June 04, 2011

Abu Simbel & freaking camels - 17 September 2010

This post is partially continued from 16 September...


Ange and I got home and clambered, fully dressed, into bed. We had a wakeup call set for 2:30am but we had been warned these frequently didn't happen so we stayed up talking.

At 2:30am the phone did ring with the wakeup call. We filed downstairs and met up with the other bleary eyed members of the group and at 3am we headed to the bus. The bus went back the same way as it had the previous morning but then turned off into another street where a heap of other buses and mini buses were waiting. At this point we say for an hour waiting for something to happen. It was after 4am before we finally left. I think the worst part of waiting is not knowing when something is going to happen. Not being told anything is an interesting form of torture for me.

The reason it did take so long though, is because the travel police prefer people to travel in convoys when heading out into this area of the desert.

On the bus, once we finally got moving, I put my ipod in and slept the whole way there. We missed the sunrise at the site but that's ok.

The four of us took off together to go around Abu Simbel. I got stufk behind a group of slow moving oldies in the uniform of white trousers, ridiculous shoes and carrying walking poles so I had to race to catch up.

I came around the corner expecting a moment of revelation but only got the dull thrill or recognition. It was a disappoiting reaction. The statues are in themselves incredible and there is no denying how special they are. I think half the problem is the sheer volume of people traipsing through everyday.

Abu Simbel

Temple to the wife

Helen, Me, Ange, & Bruno - the Original and the Best
A part of me wonders if half the people who visit these sites have knowledge or understanding of what they're seeing. And then part of me wonders if the only reason any of this becomes an issue is because I've always had such a love for Egypt.

Moi - Image via ACP

Joel, Ange & Bruno - Image via ACP

We were only at Abu Simbel for an hour and a half before we were back on the bus. I did the same thing back as I did on the way in, but the seats were damn uncomfortable.

Nearly the whole group ended up following the 4 of us to McDonalds for lunch. We are all so sick of stale bread, diced tomatoes and cucumber with mystery meat in sauce. I never thought I'd miss McDonalds. We spent the rest of the afternoon in an internet cafe and didn't do much else.

At half 5 we all met up down at the docks and got a little ferry boat across the river. We climbed a sandy beach, covered in camel shit. Reaching the top we were greated by a herd of camels and their handlers.

Bruno was one of the first on and gone. I was freaking out. Ange was up on a camel and being lead away. As she came past I said "I can't" and she started almost yelling at me, saying "yes you can! Get up on that f*$#ing camel!!"

Practicing deep breathing techniques while waiting for a camel

I was lead over to one camel that didn't look like it'd be strong enough. I got my leg over and as I did the guy grabbed my arm and pushed while a guy on the other side pulled my other arm. As soon as that happened I was pitched forward - the two guys caught me as I dropped the "f" bomb and off we went. I don't think I've been so scared of something i my entire life. I'm also not sure how far the walk was bt I didn't stay on till the very end. I saw the downhill section approcahing, with underlying shale and I freaked. I know I said 'get me down' or 'let me off' quite a few times. The getting down, thankfully, was easier than going up. I know it's only camel riding but I feel I've done something extraordinary.

Freaking Camels!

I held onto the sadle so tight with my right hand it was bruised by the time I got off and it really ached the next day.
Once we reached the other end of the ride, two Chevrolet utes were waiting for us. They acted as taxis and took us to the Nubian village. The house turned out to belong to our felucca captain. I've never seen such a serene living area. It was like a giant zen garden. No tiles, or grass, just sand. The walls were painted a beautiful blue and thene there were the traditional beds / couches. I loved it.

After dinner it was back on the utes, and back to the river. I was far more confident getting on the ferry this time. Once back at the hotel, I zoned out with one of the terrible B grade movies on one of the Arabic tv stations.

1 comment:

  1. I hate camels. I understand your fear and trepidation! Great photos of Abu Simbel too.