It was another long, desert drive back to the River and to the boat, but returning we got to see the Aswan Dams. We stopped on the high dam to see lake Nasser, which was named after the Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser, who is responsible for the lake’s creation. The lake is approximately 550 km long, giving much water for irrigation and drinking, as well as electricity. Now our guide told us, that the visibility is not always this bad here, but for some reason, you couldn’t see very far. The low dam was built in 1902, and despite it being raised twice, it came to the point of overflowing, thus the creation of the High Dam which was completed in 1970. It was a blessing to many, but also a burden as it displaced many locals from the banks of the Nile.
On returning to our boat we were supposed to go on a Felucca (a typical fishing boat) on the Nile, but as it was too windy, it was cancelled. So instead, we boarded a motorized boat, and headed up river to a Nubian Village where we were ultimately entertained by musicians, had some tea, some type of pita bread with dark honey (molasses) and some Hummas, a little dancing and some close encounters with their “pet” crocodiles! The Nubian villages in Aswan are still along the Nile river. The people are known to be extremely friendly and hospitable. They speak their own language, Nuba, and have their own customs and traditions. They have kept their ways and language alive through generations, but outsiders are never taught their language! The houses are bright and colorful, and full of paintings/murals on the walls. It was dark coming back down…hoping our captain knew the route well through the rocks!
After getting back to the boat that evening, we had supper and decided we would not go on the next day tour of the granite quarry, or the Felluca ride postponed from today. We decided to at least get one evening of entertainment on the boat and stay up “late”, I think everything was shut down by 9:30, but it was fun!
… the videos that were pretty hysterical!
Before heading to bed, I had asked for a late check out, but it was a no go. They had people coming on board, and the room had to be changed out. But, our guide went and asked, and we were not kicked out at the 7:30 a.m. but got to have the room until 11 – so was so very thankful for that. It was a lazy, relaxing morning and afternoon. I was getting a little worried about our crew getting back on time as traffic is crazy here, and we had to get to the airport!
They came running in the door basically, and then we all were back out , up the stairs to the waiting bus. We had to go across the low dam – which was a nightmare. I’m not sure how they decide who goes on the one lane dam, there were no lights, but it seemed it was never a go for our side! We were there for a good 1/2 hour, which we didn’t have to spare. Once we got to the airport it was a run to get through “both” securities, and then to our gate, and our Rep of course wouldn’t let us go on our own, so we would wait until we all got through. Always, there was always someone who had problems! But we eventually got there and boarded our plane back to Cairo. Again, as I figured, it was too late by the time we got to the hotel, the museum had closed, so no chance of seeing it. We had a room for the night, but actually had to leave the hotel at 11 to get to the airport in time, so we just charged everything, freshened up and waited. It was pretty uneventful getting to the airport, and actually going through the airport was pretty easy as well, neither of us got stopped for anything going through security. The flight to Frankfurt was a nightmare. 4 hours in the most uncomfortable seats, no media, and a crying/screaming kid for most of the flight. We were not long in Frankfurt before getting on the next flight to Vancouver. That was a long haul, and neither of us got much more than about 1/2 hour of shut eye. Sleeping pills next time? Again an hour and half at YVR before our flight to Edmonton, and it was all we did to get through security, AND Gus had to get a COVID test on the way to our gate! But we had about 15 minutes until boarding. Then on to Edmonton. So far so good, until the luggage conveyer stopped, and we didn’t have our luggage! (shipped straight through from Cairo) Air Canada gave us a toothbrush etc. and sent us on our way. Fortunately we pack our personal items with us! The next afternoon we were off to Calgary, and then home to Grande Prairie where Kendal met us, and drove us home! And THAT my friends was our tour of Jordan and Egypt.
