20.12.2011 - 20.12.2011 28 °C
Started the day with a visit to the High Dam. The Nile used to flood every year due to the rains in central Africa so the Egyptians decided to build a dam to control the water flow to Northern Egypt. The first dam was built in around 1902 and was a great relief to the Egyptians living on the Nile, at least until the floods came and went straight over the top.
So they raised the dam wall, which was much relief to the Egyptians living on the Nile, at least until the floods came and went straight over the top.
So they raised the dam wall again, which was much relief to the Egyptians living on the Nile, at least until the floods came and went straight over the top.
Time to go back to the drawing board. This time with the help of the Russian government in around 1960, they built a new, higher dam, which they have called, The High Dam. This was much relief to the Egyptians living on the Nile and when the floods came, all was good.
The massive expanse of water behind the dam is called Lake Nasser, and it is said that if this dam wall was to break, not only would it wipe out townships on the Nile, but the Mediterranean Sea would rise by enough to wipe out some of the Greek Islands! That would be enough to really spoil your day. Fortunately the security there is top notch. Semi automatic weapons all over the place and metal detectors you have to pass through....which we did, and the thing beeped like a Cairo cabbie.....and they did nothing. We just walked through and onto the wall to set our explosives. If you are sitting at a cafe in Mykonos, best you move upstairs or risk getting some water in your Ouzo!
From the High Dam we visited our last temple, known as the Temple of Light. This temple was relocated from behind the old dam to a location above the new water line. You would not know it by looking at it. Once again the Christians have defaced some of the art so as to prove to the non-Christians that the gods they worshipped, would not take retribution for defacing the temple, and therefore the Christian god is the way forward.
We had to catch a small boat to the temple as it is on an island and this was a very pleasant 20 minute trip.
It was then back to our main boat for lunch and a laze around the pool for a couple of hours, and then it was a Felucca sail to the Botanical Gardens. The Felucca sail was so quiet as we floated across the Nile....until out of nowhere, a kid who would have been no older than 9, paddled up to us on a plank, hung on to our boat, and started singing a blend of songs from Happy Birthday to the Maccherina. We gave him a small tip that he seemed happy with as he yelled out to his mate who was also doing the same thing about 80m away.
The Botanical Gardens were quiet and cool. We wandered around for about 20 minutes but when Jacinda sat down on a bench, two guys came up to her and asked for a photo to be taken with her sitting next to him. He sat there and Jacinda basically told him to go and do some pruning. Not a great step in Australian/Egyptian international relations and may have contributed to the unrest in Cairo. Our guide (in jest) said Jacinda should have obliged and she got a bit grumpy, and when Women get grumpy, they shop. She went off and bought the first thing she saw, which was a scarf.
From the Botanical Gardens we caught another small boat to a Nubian Village. This trip was very quiet slipping through some narrow water passages and seeing plenty of water birds. At the village it was nice and the people would start to hassle you to buy things but if you said no, that would tend to leave you alone. Nubians apparently only have a spoken language, not written. We visited their school which was beautifully presented and there was Arabic on the whiteboards, so they have both languages.
We visited one house that had live crocodiles in it. These poor things have been caught when they were very young, and kept in relatively small concrete pens....with cages on top. One crocodile was 15 years old and very grumpy. The other two were much younger, around 5 years old. The guy took one out and Sam held it. It was obviously a lot more placid than the big one. All a bit of a shame really to see these creatures housed for their lives in quite confined pens.
The boat trip back to the main boat took around 15 minutes and got us back onboard at around 5:00pm. At this point it was starting to get cool but those boys who were paddling around to boats and singing random songs, were still at it. Back onboard it was time for a couple of quiet beers in our room looking out at the sunset over the Nile and across to the Sandhills (and the tombs hacked into them) on the other side. Our Nile cruise has gone far too quickly......