Made it safely to Aswan… yesterday went to the Philae temple, which is unique because it is on an island in the middle of the Nile. It is dedicated to the god Isis, whose husband was apparently living under some rocks in the next island over. Or something. I have a short attention span.
Then in the afternoon we went to a Nubian village and had dinner with a local family, which was great. The Nubians are a formerly nomadic people who used to roam between southern Egypt and Sudan (which is to the south). They are a mix of African and Arab and have their own language, culture, etc. When Egypt constructed their giant dam the Nubian land was flooded, which led to them settling in this area. The dam also caused the Philae and Abu Simbel temples to have to be moved. Costly all around.
Today I hopped a quick flight to the aforementioned Abu Simbel. It is famous for the entrance having four giant statues of Ramses II (the Pharoah often thought to be the one known to Joseph and his probably-not-technicolor dreamcoat). The statues were intended to impress visitors coming to Egypt from the south and it definitely lives up to its purpose (although I actually came from the north). They are massive. Next to Ramses’ temple is one for the Queen, Nefertari, which has its own four statues that are not quite as big as the king’s. Pharoahs have to protect their egos afterall.
We weren’t allowed to take photos inside the temple because it degrades the remaining painted bits– all of the temples in Egypt were originally brightly painted throughout, but the paint has mostly worn off over time, leaving just the carved stone that we now think of as being Egyptian.
Tomorrow we are taking a felucca (sailboat) all day and night, and I somehow doubt there will be WI-FI (although we just found out there will be toilets, which had been questionable, so, yay) so I will catch up in Luxor.