Dienstag, 27. Januar 2009

As I already mentioned we finally didn't take the train ro Luxor but went directly straight into the very south of Egypt, to Assuan. In the beginning before seeing the train we were a little bit worried because we knew that we had to spend one whole night in it - and because of financial calculations we had agreed on 2nd class. But arriving at the train we found out that the 2nd class was not bad at all, lots of space to stretch the legs, a much too good working aircondition (luckily I know this allready from other experiences and had my sleeping bag with me) - only a little bit dirty, but who cares? So we were happy and spent the night in the train, arriving after 13 hours quite tired in Assuan where we went to a hotel we choosed before from our guide books. Rachid wanted to sleeo but I decided to discover the town a little bit and went out alone. First and last try in Assuan because walking down the market street which is incredibly touristic is just like being in the pillory - lots of questions and hassle to buy something but more anoying the guys who said: 'I know you are looking for an egyptian man - here Iam'. After a while I got quite aggressive and started to shout at one of these guys things like if he doesn't know how to treat a woman, if his parents didn't educate him, if he doesn't know how to treat guests coming into his country which earns him a living... blablabla. Was very releaving to do that! This guy didn't answer anything, the others around excused the whole time. So well - I didn't really like this town, also because all the picures in guide books or on the internet don't really show whole Assuan, only small parts, obviously the most beautiful ones. Also the next day didn't really start better because I was just taking a shower when the receptionist from rge hotel started to knock on our door. I wasn't completely dressed, so it took me a whole to answer, Rachid didn't move because he was still sleeping. The roughly 10 seconds it took me to get dressed rhis guy banged like crazy against our door and when I opened he just wanted to know if we stay one more night. First we said yes but decided after this incredibly unfriendly way of behaving to change the hotel - so we got ready in 5 minutes and changed the hotel. In the next one the staff was much friendlier so we were happy. That day, wednesday the 21.01., we decided to take a ferry to a small island in the Nile which lies just in front of the town. As Egyptians mostly use very old cars - especially for taxis - the towns are always very polluted and smoggy, so we were very very happy to see some nature on this small island, smell some fresh air and just walk around through a small Nubian village there, where people were al;so very much less demanding for Bakshish or asking us to buy something. We finished the day with a look at thr temple ruins on Elephantine Island which were specially interesting because a german-egyptian team of archaeologists is still doing excavations there, so visitors can see for example how many layers of buildings were just built on top of each other. Also interesting were the Nilometers which the old Egyptians used to set taxes each year, depending how high the flood was and calculating on this basis the harvest. On our way back we got to know a man in his roughly 60, french origin, who lives on this island every winter. He was incredibly friendly (specially because he just realized after talking about 20 minutes that I wasn't french ;-) and willing to help us find a good captain for a sailing trip down the Nile. So we spent this day and the next mostly on endless discussions about prices for this trip and finally got 2 days and 2 nights for about 30 Euro, including water and nutrition. Before we left we still had to see Abu Simbel, a trip we had to do in an organised tour because of terrorism danger. we started early at 3am from our hotel, went to a place in Assuan where about 50 busses waited to go in an enomous konvoi with police to Abu Simbel. I never in my life felt so insecure under this bunches of rich tourists which seemed to be the most easy aim for any terrorist attac anyone can imaginbe - but that's ecyptian policy. Arriving at Abu Simbel around 7am we went straight inside, visited the temple which was really really worth his 15 Euro entrance. Also the surrounding of its nowadays place just above Lake Nasser is very nice. Afterwards we went back in our bus onto the direction of Assuan, but stopped before to see the in the 60ies by the Russians constructed highdamm. I payed - without really reflecting - 3 Euro entrance just to see almost nothing. Rachid had decided not to pay so he waited outside, very clever! After this waste of money we almost missed out the last pont on the trip bevause we were adriaid on spending money without seeing anything worth the entrance - but the temple on the island of Philae are worth the entrance as you can also see on the pictures I already uploaded. All in all the trip was still a good one - but I hope the one and only day on my trip to spend 50 Euro only on entrances and transport (not even including food and hotel). Friday the 23rd jan. we left Assuan after endless waiting for our Felukka (that's how the small sailing boats are called here), endless discussions about the price of the trip again, hundreds of promises which weren't fullfilled - but finally we left after about 3,5h waiting with a group of people around my age. Unfortunately there was no wind at all so we just drited down the Nile with the currency - but as the curreny is almost not existing, we made just about 5km that day. On the evening the crew lit up a fire and sang some egyptian and nubian songs - and smoked constantly weed. Intersting to see, because they very much identified wioth Rastas, had Rastas, talked the whole time about Bob Marley and seemed so much out of the Egyptian society, spending their life on a Felukka woith tourists, smoking the whole day and night, singing and dancing and drinking beer in the evening. Interesting in comparisson to what we got to know about Egyptians before. The night was ok though quite windy, but at least I didn't freeze. The next morning we couldn't do anything but waiting because quite opposite to the day before we had now storm - too dangerous to start sailing. So we waited until the afternoon and started then, but just made about 15km, so we were still 20km away from Kom Ombo. Nevermind, the 2nd night was quieter, I slept better, and the next morning Rachid and me took a taxi with a canadian couple to Kom Ombo, where we finally decided not to visit the temple because nobody wanted to take care of our luggage - so we took the train to Luxor, this time we wanted to save even more money and took 3rd class (very dirty, very noisy, very bad smell from the toilets), so we only payed 1 Euro for about 250km.Now we are still in Luxor, in the same hotel as the canadian couple, trying to figure out if it is possible to go into the desert without a konvoi or the military. Yesterday we went to Karnak temple and I was happy to see this place again because last timne I went there I was too sick to concentrate on anything else than not just vomiting into every temple and tomb we visited. Tomorrow: Valley of the kings...Kisses to all of you, I'll try soon to answer emails from you personally but this text took me like 1,5h just because you can't see the letters anymore on the keyboard. So sorry if it's sometimes hard to read because of typos.

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