Thursday, May 28, 2009

Halloo from Aswan!

Sorry I haven't been able to update more often. For some reason my Blackberry wouldn't connect to the 3G data network- even though it saw that it was there. Now, in Aswan, it magically started working again.

Anyways, the short version so far is that we flew into Cairo through Frankfurt (disgusting airport) and took a bus to the Concorde Hotel. My roommate from Barcelona and his fiancee are also on the trip, so thats neat. The hotel... was a mess. Our tour director didn't really know what was going on, had assigned rooms and people wanted to room together. Plus, the hotel had one elevator, that was slow and could only handle four people at a time, and no stairs (yeah- no stairs, except emergency stairs). Plus, the rooms were a little grimey, and the AC didn't work. Then, he tells us that dinner is on our own event though we have the printout that says dinners are included. It took us FOREVER to find some place to eat. A big group of students were getting in a 2AM including some of my friends, so after sleeping a bit I woke up to welcome them (and help our Tour Director avoid another train wreck). It definitely helped.

The next day we took a bus tour around Cairo which was nice, and then back to the airport where we flew to Luxor. Once there we boarded the M/S Con Tiki which is AWESOME. Beautiful ship and accomodations. The next day was very busy. We visited the Valley of the Kings and saw the tombs of Ramses 1, 4, and 9. We passed King Tut's tomb but it was another 100 pounds to go inside so we passed. We then went to Al-Deir Al-Bahari Temple which was on the opposite side of a mountain along the Valley of Kings but was dedicated to a very popular ancient Egyptian Queen. We then went to the Valley of the Queens and saw two more tombs. Later that day we also visited the Luxor Temple and Karnak Temple. Yesteday we had a much easier day visiting the Edfu Temple, then sailing to visit the Kom Ombo Temple. That night we had an Egyptian Dinner where we dressed up like ancient Egyptians and ate Egyptian food.

Today we had some down time and later we will be doing an excursion. We're going to take a motorboat to a "camel parking lot" where we'll ride camels to a Nubian village where we'll learn about this culture of south Egyptians. Then we'll head into Aswan for a tour and some free time at an open air market (looking for some spices!) Tomorrow we go to the big dam that controls the flooding of the Nile Valley, and a sailboat ride. We'll also visit a perfume factory where they make the concentrated fragrances of many perfumes. Then, tomorrow night we'll board an overnight train back to Cairo for two more days of adventure before we head to Amsterdam!

Thats all for now- the internet in the cafe is too slow to upload photos or videos...

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