March 25, thursday. Finally a tour guide to meet us !!!! Montaufa rushed us off to a Falucca to sail to Kitchners garden. The sail to this island was very refreshing and we shared our boat with Carrie and Mark Todd of California (formerly of Issaquah WA).
They are brother and sister currently teaching school in CA and are touring Egypt for about a month. This small island was given to General Kitchner for the good job he did in the Sudan Campaign in 1910. The island was planted with exotic plants that turned this small non-descript parcel of land into a magnificent Isle that has attracted some of the best of exotic birds. We also saw a medium sized lizard that felt truely at home. Now it was off to Elephantine Island to see the Yebu ruins and the nilometer. The Nilometer was a measurement of the river during the flooding of the Nile to decide how much taxes the people could be levied. The higher the flood the more fertile and irrigated the plantings would be and thus a larger production and the reward of....HIGHER TAXES. The nilometrer is inscribed in Greek, Latin, and Arabic as well as hieroglyphs, indicating that successive generations of rulers found it useful. With a full day behind us, it was time to head back to the ship to have lunch and say goodbye to our new friends and Aswan. We were off to the High Dam and Philae Temple.
The Dam was very impressive, and Lake Nasser, which the dam created, is the longest lake in the world. Many ancient ruins had to be relocated when the dam was built. New York, who financially helped with the relocations, benefited by Egypt giving one of the large obelisks to them in thanks for a job well done. Philae reveals the glory of ancient Egypt's late flourish under the Greeks and Romans. It is also one of Egypt's most romantic sites.
The temples, shrines and kiosks of Philae island were moved to this site between 1972 and 1980. Another great tour !!!! Again back to the ship for the last time and collect our things. After saying goodbye to friends and staff, we head off to the hotel our guide is paying for (I'll bet you we paid for it out of the monies we put out earlier). Wow, this is one of those $6.00 hotels that we've heard about !!!! The room is clean and the bath is OK (what else would you want in a hotel?). Mark and Maryann are meeting us for dinner and a walk through the local bazarr. The first stop is a coffee and shesha shoppe. I had some great mint tea and a few "puffs" on the shesha and then a stroll through the bazarr to find a place to eat.
We found the perfect restaurant....dirt floor, angled and sloping table and a smoking motor bike coming through the kitchen. A variety of Egyption food was ordered by Maryann and it all was very good.