[Friday 3 February 2012]
The schedule for today was:
08:17:03. Approaching the entrances to the temples: Ramesses II’s is round the corner to the left; and Nefertari’s is ahead.
08:18:22. The four colossi of Ramesses II at the entrance to the temple.
Our group convened; the guide gave us a talk on what we would find within the temples, and showed us pictures, then he instructed us to meet back at the coach in two hours: 10.20am at the latest. Photography wasn’t allowed within the temples. The hypostyle hall has bas-relief depictions of Ramesses slaying his enemies, Hittites and Nubians. From there one enters a second pillared hall. There are a number of small chambers off the halls with many depictions in bas-relief on the walls, each of making this kind of offering or that kind of offering to a god (they got tediously repetitive). Finally, the inner sanctuary with four seated gods side by side. On a day in February the sun rises and illuminates three of them, but one, Ptah, god of the underworld, is kept in darkness.
We went on to the temple of Nefertari: no fewer than six colossi, but the temple is smaller, only one hypostyle hall. More depictions of her husband Ramesses II’s slaughter of enemies, and of her making offerings to goddesses.
09:07:38: View of Lake Nasser to the north
09:12:14 View of Lake Nasser to the south
09:14:36 The temple of Ramesses and the flooded cliff-side from which it was taken
We made our way back to the coach-park, but found ourselves in a bazaar of vendors’ stalls along one side of the site, being constantly pestered by vendors, one after the other; ahead was what appeared to be the end. But when we turned the corner, there was another bazaar, with constant harassment. Another corner — and another bazaar. The nightmare of these eventually came to an end, and we found the coaches. Ours was locked, but someone before long unlocked it and saved us from more vendors. We were expected to reconvene at 10.20am at the latest; there were a few stragglers; then we were on our way back along the interminable-seeming desert road. Janet found the length and mode of the journey too much, but she survived!
We didn’t get back till nearly 2 o’clock. We went to the cabin to recover a bit. Mohammed had left cobras today! Janet was a bit unwell from the trip. Then we went to the restaurant some time after 2pm, where lunch was still being served. From the layout of the cutlery it was plain that Drew and Ruby had had lunch and left, and that Margaret and Mehran hadn’t been yet. They joined us later, having just returned from flying to Abu Simbel; they’d had to wait at the airport about an hour on the outward journey, and they weren’t impressed with their guide’s bossiness.
15:17:06 Views of Aswan from our cabin window
Ahmed took Janet and me, and Margaret and Mehran on a walking trip to the spice bazaars down a long street in Aswan. I needed a bank, to cash travellers’ cheques, because having paid for our Abu Simbel excursion with Egyptian money I was short of ready cash. But the one we went to was closed. He led us into one place and the vendor sat us down and showed us many various spices. I sampled one of his dates. But we didn’t buy.
Two photos taken by Mehran
Thence back to the promenade along the Nile. Janet and I purchased a couple of bottles of Diet Coke from a stall there. Ahmed was concerned lest we had paid too much, but he thought 10£E was OK. When Janet and the other two wanted to sit awhile, and Ahmed was satisfied we’d be OK, he left us. It was much farther to the boat than we envisaged. Three young men were linking arms in front of us. That would be considered a bit “poofy” back home. When they broke up and leaned against the railings, as we passed they said, “Welcome to Egypt!” for which I duly thanked them. One or two children, too, recognising us as non-Egyptian, said “Hello!” to us in English. It was about 6 o’clock when we passed through this boat and that boat and the other boat to reach ours. We were too late for afternoon tea. Janet and I went to our cabin. All of us were at table for dinner. Janet and I retired to the cabin and didn’t go to the Nubian show, though the drums and chanting were quite audible. Mohammed had left a “monkey” hanging from the ceiling!
20:44:45 Mohammed’s “sculpture”: a monkey
[Sunday 5 February 2012 (1)]
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