In Denial

August 9, 2007

The Egypt Chronicles, Part 7

Our journey through Egypt finally allowed us a morning to sleep in, and we took advantage of it. Until this welcome Tuesday morning, the pace of our trip had indeed been furious, and as we charted our course for the rest of the trip, we knew that what lay ahead would be exhausting and amazing all at the same time.

During the morning and early afternoon, we left the hotel and visited a couple sites. A friend who had been to Egypt before had recommended the Nubian museum, so we decided to check it out. Unlike the antiquities museum in Cairo, this one featured informative displays, good lighting, and clear labels. All these features together tell the story of the Nubian race. These people have long lived in the Southern areas of Egypt and have been ruled by the Egyptians throughout history. Like pretty much museum or temple in Egypt, this one featured a few big statues. Here is one of them.

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Not far from the museum lies the “Unfinished Obelisk.” As you may have gathered from the name, this large obelisk was never completed. Its size is impressive, but then again they never did finish it, so it is limited in its grandeur.

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Before being outside for long, we began to feel the Aswan heat, and since we had stared looking at sites that were unfinished, we headed back to the hotel. As we walked into our suite, we heard some familiar voices, which belonged to Betsy, Laura, Lester and Austin. We spent some time catching up with them, and they decided to join us for our afternoon activity—a boat ride on the Nile River.

Our Nile voyage was certainly the marquee event of our first day in Aswan. The trip had been arranged by our hotel, so our boat driver, dressed simply in a long, white, one-piece garment, met us there and escorted us to the river’s edge, where we boarded our boat. An engine propelled the boat, which consisted of a bottom deck with cushioned seats and a simply flat top deck. The only passengers were the eight IBEXim.

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At first we crossed to the middle of the Nile and Elephantine Island. We stopped at the Nubian House where some of the girls got henna tattoos. Before long, we found ourselves standing at the entrance of a village with a sheik on our right, offering a tour of the village (for baksheesh, of course), and a museum on our right. Thankfully, we just decided to head back to the boat and the open water of the Nile River.

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The Nile is certainly wider than any river I have seen, and seeing the river for myself only makes the first plague of the Exodus more impressive. The whole river turned to blood—that’s a lot of blood.

Since we were cruising along the Nile River, some of our party felt compelled to swim. After they became convinced that would not die from some strange African virus, they jumped in. I opted to take pictures.

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After the swim, we continued to cruise along the river, meandering between islands in the grand river. At one point we encountered an African boy who seemed to be spending his afternoon swimming from boat to boat.

Back at the shore and the hotel, we cleaned up and met yet another IBEX group for dinner. We ate pizza and pasta at a restaurant on the river. Let me also mention that if you ever end up in Egypt, drink as much of the fruit juice as possible—it’s delicious.

Abi, Whit, PC, and I did not stay out too long because the pace of our trip was about to increase again. The next morning, the alarm would ring at 2:45AM as our adventure took us farther south into the unknown land of Africa.

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