High Dam, Philae Temple complex, Unfinished Obelisk, Nubian Museum
05/10/2011 90 °F
I woke up early this morning and am up to see the sunrise. Very beautiful but very noisy: birds and lots of them, donkeys, cows, crickets, and frogs. They all have something to say early in the morning.
Another early day and we are on the road by eight o’clock this morning. Our first stop is the High Dam. With lots of military security, we get out of the van and go through a security checkpoint to see the dam. Despite a short lecture on the history of the dam it is as boring as I expected.
We pile into the van and drive back the way we came. We have asked to stop and see the monument built by the Soviet Union to celebrate the completion of the High Dam. I didn’t know this (not that I would have known since I knew very little before our visit) but the Soviet Union played a very large role in planning and building the High Dam. As you can see from the pictures below, this monument is HUGE and is a wonderful interpretation of the relationship between the two countries during this project. We spend more time at this monument than we did at the High Dam. A large reflecting pool surrounds the monument but ironically there is no water in it. Hey Chris! I know you would enjoy seeing this monument so these pictures are for you.
We are now on our way to the Philae Temple complex. This is one of the temples relocated to a higher elevation so the water from the new High Dam wouldn’t bury it completely. Philae Temple was actually partially covered by water before the Egyptian government requested UNESCO to help them save a large number of antiquities. We make our way to the ferry dock so we can visit the “new” Philae island.
After the Philae Temple we return to the dahabeeyah for lunch and a siesta. We are on our own for the afternoon so the five of us decide to share a van and visit the Unfinished Obelisk and the Nubian Museum.
The Unfinished Obelisk quarry will close at four o’clock so we plan to leave the dahabeeyah at three. We climb around the quarry (amazing there aren’t more restrictions keeping people from hurting themselves at these sites) and make our way to the Unfinished Obelisk. It’s cool to see but I think it looks more impressive in the photos. We hang out for a few minutes but the guards are ready to quit for the day. At 3:45 they yell at us from the top of the quarry that they are leaving and we need to leave with them. They are nice about kicking us out even when I ask one of them if I could take his picture with him holding his Uzi machine gun. He says “no” but then changes his mind: I can have my picture if I give him a kiss. I tell him that’s too expensive a bargain but Colin wonders if he could make the same deal for a picture of the guard and his Uzi. Ha! You are too funny, Colin!
I had read good things about the Nubian Museum and it does not disappoint. It is an amazing collection and the curators have done a great job compiling the history of Nubia and their relationship with Egypt over the millennia.
Not to make fun of someone's translation but there was this funny sign in English advertising the cafe at the Nubia Museum. The funny part read "We are distinguished for a special way of preparing beverages, and nobody knows it." Well, that is irresistible. We had to have a coffee at the cafe after we had finished with the museum.
Our day ends with a celebration dinner: it is the last night for all of us on the dahabeeyah. Timothy and I are leaving at 3:45 a.m. tomorrow morning for the early morning caravan to Abu Simbel. Colin, Gerry and Anna are leaving on the late morning Abu Simbel caravan so we will be saying our farewells tonight.
The chef has made a special dessert in our honor, a beautiful iced cake. The captain and crew then gather on the deck to lead us in singing and dancing. We have some cake and then we say good night and goodbye to Colin, Gerry, and Anna. I am sad to leave them as we have had a great time travelling with the three of them. They are a wonderful family that enjoys travelling together and they have some great stories to tell of their many, many adventures. We exchange email addresses and say good night.
We have had such a great time on this cruise and I don’t want to leave the dahabeeyah.