Monday, April 27, 2009
EGYPT DAY 3
EGYPT DAY 3 – ABU SIMBEL AND CAIRO
We flew from Aswan to Abu Simbel on Egypt Air. Got to sleep in since we did not have to leave for the airport until 0730. Clyde met Feder Bear in the Aswan airport as were leaving for Abu Simbel. Feder is from Canada and his very friendly owner whipped him out of concealment in her carryon upon seeing Clyde.
ABU SIMBEL – This is a complex of two tombs that were carved out a mountain and were going to be flooded as Lake Nasser filled. An international effort was mounted to fund their rescue and relocation. Since these tombs extend far back into the mountain and are heavily decorated with paintings and carvings internally, the engineering effort required to move them was daunting. It took two years to do it. They basically cut the tombs out of the mountain in pieces and reassembled them in a safe area on the shore of Lake Nasser creating two small mountains in the process. This is where it reached 115 f and there was no shade except inside the temples.
The smaller temple is the Temple Hathor dedicated to Queen Nefertari who was the favorite wife of the Great Ramses II. The larger temple is the Great Temple of Ra-Harakthe fronted by 4 colossal statues of Ramses II. (who built both temples.) The interiors of these temples were very lavishly decorated and the colors are still strong after 3500 years.
Clyde enjoyed meeting some security guards here. Unfortunately the picture does not do justice to the Kalashnikovs they had on their laps. He also got to hold the key to one of the temple’s great doors – it had the shape of an Ankh (the symbol of life).
We flew from there to Cairo where we spent the night at the Semiramis Intercontinental Hotel.
CAIRO – Clyde enjoyed the view from the cocktail lounge of our hotel where he shared a bottle of wine with us.
Later we went on a dinner cruise on a lavish river boat called the Nile Maxim. A good meal and great traditional entertainment. A whirling dervish and two belly dancers all accompanied by an Egyptian band.
Clyde wondered what was so special about a belly dancer’s belly. Luckily she did not mind his having a close look.
Our friend Linda joined Clyde on deck for a respite from the smoky atmosphere inside. It was about 70 outside and the lights of Cairo were only outdone by the many small party boats cruising up and down with wild displays of multicolored lights flashing in weird patterns.