But…………with all that said, this trip was not all bells and Whistles, although it mostly was. In fact, there are some things that I would do differently if ever I go with Exoticca tours again, the first being picking my own flights. The flights they picked for us were horrible, and had I known we wouldn’t have gotten to go to the museum, I would have booked another night in Cairo for that opportunity, but of course the Itinerary said, many times “the rest of the day is at your Leisure”, and gave examples of how to kill time. We actually thought we would have too much spare time, which was NOT the case. Don’t get me wrong, all the representatives, in both countries were well informed and organized they did their jobs with the outmost of attention and urgency, it is the explanation of the tour that was not accurate. Such as several of our itineraries stated after the Valley of the Kings, we would proceed to Valley of the Queens. We did not go to the second valley. So read your itinerary carefully, and if you go with “their” flights, ensure you will have time for “extras’ if needed. Another tip, that we encountered on this particular trip was …do not pack binoculars! Not in suitcase, not carry on, just don’t take them. When we firsts arrived in Jordan my bag did not arrive on the carousal . So our guy from Exoticca went and found it, and then had to come get me to go back and open it, and as soon as I got the zipper half opened, a guy reached in and grabbed the binoculars! I was in that tiny, stinky, cigarette smelling room for probably 20 minutes while they took pictures, sent them to people, sent them on to more people, mean while looking them over, handing them off to someone else to look over and on and on this went. Gary was ready to throw them out by the third time at security! We ended up putting them in the camera case in Gary’s suit case, and it wasn’t a problem after that!
Also, both countries are an animal lovers nightmare. Most of the horses, donkeys, camels, etc appeared to be in not the best shape, and for that reason we did not willingly participate in hiring them. Other than the donkeys at Petra, and I told him I wanted to see them, and what kind of shape they were in before I rode one, and all four of them looked well fed, and they had actually been groomed. The dogs are everywhere. Obviously some had owners, as they wore collars, but most we saw did not. One dog, obviously had an owner, and to protect the dog, it wore a collar with nails sticking out of it so if another dog attacked it, it was able to defended. So Sad. The day we went across the High Dam, there were 2 dogs there, so I went in the bus and brought out my stale bun, others soon followed. One dog was so thin, and so scared, broke my heart. I know not all countries treat animals as we do in the western world, hell, we have people that are pretty ignorant when it comes to animals. Its just sad to see SO many that are homeless.
They don’t appear to be into recycling in either of the countries either, the garbage is everywhere! It doesn’t matter if you are out in the country, or in the city. I know a couple of times I was actually looking for a garbage can for a water bottle, and they are few and far between. But one day! All these things take time and money, and there are some campaigns popping up here and there.
If you like haggling these are the countries for you! They may start at $500. Egyption pounds, and by the time they follow you the price drops to 100 in a short period of time. And there are all the fraud places saying they are selling authentic Alabaster etc. but you know when they drop the prices like they do, you are buying an authentic Egyptian Rock! There are plenty of stores, markets and factories that do sell authentic, but believe me, they are not grabbing you off the street to purchase it. Some get very aggressive, and its hard to get away from them, they will almost corral you so you can’t get away. It was not pleasant dealing with them, and at times, it was unbearable! Normally when I go to a country with a different language I learn a couple phrases. Being muslim countries, learning how to ask for beer really wasn’t a priority, but I did say “La Shukran” 492 times a day (No Thankyou)
Would I recommend Jordan and Egypt? Hell Yeah! It really was a bucket list trip. Both countries have such amazing history, and of course I learned so much about the people and the customs. While I was waiting for my phone in the lobby in Jordan a family came in from Saudi Arabia. He was dressed to the hilt, as were his wives(?) Of course their faces were covered, but you can see the smiles through their eyes. He came and talked to me, and then as he knew about as much English as I knew Arabic, he called for one of the door men to interpret. He made 3 of his children come and shake my hand and say Welcome! He was thrilled that I was from Canada, or as they all call it “Canada Dry”. We spoke back and forth for about 10 minutes. It was quite the experience. Soon his family went upstairs, and he left in a car.
And going on “tours”? This is our 3rd tour, and we do enjoy them. It is especially important in countries where you do not speak the language, it can be a huge barrier as we’ve found out wandering without a guide in some places. It is an opportunity to meet people from all over the world, and we’ve stayed in touch with many of those good people. We may never see many of them again, but ya never know when our paths shall cross again. Of course you meet some, shall I say different people too, but its all part of the experience, and the adventure, and that people is what we travel for. I’ll likely share a few more photos on FB in the next little while, but for now…the story has been told.
Not only has this trip inspired me to watch more documentaries, and read more about these two countries, It has also inspired me to start looking at another trip, maybe English speaking?