Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Egypt (5) - How much perfume!!!

Still in Aswan, today was going to be busy. We left early and headed (with our life jackets) to the ancient granite quarry to see the unfinished obelisk. It had been nearly completed when it cracked and as such was abandoned. After this we were bussed over the 'British' damn to the new High Damn that created lake Nasser. K and I quite fancy a cruise on the lake next time! This damn is very important for Egypt as it produces 40% of their energy - as such there was strict security.

After the damn we headed to a perfumery shop. Here they taught us all about how their 'essences' are made and how they are shipped all over the world to make perfumes. The most interesting bit was that if you mentioned any western perfume, Hugo Boss, Chanel 5, etc, this guy would bring over a bottle which matched it perfectly. K and I got carried away and spent nearly £200 on lots of different smells.

We left the perfumery and headed to the river where we (life jackets donned) boarded a small boat to take us to Philae Temple. Marco guided us around the site then left us some free time to explore. This was another site that had been moved to save it from the flooding of the damn - this time the entire island was moved!

After Philae we took a felucca ride back to the boat - there was something lovely about lazily sailing across the Nile, every now and then tacking and watching the afternoon draw to a close.

Once back on board the now nearly empty M/S Darakum set sail north. An few hours later we were at Kom Ombo - a temple for the crocodile god. We were shown around with highlights being evidence of ancient medical tools and some mummified crocodiles. They also had a well with 17 markings on it to show the height of the river. In ancient times this was used to tax the farmers - if the water was too high or low the crops would not grow as well so taxes were dropped - genius.

That evening we set sail for Esna and, due to the numbers of us, dinner was served in the back lower deck - sipping wine as the Nile drifted pass in the night - perfect!

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