Day 34, 7 August 2012, Aswan to Abu Simbel (Road Trip!), Kom Ombo Temple, Egyptian Party - The day started early. Very Early. 3 am (in the morning!) early. Nevertheless, time, tide and government bus convoys wait for no tourists. We're off to Abu Simbel. As I write, the sun is rising over the Sahara, and we are speeding along an excellent road smack bang in the middle of the desert. The convoy necessitates the early start, but more importantly temperatures reach the 50s in the middle of the day at Abu Simbel - even mad dogs and Englishmen don't go out in the midday sun in these parts. Three hours in an air-conditioned bus on good roads is nothing for seasoned travellers like us and we lazy-boy reclined our seats for a good snooze. There are currently not enough words to describe the view as we came around the corner of a path and viewed these massive temples. Originally erected by King Ramses II for himself and his wife Nefertari (aka. Nefertiti) they were saved from inundation in the mid 1960s by a $45 million grant from UNESCO. And worth every penny. Abu Simbel consists of two miracles in our opinion - the original construction in the mid-13th century BC and the complex deconstruction and reassembly. (info for the keen types: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Simbel_temples)
We continued our history binge after lunch and a swim in the rooftop ship's pool, motoring North, downriver to the twin temples of Kom Ombo - dedicated to Sobek - the crocodile god and Horus the Elder (Horus is the falcon headed god and the falcon is displayed in Egypt Air's tail fins even today). (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_Kom_Ombo). The temple at Kom Ombo is an unusual structure built during the Ptolemaic period when the Greeks were running Egypt (say 150BC) - Every thing is in duplicate - two entrances, two halls, two holiest of holies and altar stones. And some canny priests back in the day (unlike now of course), who could make their voices echo into the altar rooms where the golden statues of the respective gods sat... putting the fear of god(s) into the local wealthy types and more gold into the offering bowls. It was our turn to drop some gold into the bowl when we returned to the ship - we had heard rumours of an Egyptian party in the lounge, and had 99% decided the last things we needed were fancy dress clothes.... but we gave in and went to the onboard shop. Paid 10 times the going rate for a couple of outfits. Still only $20 odd. Actually paid for the privilege of trying them on and not being pestered by street vendors who give flies on a hot day a good name. We looked pretty smashing even if we do say so ourselves and had a huge night of party games, dancing and Egyptian pop music. Beddy byes after 11 pm. Tomorrow's wake up a leisurely 5.45 am for a visit to Edfu temple via caleche (horse & buggy) - opening time 7 am.