Moss, is humor writer from Tennessee. She writes a
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things that happen to everyone.
She has written for the Daily News of Kingsport, Griffin Journal,
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Online Since 1999
The Egypt Series
The flight to Aswan is uneventful
except for being questioned by security about a mirror in my purse.
They also want to take my camera out of the bag and look at it. Honey,
who probably fits some terrorist profile due to his beard, is searched
at nearly every security stop. Strange that we are afraid extremist
Muslims will blow up our planes and they are afraid Americans will
blow up theirs.
At Aswan the traffic is pleasantly nonexistent. We arrive late in the
evening and I cannot see much at night, but the housing here seems to
be not as dense or high rise as Cairo. I have swollen ankles either
from the plane ride or from so much walking at the museum before we
On the way from the airport, we cross the Low Aswan Dam, not to be
confused with the High Aswan Dam. Aswan, we are told, has a lot of
fresh fish due to having a lot of dams and Lake Nasser. Only
certain fishermen have contracts with the government and are allowed
to fish here where some fish are rumored to be large enough to fish
The next day we run through a tour of Aswan High Dam which was built
by Sadat with the help of the Russians during a period of political
tensions with the U.S. After the Russians taught Egyptians how to
build a dam and run it, they were invited to exit the country leaving
behind a large monument to friendship between the two countries. So
much for friendship.
The Aswan High Dam controls flooding on the Nile River and also
generates electric power, making electricity very cheap. Security is
tight at the dam; however, it is not secure enough to keep out the
pack of mongrel dogs, which roams about on the dam -- the dam dogs, my
sister calls them. Everyone runs off to take pictures of the dam and I
stay behind to be hassled by the grounds-keeper and get lost when
the group doesn't return. This is becoming a regular pastime of
After the dam incident, we tour our first ancient Egyptian temple, the
Temple of Philae, a large temple of about 550 BC to honor Isis. It is
believed to be the final temple built in ancient Egypt and the end of
the age of the Pharaohs. It was moved stone by stone to a new location
on an island to prevent it from being flooded when the lake was
created, a jigsaw puzzle of jigsaw puzzles.
The many stairs going up and down the river banks to the Nile, often
without banisters, and the rough cobblestone paving in temples make
walking difficult, especially for someone with bad knees to begin
with. At the temple I'm left behind to fend for myself, as usual, not
knowing where anyone else is. At this point I am beginning to have
second thoughts about even being here.
The temples have many cartouches, which are carvings, with the name in
Egyptian hieroglyphics of the pharaoh who built it, or who wants
people to believe that he did. These are oblong oval enclosures with a
horizontal line at one end, indicating that the text enclosed is a
royal name. They were first called cartouches by Napoleon's soldiers
who thought the oblong carvings resembled bullets.
All the ladies in the group are interested in buying gold cartouche
jewelry, which are gold oval charms personalized with your name in
hieroglyphics. The Egyptians are very good at cashing in on their
ancient assets. Anyhow, the guide adjusts the schedule so we can visit
a gold shop.
Later, we take a relaxing scenic cruise on the Blue Nile, which is
peaceful and wonderful. The weather is beautiful and the scenery is
exotic. We have a catered picnic lunch on an island and life seems
Copyright 2010 Sheila Moss
Nashville, TN 37219
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