We are close to coming to the end of our trip. Yesterday morning, everyone went off to the Edfu Temple while I hung around the boat and coughed. I have a chest cold and I'm coughing in everyone's face, so I though some down time would help. The temple is from about 200 BC and was built by the Greeks who were ruling then. It is the most completely preserved of all of the temples found. They came back for lunch and we hung around and I had a massage, which was wonderful. We sailed from Edfu to Kom Ombo during the afternoon and tied up at Kom Ombo around 6. We tied up next to another boat, which was tied up to the dock. To get out, we had to walk out of our boat, onto the other one and then out to the dock. They had a very nice lobby.
We walked up a bunch of old stone steps and stopped for a minute to watch a man play with his cobra. Apparently the cobras have been defanged so we could have taken a selfie with it. Oddly, nobody in our group was interested. The Temple at Kom Ombo was built in about 180 BC, also by the Greeks. It's a temple to Sobek the Crocodile god. They used to have a crocodile problem around here, but decided to appease the crocks by making thems gods and mummifying them when they die. It's quite beautiful and there is a crocodile museum with about 30 dead crocs in there. We went back to the boat and in to dinner, which was an Egyptian buffet. Not a clue what I ate. Mousakka, doner kebabs, chicken, fish, lots of vegetarian salads, and interesting desserts. Either super sweet, soaked in sugar water, or almost savory. You won't starve on this boat. The waiter noticed me coughing and brought me a tea made of ginger, honey and lemon. Heavy on the ginger. Really powerful and quite good. I felt like I should feel better after drinking it, so I did.
We sailed from Kom Ombo to Aswan while we were sleeping and hit the road at 7:45 this morning. We went to see the dams - the old, low dam that was built in the late 1800s and the new dam, which was built in 1976. The Russians played a big role in building it. It resulted in Lake Nasser, one of the largest man made dams in the world. It got most of the crocodiles out of the Nile and into the lake - there are about 70 thousand of them. It flooded several temples and villages, some of which were lost and some relocated. We go tomorrow to see the Temple of Abu Simbel, which was relocated from where the lake is now. It also displaced an entire tribe of Nubian people who had to be relocated. The Nubians are the oldest and purest Egyptians - Egypt has been conquered by the Greeks, the Romans, the French, the British and probably others, but the Nubians have kept themselves separate. They are darker, taller and very quite. We went to the Temple of Philae after the dams and interacted with some Nubians there. Meaning we bought things from them.
From the dam, we went to a perfumery that doesn't make perfumes. What they make are the "essences" that make the perfumes. Not the essential oils - that's what you get when you add oil to the essence. Anyway, they convinces me that the aromatherapy mint and eucalyptus will clear up my cough so I bought some. We'll see.
Got on a small motor boat and motored over to see the Temple of Philae. It was built in about 300 BC on the island of Philae as a temple to Osiris. It was flooded when the dam was built and was completely underwater for several years until Unesco came up with the money to relocate it to a nearby island that was tall enough to not flood. It has some really interesting hieroglyphs of medical instruments that are extremely similar to the ones used today. It's thought that the first brain surgery was done in this temple. What's interesting about all of these sites is that they are unprotected - if you buy a ticket, you can wander through, sitting on statues, touching everything. And there is graffiti going back centuries - Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and from all over the world. I posted a picture of graffiti from an American in 1836.
Afterwards, we went to a quarry where all of the obelisks in the world were created. There are 39 still existing, only 8 in Egypt and the rest in capitals across the world, including New York. They are created from a single piece of stone and weigh hundreds to thousands of tons. In the quarry, there is the unfinished obelisk, which is larger than any other existing obelisk. And it wasn't finished. It cracked and so was abandoned and is still in the quarry.
Tomorrow morning, we leave at 4:30am to see Abu Simbel. It's a three hour drive each way. Should be interesting.