Travel Journal
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6/5: Day Ten, Aswan and the Nile

Woke up in my clothes (surprise), and ate a bit of breakfast on the train, at which point I became extremely ill. Yes, ladies and gents, I was the first to fall to the Egyptian sickness. Contrary to popular belief, getting in sick has nothing to do with what you eat or drink; the bacteria that causes the sickness is everywhere, on anything, and the only reason that people don't become sick is because they have incredible digestive tracts and immune systems. Anyway, the day was a total blur as a result of my not feeling great.

We got off the train in Aswan, and boarded another bus. We went to the boat (M/S Miriam) which we were going to cruise down the Nile on to unload our luggage, and then went straight to the unfinished obelisk. I was so dizzy and not good that I got out of the bus, walked around for about 5 minutes, then ended up coming back and sitting down. Amadeus, our tour guide (different from a tour "escort" because he actually knew what was going on at the sites) was starting to get really worried about me, so on the way to the Aswan dam, he had the bus driver stop at a pharmacy to get me some meds. I became a total addict for the rest of the trip, but unfortunately, they didn't cure me -- they only masked the symptoms. Anyway, we then went to the Aswan dam, the biggest in Egypt. That baby is HUGE, and was designed to keep the Nile under control, so the cities didn't flood every year. Unfortunately, when they put the dam up, they ended up flooding tons of temples, which I'll get to later.

The Unfinished Obelisk. Somewhere in there.

There, you can see it, right in the center.

Caroline and Alison at the Aswan Dam.

Caroline, Brenda, Hannah, Alison, Bill, Ash, and Brent.

After the dam, we went to a jewelery store. At this point, I was feeling a bit better (yay drugs), so I bought a chain to go with my cartouche, which they had finished making. The chain was more expensive than the carthouche, because it has a very delicate design in it called "eye of Horus" (hm. They are sure repetitive with names 'round these parts). Outside, I started playing around with the little kids who were trying to sell things, chasing them and tickling them. I was definitely becoming more comfortable being in Egypt.

Finally, we went back to the boat, checked in, and ate lunch. Since we weren't going to set sail until the next day, Caroline, Shayne, Hannah, and I went down the street to check out this Internet cafe that I had seen on the way in. I was not feeling so good (again), so I pretty much wanted to walk there and back; unfortunately, Caroline was determined to call Josh at this point, and we had a bit of a brawl in front of Shayne and Hannah. I am not a fan of such, and would have walked back to the boat if it weren't for the fact that a woman can't really walk unescorted in Egypt; you need to have a man with you in order to avoid being "harassed." So, I was stuck. Bleh.

The Internet cafe was this: a teeny closet in a mostly abandoned building. It was closed for siesta (or whatever Egyptians call it; it usually means they take an undetermined amount of time off work). Walking back, Caroline gets the "call Josh" bug again, because she hadn't done so yet. We waste another 20 minutes. Alison feels like death.

Back on the boat, we took a boat ride to the botanical gardens, which were GORGEOUS. I would have been happy to spend our entire trip there; it was like being in a lush jungle in the middle of the desert. It was extremely beautiful. On the way back to the boat, we motored by the Old Cataract hotel, where Agatha Christie penned "Murder on the Nile" (which is what I felt like committing when Caroline wouldn't return to the boat, heh heh). For some reason, I heard a lot about that book/movie on this trip; we even went to Karnak temple, where it was filmed. Caroline joined the majority of the group in going on a falukah ride next; I opted to try to heal myself and stayed on the ship to enjoy some peace and quiet. I ended up enjoying a sunburn :) (That African sun can be nasty!)

Caroline and Alison on the boat to the botanical gardens.

Matt, Jessica, and Marina on that same boat.

This is a mosque on the Nile. The interesting thing about this pic, though, is below the mosque, you can see little cuts in the rock. When making an obelisk, this is how they broke the rock; they'd put these little holes in it and then put a piece of dry wood in. Then, they'd wet the wood, which would expand and cause the rock to break.

Group pic at the botanical gardens.

The main path.

Brent, Bill, Alison, Ash, and Caroline.

The main entrance/staircase (we didn't come up that way, though).

Front: Brent and Caroline. Back: Brenda, Bill, Alison, Erin, Jenny, Randy, and Stephen.

Alison pouring water on Caroline. (Yeah right! Like I'd waste precious fluid like that!)

Keith and Tami.

The Old Cataract Hotel.

The falukah breaking: Caroline captures the crowd reaction.

The broken falukah.

The rest of the day was spent eating dinner, watching a belly dancer, and drinking gin and tonics with some of the Carnegie Mellon folk. During dinner, the waitstaff was trying to confuse me as to which pot contained fish and which contained chicken; I told them that I knew that the one to the left had fish. They asked me how I could be so sure, and I replied, "Because it's making this face at me: <insert Alison making fishy face>!" They cracked up, and for the rest of the trip, at every meal, insisted that I make the fishy face. It was great. :)

Alison cheers the bellydancer on.

6/6: Day Eleven, Aswan to Abu Simbel to Kom Ombo to Edfu

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