17th May 2006
We met another guide and were taken to Aswan airport for our short flight to Abu Simbel. We boarded our Egypt Air flight, a much smaller plane than the one we had arrived on six days ago, which was almost empty. We flew over the dead and desolate desert and over Lake Nasser, which was absolutely amazing. Giant pyramid like landmasses rose from the accidentally manmade lake and I wondered if these landmasses had always looked like this and whether or not this was where the Egyptians had gotten the idea for pyramid building.
We got off the plane and met yet another guide, Mustafa and got on yet another bus to the great temple of Abu Simbel and headed for yet another moment of my dreams. I was overwhelmed at the sight of this temple, and I quickly realised that this was the point, in ancient times, where Ramses II had built this temple on the banks of the Nile on the border between Nubia and Egypt as a reminder of Egypt’s power and to keep the rebellious Nubians in check. I felt like an ant as I stood next to Ramses giant leg, I wasn’t even as tall as the carving of Ramses young daughter dwarfed beside his great leg. I climbed up to one of the seated statues to have my picture taken and still did not even reach Ramses little toe. I went inside the temple and explored every crevice of this hollowed out mountain, I walked through the corridor of Osiride statues of the king, all the way to the back where there are four statues. At an exact time on an exact day the sun hits the faces of these statues. I had never seen the cartouche of a king displayed so many times in the same place.
The nearby temple of Nefertari was also magnificent, one of the few times in Egyptian history where a king had allowed his wife to be portrayed the same size and thus of the same importance as the king himself. I looked at it and thought to myself, this looks like the ultimate labour of love and it was obvious that the king had truly adored his wife. I walked around the temple area and looked out over Lake Nasser, the enormity of it stunned me. I had looked out on it from Aswan at the High dam only a few days before and now here I was three hundred kilometres away and I could still stand on its shores. We then walked around on our own for a while, and when I found Mum, she was walking towards me eating a Mars bar. I always said my mother could find a Mars Bar in the middle of the Sahara Desert, I guess I was right.
After our short visit to Abu Simbel, we boarded the bus and were taken back to the airport for our flight back to Aswan. After the flight we were met at the airport by our guide and taken to the Basma hotel, to rest and hang around until it was time to get the sleeper train back to Cairo. While in the hotel I used the internet and posted an entry on my online journal so my friends could finally see what I had been up to and sent Ramez an email so that he could also have my email address. I noticed on the way to the hotel, the Nubian Museum which Ramez had recommended I see if I had time, was right near the hotel. I managed to convince Mum and Dad to venture outside to do this. It was a bit of a rushed visit as it closed at 1pm and it was already 12pm, but still I had gotten to see something that wasn’t on the tour.
The ride back was fun and again I stayed awake for most of it looking out the window not wanting to miss any of the wonderful and different scenery passing me by. We were served dinner on board and when I opened mine, I was horrified to find what looked like a stuffed kidney.
I barrelled into Mum and Dad’s room and exclaimed “Is this a kidney?!” I later found out it was some kind of strange stuffed vegetable. The ride back to Cairo was very bumpy, it didn’t bother me though as again I was travelling in a backwards direction, I did, however, keep waiting for the loud thud of Dad falling out of the top bunk in the next compartment as he and Mum were travelling forwards and the train kept stopping abruptly and jarring them out of sleep. Before we left, Tamir had entrusted me with the information that we had to get off at el Giza station and not Cairo station and first thing in the morning I had to try to convince my forgetful parents that this was what we were supposed to do.