Friday, February 2, 2007

To Aswan.

It was early evening on our second day in Egypt. We had spent the morning seeing the Great Pyramids and Sphynx on the Giza Plateau and the afternoon touring the Egyptian Antiquities Museum. A van arrived outside our Cairo hotel to take us to the Giza train station. It was my second time riding in a motorized vehicle in the dark and I quickly discovered that Cairo drivers do not turn on their headlights unless they think it's absolutely necessary e.g., to warn a pedestrian or another car that they're coming. As a result, you see a constant flash of headlights as you drive down the street. Apparently, they do this because they think it conserves battery life...which it does but at the cost of risking human lives. It's a bit warped logic, if you ask me!

By the time we made it to the train platform, I was feeling absolutely miserable, my body was dealing with the effects of the flu.

I was not a happy camper :-(


The group chatted to bide the time.

That's Laura with her head resting on her hand, Dora in red, Sandy standing next to her and Daniel next to Sandy.


The train arrived in due time and Daniel guided us towards the sleeper car. We quickly boarded and ensconced ourselves into the sleeper compartments. The compartments were small but comfortable - each had two fold down beds (the lower one served as the seat back when it was up) and a small sink.



Feeling more tired with each passing minute, I immediately laid down on the seat and got up only when the attendant came around to serve us dinner which was a bit of fried fish (the appetizer?), some rice and ground meat, a roll and an orange. I wasn't very hungry so I picked at the rice/meat combo and I saved the roll and orange for later.

 

As usual, Lei was hungry and devoured her meal in a matter of minutes.

Lesson number 1. Do not stand between Lei and her meal -you're likely to lose a body part :-)

A short while later the attendant came around to pick up the dinner trays and to pull down the beds. By this point I was exhausted and my body was aching from head to toe. As with the previous night, my head hit the pillow and I was sound asleep. I didn't hear any call to prayer in the morning so I slept until the attendant knocked on the door around 8:30a. Breakfast was served a few minutes later - all I could stomach was a cup of tea. I desperately wanted to go back to sleep so I laid down until the train pulled into the station in Aswan and we had to disembark. It was a crisp, cool morning in Aswan with not a single cloud to mar the clear blue sky - it was an absolutely gorgeous day. We rode in a mini-van to the hotel which was just a short distance away from the train station.

I managed to snap this photo as we were pulling out of the train station. I have no idea what it is a sculpture of but I thought it was cool.



Daniel got us checked in and handed us our room keys. I flopped into bed the moment I walked into the room and as it turned out, that's where I would spend the rest of the day :-(