Friday, April 2, 2010

Egypt 38: Aswan

Aswan is a picturesque little town in upper, that is southern, Egypt.  Our hotel, situated on an island in the middle of the Nile, was one of the nicest hotels I have ever stayed in.

 This little town and the sights around it are well worth the time it takes to get here.  It has a nice, friendly, accessible market that sells, well, everything.  And they actually have cash machines that work.  It was lovely.

The rooms in our hotel were well proportioned and decorated nicely, the only one where we stayed in Egypt that had an Egyptian theme.

The 'window' on the right opens into the bathroom.  When closed it is a mirror, a nice touch.  Double beds in Egypt, as in some places in Europe are created by pushing two smaller beds together.

A partial view of the river from our balcony.

I also shot this from our balcony.  Here, the cruise ships are only allowed to dock 4 deep instead of 6 as they are in Luxor.

This restaurant was part of our hotel on the island--and very expensive.  Notice the dry hills just across the river.

One is constantly reminded of the thin line of civilization along the river in this country.  That sand stretches over 3,000 miles west from here, all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.

We ate our dinners (breakfast came with the room) instead at this place directly across the river on the eastern bank.  The food was fantastic, cheap, and the view was wonderful.

We spent two memorable evenings eating dinner outside here, floating gently in the water, watching the sun go down.  Notice the birds sitting on rocks to the right.

Here is one.  I think it is a Grey Heron but I am not sure.

I took a walk along the docks nearby, found some nice shots...

...and had another one of my third world moments.  These boats, which made great shots for me, still represent near poverty for their owners, who, most of them, are just scrapping by on the crumbs thrown by tourists like me.

An almost full moon taken from an open window in the hallway of our hotel on our last night in Aswan.  The next morning we were up early for a quick flight back to Cairo. 

We drove directly from the airport to the antiquities museum in Cairo.  I was saddened because the place is a dump.  It's an old French relic of a building that, from all appearances, hasn't been cleaned in thirty years.

It's a sad state of affairs for a museum that contains the fabulous treasures this one does.  Having said that, once one looks past the gold wonders of Tutankhamen, well, how can I put this?  I have seen larger collections of intact ancient Egyptian statuary elsewhere. 

West says this is because that, until only recently, the Egyptians did not value the treasures from their past.  And that made it easy for a huge chunk of the really good stuff to be looted.  Heck, some years back I saw a red-granite Egyptian statue, thousands of years old, just sitting on the grounds of Hearst's Castle, San Simeon.  It was in better condition than some of the things I saw here.  We have heard that the Egyptian government is in the process of upgrading and expanding their museums.  I hope the task is finished soon.  Their priceless history deserves better.

Next: the great pyramid.
Continue on to Post: 39: Inside the Great Pyramid by clicking here.


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