Thursday, July 15, 2010
We spent our first night in Egypt at the Mena House Oberoi, which is right behind the pyramids as most people see them. This shot was taken from the balcony of our room at the hotel. The original Mena House (the building on the right) was originally a hunting palace for the king, and it's filled with historic things like the suite where Churchill and FDR met to discuss WW II. As you can tell from this shot and others, the air in Egypt seems always to be somewhat brown, even far to the south where there is no civilization to produce smog, so I take it to be dust.
We got up at 3am the next day and flew south to Abu Simbel, to see some magnificent temples that had been relocated to higher ground to avoid being flooded by the dam created by the Aswan High Dam (Lake Nasser). This shot is of the smaller of the two temples. Very impressive. Very hot.
Then we flew a bit north to Aswan, the southernmost and most popular of the cities in Upper Egypt. We went sailing on one of the feluccas you see here. Amazing boats that sail very well but appear ungainly. I'm posting all this while sitting inside our boat as it cruises down the Nile. The boat must be getting a 3G signal from cell towers along the way, and passing it along in the form of (usually pretty responsive) WiFi inside the reception and bar areas. The Nile passes through what is the driest desert I have ever seen—a moonscape. Not a speck of anything grows anywhere outside the immediate vicinity of the river. Along the river all is green. 95% of the population of Egypt lives within shouting distance of the Nile, and it's easy to see why.
Posted by Scott Grannis at 2:39 AM