Early wakeup call today... 3:00 AM!!! A quick breakdast and we were soon crammed into a small bus. Unfortunatly Lyn and I were 2 of the last to be picked up. Lyn got a decent window seat and I got was lucky enough to on a small seat that folded out into the aisle. Like I said, they really crammed us in. Thew back of my seat only came halfway up my back. Needless to say, I almost gave myself whiplash a few timews as I nodded off. We drove past the two dams that we saw the day before. It was odd that this time, we did not have to pay a dime? We soon hit the edge of the desert. There were a few guards w/machine guns, lookout towers and a few bars w/spikes to flatten car tires (but these looked homemade). There we met our 'convoy' and we were on our way... three hours through the desert. There was hardly anything along the way. We stopped once and the driver ran out and relived himself. As he got back in the van/bus thing a girls said she needed to get out..
. immediately. She was suffering from motion sickness or morning sickness. The driver complained, "This no good, police come, big problem". She was soon back in the van and we were on our way. An hour or so it happenned again. The driver said "Use plastic bag", but everyone raised their voice and he pulled over. We lost our convoy and when she ran behind a sand mound for some coverage he laid on the horn and yelled the police were coming. (I later asked about the high security and the use of a convey. I was told that nothing has happened... recently) Gulp! Ok, lets go... we soon reached Abu Simbel. This is where in the mid 1800's or so, they discovered two huge temples buried in the sand. One for Ramses II and one for his best wife (he had over 40 wives and over 200 children). When the High Dam was built and Lake Nasser was created, these temples would have been submerged. The goverment cut the temples into blocks, then transported them to two fake mountains 200 meters above. We spent 45 minutes here, then back on the bus for the 3 hour return. By this time the sun was bright and hot. It was cool to see the huge mirages on the way back. The entire desert on the south side looked like a huge lake.
We never expected Egypt to look like a third world country. There is trash everywhere and many beggars and many unpaved streets. Just about EVERYONE tries to rip you off and it is alot of work just to get lunch or buy a souvenier! 1) Nothing has a fixed price, you have to haggle for everything. 2) They get alot of English tourists here... If you speak English they start with a british pound price. But as you know, for us Americans... that means twice as expensive. After awhile, you can haggle down what seems to be a good US price. Only after a couple of days trying to figure out what an honest price would be, we discovered what they mean when a local says he can get something for an 'Egyptian price'. For instance, 3 internet cafes... all said 10 LE (Egyptian pounds) for 1 hour or $1.75 USD. We tried internet cafe #4.... 1.5 LE per hour ($0.26). It is like this for everything! We had our pics burned to a CD for 30 LE about $5.25. We thought this was a good price. Met a girl at the hotel who had hers done for 6 LE ($1.06 USD!!) We bought lunch from a Koshary for 17 LE. Last night we tried a different place... falafel sandwiches 1 LE a piece!! (Thass 17 cents!!) It is a wierd situation. On one hand I know the differece is small in dollars. But on the other hand I hate feeling taken advantage of.
Other that that, having a good time. Did a two day 5 star cruise upthe Nile from Aswan -This was a nice break. Saw all the sites. We rode camels around the pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx for a few hours. Weather is perfect. Getting some sun, but it has not been too hot. At night it even is a bit cool.