These are eight, random "Daily Photographs" from my personal Flickr collection.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Philae Island - Day 106

When we were in Aswan in 2014, we did not make it to Philae. We knew that today would be the perfect opportunity. So, as soon as we'd finished breakfast, we hit the street.

First, we needed to find a taxi driver to take us to the general area about 15 kilometers from downtown. After promising one driver who'd promised us a LE 50 round-trip, we returned to find out he, of course, meant one way! So, we turned him down, ignoring his attempts at further bargaining. We walked back towards the train station and negotiated with another. We agreed to pay LE 60 and he'd wait to pick us up after.

The second step in the process is buying the actual tickets from the Egyptian government. There was no way to try to come to another price except the mandated LE 60 each.

Then, after strolling down to the pier, we needed to find a boat to get us to Philae. There were hundreds boats of varying sizes. Many larger ones had already been booked for tour groups and were filling up. We found a smaller boat and had nobody with which to share. Therefore we agreed on the LE 100 for the round trip. He'd wait during our time on the island.

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It was truly a wonderful day to visit. We marveled that this whole complex was moved to this island. The first dam often left the temple under water after it's completion in 1903. When the cold war meant Russia was to fill the Aswan High Dam, Philae had to be saved.

It does seem that the money and engineering involved in saving this and Abu Simbel during the late 1960's was a phenomenal feat. There was a sense of confidence around the time humanity put men on the moon. Many diverse global projects, which would never get funding nowadays, were accomplished. For details about the actual temple, see the link in the first line of this entry.

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We promised our boat guy that we'd only look around for about 45 minutes. We probably stayed about an hour but it would have been easy to stretch that out. After we got back to land, we called our taxi driver to come and bring us back to the boat.

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We were back in time for the 1:00 PM lunch. It was the hottest time of the day, so it was great to dip in the boat's little swimming pool. The temperature today was probably close to 36C, but of course, as they say, it was a dry heat. A bit later, we walked along the market road in Aswan. We remembered this city well from our time here in 2014. In many ways, it looked more prosperous this time. For example, there were fine, new, river-view apartments being built along the corniche.

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We watched the sun set over the Nile thinking that this may be the final time we ever see Aswan. It really is a lovely location. Tonight's dinner was up to par but the dessert table had a cake with a message which made me a little sad. (However, it tasted just fine.)

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Tomorrow, we will head back to Luxor on a train, hopefully the one which leaves at 10:00 AM.


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