Surreys Sobek and Sand
Trip Start Sep 16, 2003
10Trip End Sep 23, 2003
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Esna over night. We were going to take a surrey into town and to the Temple of Edfu. We have made a couple of friends on the cruise ship. People that think a little more like we do. People that are here to see as much of the Egyptian culture as they can and who are trying to respect the people of Egypt. Jeanne and Ron have become our fast friends. We have been eating all of our meals together, talking about other travels and experiences. We are going to share a surrey this morning. We rode through the streets of Esna in between the tradesmen, the goats and sheep. We were dropped off at a location where our group was gathering.
States normally sees but it isn't hard to put yourself in the shoes of the family and know that you wouldn't want some tourist taking photographs of grandmas funeral.
The temple of Edfu is beautiful and we enjoyed touring it. There were a couple of locals that posed for Baksheesh. They had such interesting faces that I couldn't resist. The Hieroglyphs here were some of the most interesting that we had seen. The whole temple was well preserved because it had sat under sand for decades
Egyptians, taking advantage of the passing potential customers, had lined the shore with throws and table clothes. Most of the locals on shore were young boys about 10 -13. We had been joined by a Spanish group on our ship so the local boys were bargaining in both Spanish and English. When they were trying to figure out where we were from they yelled out several other languages as well as the Spanish and English. They would reach an agreement and throw a film canister weighted with sand to the buyer. The buyer would then put the agreed upon amount in the canister and throw it back down. The boy would then throw the merchandise wrapped in plastic to the buyer. It is so impressive for several reasons. First these kids are multilingual enough make deals in several languages. Second they were throwing the merchandise up 5 stories to the top deck of our ship. If the merchandise missed and fell into the water one of the boys would dive in and retrieve it.
They were bargaining really great prices but we had some on the ship who took advantage of the distance between the customer and buyer. When they threw the film canister down they put only a small percentage of the agreed upon price. The boys trusted them and threw the merchandise before checking the canister. Even when the boys tried to let them know that they had to share the money the customer on the boat wouldn't give them the money. It was a shame because they had agreed upon about 5 dollars and only gave the kids 30 cents. The merchandise would have at least been 50 bucks here in the states.
Our chance finally came for us to pass through the locks. It is really cool watching the ship enter the lock, float with the rising water and then move to the other side of the Dam. There were dogs, that when they saw a new ship, came running along the side of the dam hoping for scraps of food.
I don't know if Osama was trying to protect me or if what he said next was the truth. He went on to tell the group that people from the country make their once in a lifetime trip to the big city to see the Temple and experience Luxor. They don't have much and they don't take back souvenirs but they do take back the stories..Kind of like our travel blogs only it is all story telling. Osama said it is a big deal to tell about the foreigner that they met that took their picture. Just knowing that somewhere out there in the world there is a picture of their loved ones. It was only hours before that Cory and I were concerned that we were almost out of 800 speed film for taking night shots and here we were confronted with those that that didn't even have a camera.
As Osama talked about the family I asked Haysam if it would be okay for me to get their address and mail them a copy of the photos. Haysam said yes but I sensed his hesitation. I soon realized that I was using my knowledge of the world and not taking into consideration what life is like in Egypt. This family didn't have a mailbox or a post office near by. They had no way to receive mail. Haysam was just trying to save me any embarrassment. I don't pity this family. Our society measures success in material possessions, that family measures there success in life experiences. Is there any one way to measure success. I don't think so.