Sunday, 5 July 2009

A little time in Aswan

Before leaving Britain, and during our journey, one of our consistent concerns was our ability to obtain a visa for Sudan.  There is very little official information available; anything published is probably out of date, and the experiences of other travellers seemed to vary.  In the end we decided that it seemed possible to obtain a visa at the Sudanese consulate in Aswan, rather than  take an unnecessary detour to revisit Cairo.
We still thought it was prudent to give ourselves a week in Aswan to sort things out before the weekly ferry to Wadi Halfa, Sudan, which leaves on Mondays.
As it turned out, it only took half an hour or so at the friendly and efficient consulate to get very impressive, hologram visas in our passports, so we've had most of a week to kill in Aswan.
Having a rooftop pool with Nile views has provided a good default option in the 45 or so degree heat, but we also found a few activities that we missed the last time we were here.
The Nubian museum was a thoroughly excellent introduction to the region we will be travelling through (covering the Nile all the way to Khartoum).  The nearby famous Unfinished Obelisk however is enormously underwhelming, and overpriced - had the ancient Egyptan actualy detached it from the quarry floor, it would have been the largest cut stone eve handled, but they didn't, so it's not (we had also already seen the actual Biggest Stone in the World, also in a quarry, in Baalbek, Lebanon which was actually fully separated from the quarry, and was also free to see).
We have spent a bit of time with Trevor & Jan, a South African / English couple driving their landrover from England to SA (, who we met at our hotel - the Hotel Hathor, apparently managed by Abdul Fawlty.  With them, as a service to help empty the fridge in the landrover, we have had a picnic dinner in a nearby park, much to the curiosity of the Muslim locals may have been even more curious if they knew we were eating pork and drinking beer.  We also took an afternoon felucca cruise on the Nile with Captain Abduah, who had a good selection of anecdotes about previous passengers, including the immodest Canadian, the miser Aussie and non-swimming Japanese.
Less enjoyable activities have included waiting for days to see if there as room for us on the ferry (there is), posting a few items to NZ (3 visits to Customs, 4 visits to the post office, and about 3 hours of Amy's time), and Ali the next door bank security guard, and his quest for baksheesh.
All in all, it has been quite a pleasant stay, but we are getting itchy feet and are looking forward to heading to Sudan tomorrow.  

1 comment:

Vicky Herring said...

Oh how exciting - you're going to get to the most remote part of the trip soon!!!

45C just sounds too hot, but guess it might get hotter yet?!?

Enjoying keeping up on the travels.