It’s A Convoy!! May 10, 2016
Yesterday, I awoke at 4:00 AM to a blaring beep beep beep which I thought was my phone alarm, which I had set so I could catch sunrise on the Nile. It turned out to be the ship’s fire alarm. I stayed awake and read, as dawn breaks around 4:50.
Today, I rose at 2:15 AM
Met the “handler” or the man that got me off the ship and into the van to Abu Simbel and back on the boat 10 hours later.
Left in a van with 3 rows of seats, 3 people to a row to a security checkpoint south of town. There were 3 busses, about 15 vans and four cars in the police escorted convoy. saw the police trucks at departure. There were three or four vehicles escorting the convoy.
At 4:00 AM wet set off for Abu Simbel, 280 km air miles or 300 Km by road south of Aswan and only 40 km north of the border with Sudan, home of the Nubians. The Nubians are noticeably darker than the Egyptians of Cairo. When the Aswan High Dam (funded by the Soviet Unioi in 1958) was built between 1960-1970, the resulting Lake Nasser flooded the Nile homeland of 120,000 Nubians. 50,000 were located to Kom Umbo and provided housing and farming land irrigated by water from Lake Nasser. Numerous Nubians reside in the poverty stricken areas of south Aswan.
Wiki says, in part:
The Abu Simbel temples are two massive rock temples at Abu Simbel (أبو سمبل in Arabic), a village in Nubia, southern Egypt, near the border with Sudan. They are situated on the western bank of Lake Nasser, about 230 km southwest of Aswan (about 300 km by road). The complex is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the “Nubian Monuments,” which run from Abu Simbel downriver to Philae (near Aswan). The twin temples were originally carved out of the mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II in the 13th century BC, as a lasting monument to himself and his queen Nefertari, to commemorate his victory at the Battle of Kadesh. Their huge external rock relief figures have become iconic.
The complex was relocated in its entirety in 1968, on an artificial hill made from a domed structure, high above the Aswan High Dam reservoir. The relocation of the temples was necessary to prevent their being submerged during the creation of Lake Nasser, the massive artificial water reservoir formed after the building of the Aswan High Dam on the Nile River.
notes made while riding in the van:
Good seat in van. Rear row. Lots of space behind seat – usually for luggage. Easy in out through rear double doors. Like small commuter airplane – tight no legroom.
70 mph, nice paved road but bouncy. Hard to type on iPad. Large steel electrical towers with 20 sets of wires are parallel to road.
Cannot see police escorts now. Saw leaving.
One way 3 hrs 15 min.
Dawn 4:50 sunshine by 6:00 AM.
Music, Bose earbuds, ipod, on shuffle for variety.
Drinking the OJ from Ali.
6:15 AM passed small oasis. All else sand rock no vegetation.
All aboard asleep except the driver.
Sign – speed limit 90 kph or 55 mph. Going 70 mph. Hard to type. Bouncy.
Barren, rocky sandy landscape dotted with small volcanic hills of decomposed basalt lava extrusions about 100-200 feet high. Heavily decomposed, they look like small cinder cones, with the weathered rock sloping at the angle of repose. From a distance of several miles, it looks like hundreds of pyramids dotting the landscape.
No plants. Nothing but rock and sand.
Ship’s box lunch nothing but read, jelly, sugar juice, bananna. Ate the bananna.