Egypt Day 9 by Maia Coen

Today we left the boat and piled onto our bus for the ride to Abu Simbel.  We were handed boxed lunches for the journey that were the size of cake boxes.  They were absolutely packed with food, more than any one person would want for a single meal.  This seems to be the trend for box lunches in many foreign countries.  They give us more than we could ever eat.  The bus trip was the longest of the tour; three hours.  I caught up on some blogging and finished my book Cats Cradle.  It’s a very good but very strange book.

As soon as we were checked into our hotel I put on my swimsuit and headed for the pool.  I spent my free time swimming and lounging around in the sun until it was time to go to the Abu Simbel sound and light show.  We walked only five minutes from our hotel before coming to the site entrance.  I got my ticket and walked in with everyone else.  I walked along the gravel path with the back of a mountain as my view.  The gravel crunched beneath my feet and I wondered what it would be like to see the temple.  It was a while before I finally made it to the other side.  As I came around the side of the mountain I spotted the statues.  Wow.  That’s all I could think.  On the other side of this mountain were four massive statues of king Ramses ll.  Although I had seen many temples at this point, this was something completely different and completely magnificent.  I couldn’t even see them very well in the semi darkness but what I did see blew me away.  The group shuffled into their seats and as soon as the last person was seated the show started.

This sound and light show is supposed to be the best in Egypt.  Describing a show like this is not something I can do to give it justice.  You had to be there, but I will do my best.  The show started with the sounds of blowing wind and pale low white lights came on that looked like mist.  I could have sworn the wind sounded real.  A deep booming voice came over us saying that he was the wind god.  It was very dramatic and I was afraid it would be cheesy.  Despite the intense drama it was not overdone and not cheesy.  The wind god told us the story of Abu Simbel with beautiful pictures and lights to go along with it.  The temple was illuminated to perfection showing us what it really looked like.  There were images of Ramses ll and his wife Nefartari, of the wars Ramses ll fought, and the deconstruction and reconstruction of Abu Simbel.  The dark shadows, booming voice, and the sound of rushing wind created a feeling of mystic and wonder.  The show was fantastic and the music went along marvelously with the lights and stories being told.IMG_0026

I was absolutely speechless upon seeing the temple for the first time. in that moment when I came around the corner I was so overwhelmed.  The shadows gave the statues a mysterious appeal.  I am at a loss for words now at how to describe this treasure to you.  All I can say is: this deserves to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World.   So far on this trip, though I have seen so much, I had not had that moment of realization that I was truly in Egypt.  I had this moment when I cast my eyes upon Abu Simbel.  I’m not in Kansas anymore.

After the show we made our way to a Nubian restaurant for a real Nubian dinner.  The food was superb, mainly because it was delicious and because it was not chicken or beef.  The food in Egypt has been fine and quite edible but being on a boat for four days with variations of the same food had begun to get tiring.  The Nubian food was a welcome break from the same old thing.  When we finished dinner we were ushered outside to see a performance.  My dad had told me there would be live music and dancing but we didn’t really know what to expect.  What we got were children.  The dancers were all between the ages of 7 and 11.  It was a fun experience and everyone had a good time.  Towards the end of their performance, as I had anticipated, they began to pull people from the audience to come up and dance with them.  The only people in the restaurant were our group and a French family so it was mostly our people up there.  I was pulled up too of course.  I’ve determined that when I am traveling with my dad’s tour groups I stick out like a sore thumb because I am so much younger than anyone else.  They always go right to me.  So I got up and I danced with the children.  The dancing was overly simple and all we really did was run around in a circle but it was a welcome experience with another culture.  This is what we travel for.