Wednesday 22nd February 22, 2012
Day 6 - 30c
After dinner last night we went to the lounge area where we were entertained by a belly dancer and a swirling man. I tried to take pictures of the guy but he was swirling around too much and made the pictures blurry. The belly dancer wasn't very good so it was a little disappointing.
We set sail early this morning heading to Edfu by passing through Esna lock around 6.30am. Craig and l were fast asleep so missed seeing it however it's no big deal, we've seen boats on locks before so we know how they work. It's been a very relaxing morning starting with breakfast and chatting to David and Carolyn until around 10am. At 11am we're meeting our guide Hany in the reception area where he'll take us to The Temple of Horace in Edfu. It's the largest and most completely preserved Pharaonic - albeit Greek-built - temple in Egypt. It's really starting to look a lot like all of the other temples we've visited just with different stories etched into the stone. One of the rooms which is right in the middle of the temple was for a solid gold statue to sit in. The placement of the granite casing for the statue was placed directly under a cut out in the ceiling so that when the light filtered down it made the gold statue glitter like the sun and the granite looked like it was lined with silver ….very clever. We reached the temple via a 10 minute horse and carriage ride through the town. That was an eye opener as we got to experience everyday life up close…..yeah wouldn't want to be living in a place like this. The people just wander onto the road, horse and carriages vie for road space with cars and small busses and vendors are yelling at you to buy something…."you buy, l no hassle" they repeat as they followed us around. Aarrrgh!!! Craig hates it and he feels sorry for them 'cause they're just trying to make a living and with the tourists coming into the country at a real low, they're pretty desperate. It cost us 10 Egyptian pound for the return trip on the carriage which is equivalent to about $1.50 Australian….not much that's for sure. Back on board the boat just in time for a BBQ lunch on the sun deck while we sail for the Temple of Kom Ombo.
The Temple of Kom Ombo is dedicated to the crocodile god, Sobek and the Egyptians believed that by transforming them into religious icons they would be spared by the fearsome reptiles. Many crocodiles were kept in captivity and mummified on their death, examples of which we saw In the crocodile museum. The temple stands at a bend in the Nile where in ancient times sacred crocodiles basked in the sun on the riverbank. So far we've not seen any crocodiles and l've been looking for them and the reason for this is because of the Aswan dam. Before building this the river rose annually flooding the countryside and therefore bringing the crocs from the north and also leaving the countryside to dry out covered with a new layer of silt! This temple also has a water meter(English translation) which is a spiral staircase descending into the ground which is used to measure the depth of the Nile( the device is like a well, approx 15 feet across and 60 feet deep) the higher the Nile got the more tax the farmers had to pay. Apparently all the temples had this measuring device but this is the only one intact and it even had water in it! This temple also has hieroglyphics of the first calendar and surgeons utensils, 90% of which are still in used to this day! How amazing is that!!!! We saw all this stuff at night so l imagine there would be a lot more to see during daylight hours. What l have noticed is that there are secret rooms within rooms, passages within passages, passages leading to nowhere but with hieroglyphics explaining who was there and why. Quite simply….it's amazing and archaeology still has plenty to reveal.
Tonight we had dinner on board with an Egyptian Night party and a chance to dress in traditional Egyptian "galabeyya"(not us though as Craig's not into dressing up and l didn't wanna buy something l'm not going to wear again) and feast on traditional Egyptian specialties, followed by oriental music and dancing. We didn't go to the oriental dancing and music but we heard it from our cabin and l don't think l'd count "YMCA" as traditional Egyptian music!