A Holiday in Post-Uprising Egypt: Part 3

Day 3: Nile Cruise to Kom Ombo

I woke early the following morning to the feeling of movement. We had been travelling up the Nile all night. It was about 5am, and I tiptoed to the window and peeked out through the thick curtains. The night darkness was just beginning to abate, and I saw an opportunity.

I threw on a jumper over my nightclothes and headed out barefoot with both cameras. The ship was quietly making its way through the oncoming current and there was little sign of life. On the top deck the sunbeds were being straightened by a bleary-eyed ship hand while another similarly alert soul was restocking the towels. They looked at me quizzically as I scanned the horizon for signs of brightness, I was going to catch the sunrise on another continent. Many times had I seen beautiful pictures of sunrises or sunsets on the plains of Africa, and while this wasn't exactly Kenya, it was on the same landmass, and there was a similar sense of untouched wilderness, at least in patches between the piles of rubbish and the occasional humble riverside abode.
A short wait in the cool morning air brought the expected reward. The sun rose slowly from behind the distant African plains, filtered by some suitably streaky cloud formations to add a bit more mystique. Satisfied, I caught some shots of wildlife mixed with the occasional early riser, and then headed back to bed for a snooze.
A bit of breakfast followed by some sunbathing and snaps, and by midday we were approaching the port at Kom Ombo. The temple stood prominently just above the port entrance, and since we were told that the temple was the high-spot of the day, it was clear that experiencing Kom Ombo as a city would have to wait for another time.
Hani was on hand to guide us up to the temple, where he handed out a ticket each. We entered the temple grounds and up a gentle gravel path to the temple level. The last of the afternoon daylight shone on the ancient stone and we gathered around just inside the entrance, where our guide waxed lyrical about the characters on the beautiful wall murals and the sunken reliefs on the massive pillars.
Unusually, they had been largely left alone by the representatives of the religions of ages subsequent, who by and large took offense at the depictions of godly icons of worship and desecrated them throughout the region, to try and erase the past and impose their preferred reality on the world.
As night fell, we took some moody pictures of the temple, whose nooks and shadows were accentuated by judicious underlighting, and then returned quietly in dribs and drabs to our little boat. We scoffed what was becoming quite the usual amount of delicious food in the dining suite. Sure, my trousers were feeling tight, but we were on holiday, so I didn't care much. Then, after being briefly caught by the resident on-board tourist shop keeper (whose tactics matched those of the land-based vendors) we went back to our rooms to get some rest, where a towel crocodile greeted our return.

The day felt a little half-done however, so as the night descended we headed out on deck and watched the stars above. Orion was right above our heads, and lit by the moon and an IPad, we shared a peaceful drink underneath a clutch of beach towels as the boat made it's way slowly upstream to Aswan.


Fail vacation said...

Beautiful pics..I want to be there too:)

fancyplants said...

Thank you :)

Plenty more pics to come in upcoming posts.