony   balcony

Sorted out my gear for tomorrow, charged up all my gadgets, read a while, snoozed a while. Very lazy and very enjoyable.

Went out in the evening to the internet café. Hotmail always seems so slow and troublesome - it took me 40 minutes to do 3 "quick" emails. Got the website updated too.
Paul: I am receiving your emails but my replies are bouncing back. There seems to be some incompatibility between Hotmail and NTLWorld - I had the same problems with my sister's NTLWorld address.

Picked up a couple of good damias and some water and back to get get my own batteries fully charged for the next few days.

      High: making the most of my last day on this great balcony
       Low: Hotmail's becoming a pain - I don't know why it's so problematic

Sunday 16th October 2005    day 97     whereami     Satellite view

Went down to breakfast about 9:30 and who should be sitting there but my dutch friend from Cairo and Assiut! Had a good chat over breakfast with him and a german bloke he'd travelled from Luxor with.

I was picked up at 11am by Captain Nasser of my felucca. We walked up to the felucca, picking up Jerry (US) and Anthony (Aus) on way - I took an immediate dislike to Jerry. We got on the felucca and were soon joined by Alex and Donna (Aus) from the Abu Simbel trip, and Joe (Rom-US). Had to wait for one more - Yechi (Kor). Went off and stocked up on cigs and others bought beer and hashish. Set off about 2pm for a slow cruise up the Nile.

Just lazed around chatting and laughing all day, they're a really good bunch - and Jerry turned out to be ok after all. Nice scenery as we gently cruised along. Very simple food - dinner was macaroni, potatoes and bread - a carbfeast! Anthony had a decent little travel guitar and I managed to borrow it for several sessions - really nice to play a decent guitar.

on the felucca   felucca sunset   felucca sunset

We were encouraged to sleep early and somehow just did at 9:30 - I wasn't even very tired and didn't sleep well.

      High: good crowd on boat, nice to meet up with Alex and Donna again
       Low: food's a bit bland but who cares

Monday 17th October 2005    day 98     whereami     Satellite view

Nile: ~10km north of Aswan
Up early and mostly lazed, read, chatted and laughed all day again - plus a little bit of guitar again.

The laughs were all just silly stuff like Jerry announcing each dish at dinner in his Kermit-like voice, or Joe suddenly saying "hey look everyone, that donkey's peeing!", and swapping tales about all the funny things we'd seen and done. I guess you had to be there.

Stopped for a while and paddled - some swam but I've just read too many bad things about some pretty nasty diseases waiting in there so I didn't.

We all paid 7.5LE to have a little bit of camel meat for dinner. Pretty strong beefy flavour and quite stringy and tough but it was alright, and it just had to be done. We dropped Jerry off in Darwa - he's on a tight schedule so is continuing by road. We sang happy birthday to him as it's his 30th tomorrow.

Moored up in the evening 500m south of Kom Ombo and were joined by several other feluccas. Bit of a party on the bank with a drum and singing but it wasn't great (singing Ey Ey Yippee Yippee Ey??!!) and we were soon back on our boat and early to bed again. Slept well and it was quite chilly in the early morning hours.

      High: just a good lazy day having plenty of laughs in good company

Tuesday 18th October 2005    day 99     whereami     Satellite view

Kom Ombo
Up early and sailed the 500m into Kom Ombo and moored up right below the temple. All gear off the boat and up to leave it in our minibus.

Visited the Kom Ombo temple for an hour. Very impressive.

Kom Ombo temple   Kom Ombo temple   Kom Ombo temple

Kom Ombo temple   Kom Ombo temple   Kom Ombo temple

Kom Ombo temple

1 hour manic convoy journey to Edfu and visited the Edfu temples. Even more impressive.

Edfu temple   Edfu temple   Edfu temple

Edfu temple   Edfu temple   Edfu temple

Edfu temple   Edfu temple   Edfu temple

Yechi, Alex, Anthony and me

We bumped into Al (Scot), Peter and Stuart(Aus) from the Abu Simbel trip - they were stuck for transport to Luxor and we managed to get them on our minibus. It's amazing how things work out so well sometimes.
Stuart's been working as a physio in Milton Keynes for several months.

1 hour manic convoy journey to Luxor and we all decided to stay at The Grand Hotel. I'm sharing a twin room with Anthony - cost 6LE/night, a new record. It's ok for a cheapie. Surprised to meet Jerry there! on his 30th birthday.

Showers and straight out with Alex, Donna and Anthony for something to eat. Lentil soup and chicken casserole for 15LE - very nice too. Alex and Anthony went off to find an internet café, Donna and I went to Luxor Temple 35LE. We got there about 5pm - it was really good. The sun went down, the lights came on and it was even better. We had a good walk around, took loads of photos and left at 6:30.

Luxor temple   Luxor temple   Luxor temple

Luxor temple   Luxor temple   Luxor temple

Luxor temple   Luxor temple   Luxor temple

Luxor temple   Luxor temple

Luxor temple   Luxor temple   Luxor temple

Luxor temple   Luxor temple   Luxor temple

Luxor temple   Luxor temple   Luxor temple

We were meeting the others at 7:30 to go to the evening Sound And Light Show at Karnak Temple so took a detour wander back through Luxor, stopped for a shay, bought some fruit and back to the hotel. Luxor is MUCH quieter, MUCH less touristy and has MUCH fewer hustlers than I'd expected - a great surprise.

Just about all managed to meet up apart from Alex and Yechi who'd vanished. Piled into a 50piastre minitaxi and got to Karnak in good time for the 8:15 show.

The show 55LE was very overblown, melodramatic and too slow. I wasn't all that impressed - but I wasn't really expecting to be. It was ok though and I'm glad I did it. Everyone thought the same.

Karnak temple  
Back to the hotel for quick birthday cake with Jerry before he dashed off to get his 11:30 train to Cairo. Sat around discussing plans for tomorrow - decided up at 6am to go to the West Bank to visit The Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens. Also want to get back to Karnak at about 4:30 to see it properly in daylight and evening.

      High: Luxor Temple in the evening - stunning
       Low: Sound And Light Show was a bit lame

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