04.04.2008 - 07.04.2008
View World tour on 5fingerfab's travel map.
I got a day off and I came to Al Quseir (2 hours by car to the north of Marsa Alam) to update the blog (and try to repair my sandals). So here are a few pictures I took in Aswan (or Assouan) in the beginning of april before coming to Marsa.
After Cairo Martin and I took the train to Aswan. That's quite a long distace and it took about 15 hours. Fortunately we had bought 1st class tickets and thus had slightly more room for our legs...
Aswan is a very touristic town (actually I have seen only touristic places in Egypt, which is probably why I have a rater low opinion of this country so far). As usual I got harassed by very persistent locals to buy the crap they're selling or to go on felouqa rides on the nile.
Not much to say about the town itself, the mosque is quite nice, though:
And here's the view from the corniche facing west:
Martin and I went to a restaurant and ordered a shisha and beer before realising that it was friday. They actually brought us beer, but I still wonder what it was :-) I'm quite sure it was non-alcoholic.
Around the 5th or 6th I went to the university there because I wanted to see my publication in Nature. The uni is actually quite far outside the city and it was really complicated to explain where I wanted to go to the taxi driver. I guess the uni is not a common tourist destination :-) I arrived at the university gate where I was stopped by the security who asked me what on earth I was doing here and that I couldn't just walk in. This was unexpected, because I'm used to universities being public places where anyone can go in and out. I told them I was a doctor and let them believe I had an appointment with a professor here, so one of the guards accompanied me to the natural sciences building. There I met a professor (a woman, anyway from what I've seen there were many female students around and higher education seems definitely not restricted to men) who directed me to the library. The library is very small and I met one of the professors there who told me they couldn't afford journals like nature and science. Oh well, I'll get to read my article someday. Anyway, this little insight in an egyptian university showed me how easier studying in a western country is, these people do research with very little equipment and ressources. The egyptian leaders obviously prefer spending money for the police and the army.
Here's the entrance to the Abou Simbel temple. Lot's of hieroglyphs and carvings inside. Some say this is the most beautiful temple in Egypt. I won't voice any opinion here, since I haven't seen half of them.
I did meet some really nice people in Aswan. These were Nubians that lived on the Elephantine Island that divides the Nile in Aswan. I jumped in their boat thinking it was the ferry. First thing they did was offering me to smoke, even before saying hello :-D We spent the evening partying, they really improved my impression of egyptian people. Elephantine Island is a very beautiful island:
The view to the south:
One of the two villages on the island:
A street in the other village:
The path connecting the two villages:
I stayed in Aswan 4 days then took the bus to Marsa Alam.