It’s been since 2011 and 2012 when I was in the “Land of the Pharoahs” and I have missed it so much. I’m excited to be returning in October and happy to see my same crew of expert guides and Egyptologists who have kept in touch and are eager to greet the new group. We have added a couple more cabins for the 4 night Nile Cruise and more rooms at our Cairo, Luxor and Aswan Hotels. So here is your chance to join me on a most unforgettable journey. Things have calmed down tremendously since my visits but that didn’t phase me and Ms Marie Napper, a real trooper, who said back then during the protests, “If Kat is still going, I’m going”. We thugged it out for real and had the time of our lives.
Aswan, home of the Nubians —— the blackest of black people, kind, most humble and truly beautiful people. Aswan is where I feel most “at home” and I can’t wait to get back. Oct 16-30, 2018. The Land and Cruise package is $2575pp. R/t airfare from New York is currently $700. The newly added space will not last long. Tonight, in going back through old 2011 blogs, I came upon one of my favorites. I’ll share…
Today we checked out of our Cairo hotel and flew to Aswan. Our flight was at 2p and Ahmed & driver Abdul were there as scheduled at 1145a. Sunday is the first day of the work week for most so the streets of Cairo were busy. After arriving at the Cairo airport another rep met us, checked us in for the flight while we comfortably waited.
The flight was 1 hr 20 mins and upon arrival in Aswan we were met by rep Taha who collected our luggage and soon we were quickly on our way. As we drove through the quiet and very clean town, Taha pointed out places of interest: we crossed the High Dam, passed the Temple of Philae, groups of Nubian men, women and children going about their business. Soon we were at the dock. Our hotel, Movenpick Aswan Resort is set on an island in the middle of the Nile and the only access is by boat. Within minutes we were across the river and at the resort. We waited comfortably while Taha checked us in. I must say, every step of the way we have been treated with the best of care.
The lobby is filled with beautiful Egyptian art on the walls. I slowly took my time discovering what the hotel offered – a pharmacy, several gift shops, jewelery stores, a bank, 2 restaurants, 2 lounges, and 2 bars. The Panorama Bar on the 13th floor offers a 360 degree view of the Nile and surrounding area. The subdued lighting alternates blue, green, purple and red. The well-manicured grounds have a tropical feel with an unbelieveable infinity pool.
My room was a corner unit with 2 huge balconies both overlooking the Nile with spectacular views of the city across the river.
The Aswan Resort is not the Grand Nile Tower but definitely an excellent choice in this fine city. Conversely, busy, dusty Cairo is no quiet, clean Aswan.
The next morning our guide Hassan met us in the lobby. He is an Egyptologist and hails from Luxor. We were informed by him that he would be our private guide for the day, for all tours while on the 4 night Nile cruise and for our last day and night while in Luxor. Since thats his town, he promised to show us all the ins and outs of Luxor. We all decided we would pass on Abu Simbel since none of us wanted to rise early for the tour — maybe next time.
Upon meeting Hassan, he too said that I looked Egyptian, pure Nubian and his first inclination was to speak to me in Arabic. I’ve been getting this reaction from day 1.
Now this is going to blow your hair back: Some years ago I had my “Past Lives” done and was told I was from Egyptian royalty centuries ago. It’s no wonder why I feel so “at home” here.
Hassan escorted us to our private motorboat for a ride down the Nile to the Nubian Village. It was most relaxing as we passed the sand banks of the Sahara Desert, private homes; some fancy and some humble, and also passed the opulent mausolem of Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the Ismali Muslims. We opted not to do the camel ride to the St. Simeon Monastery but we stopped so Vera could ride one to the Nubian Village and Ms Marie had to have her picture taken with one of the camels. I had enough camel riding in Morocco so I happily passed.
As we arrived at the village we received a warm welcome and shown inside one of the homes. We walked around, were offered beverages and shown a couple of caged crocodiles inside the home. We left tokens of appreciation and purchased a few souvenirs before our boat ride back to our resort.
NUBIAN VILLAGE – In 1961 the government relocated 65,000 Nubians living between Lake Nassar & Sudan so they could build the Dam. The people were happy farming, eating fish from the river, cheese from goats and milk from the cows so of course they di not want to move. However, once they moved and the government constructed their homes like their original homes with sand on the floors, gave them electricity, they were pacified. They contine to farm and take their eggs, cheese and bread ot the market in the city to sell and in turn purchase things they need. Their children and grandchildren that now have an education and decent jobs have purchased homes across the river.
Nubians wear mostly white so tomorrow that will be my attire when we board the 5 star Sonesta Moon Goddess for 4 nights/5 days. Hassan will be with us and has promised to show us his Dvd’s that will show us the “real” Egyptian story.
Until next time…. Insha’ Allah (God willing)