|Up at 2:45 AM in the morning and meet at 3:15 to board the bus. Dark. Get to assembly point (military escort for all traffic to Abu Simbil) but miss the first batch - sit around until 4:30 then off. Desert. Lots of desert. Sand and rocks and shale and small hills... Some developments and saw part of a massive project to take water from Lake Nassar and irrigate the eastern Saraha. First attempt failed. This time they're lining the ramp with concrete.
Get to Abu Simbil about 8:30 and listen to a lecture about it's origins and movement. Temple to Ramses the 2nd and a smaller one to his wife Nefertiti. Huge structures moved bit by bit as the lake rose behind the high dam. Not allowed to take pictures inside but the walls are covered with carvings that still have the original paints from 1300 BC. Very intricate and detailed. At 10:00 we started the trip back to Aswan through the desert.
Returned to Aswan about 2:30 and while I did grading on my web class Alice and her friends spent the whole afternoon in the pool. I took a side trip down to the local post office and bought stamps for postcards. Of course, no one spoke English, and my Arabic is less than existent, but I got stamps at 1/3 what they sell them for at the hotel! So walked 3/4 miles and saved $1.20. Around 7:00 we got together and took a taxi to a really local restaurant. The goats outside were not only roaming the streets, they were using the parked cars as mountains, leaping from one to the other. Of course, kids playing soccer.
The place was a small room with a kitchen up front and about eight tables. Man cooking eggplant as we arrived. Dinner was flat bread, beans, fried egg, eggplant, falafal, goat cheese in pepper sauce, hot peppers, and drinks. All of it quite good. Only utensil provided was a spoon. Dinner for ten cost 80 LE, or about $16. Kids hated it...
Back to town and into the local market - a kilometer of street with shops on both sides, mostly touristy stuff but some very nice spice stalls. Cried of "Best price in town Where you from? You... German, French, Spanish..." A couple of the women bought stuff and haggled quite well. Our tour guide was with us and said "When I say "very good price" that meand too much. When I say 'Nice Aswan (ass one)' then it's a good deal. I was, of course, looking for something no one had - a statue of the Lighthouse at Alexandria - one of the eight wonders of the world. But if it isn't Pharaoh, it's not around. So I bought some freshly made potato chips (soggy), fresh mango juice (excellent) and some mediocre ice cream. Amazing how many people were around at night.
Finally got Alice to bed. Tomorrow we sleep in (until 8:00) then off for a 3 1/2 ride to Luxor.