Oct 27th 2015  

 Travel diaries

This entry is part 5 of 8 in the series FWC Aswan Training 2015

Saw the sunrise yesterday so lie in until nearly 7.  Into my own clothes (Phew! They still fit) and ready for footwear other than walking boots.  Ahh, my lovely Crocs, bought in Singapore on a memorable trip and widely admired.  Right, somebody somewhere is eating Scottish shortbread trying out tossing the caber wearing pink Crocs.  So just when I thought I didn’t need any more non-attachment and gratitude for the loan of a t-shirt, Fate has reminded me  that “it’s only stuff”.  Yes, Fate, but it was my stuff.

By 8 it is absolutely baking and we have a pre-breakfast dip in the Nile.  It’s very odd to be swimming in a river effectively in the centre of a city.DSC_1089

DSC_1093Bring my long-lost jar of marmalade to breakfast – tastes fantastic.  All ready for the hours on the bus ahead of us.  I have also located this year’s test piece of equipment –  technologically engineered athlete’s cooling scarves (as worn by Serena Williams, according to the packaging) in day-glo orange.

Long bus ride with rudimentary picnic lunch on the move.  “Who needs the bathroom?” Yes please.  Ah, had forgotten that in these parts (the Western Desert Road) “the bathroom” is a euphemism for going behind a pile of sand.  Which is ok if you don’t want the car drivers to see you, but working out the line of sight of the lorry drivers is a bit disconcerting.  “Oh well, they’ve seen it all before” sighs my behind-the sand-pile DSC_1124companion, but I’m not sure they have.

DSC_1146Arrive at Abu Simbel, greeted by a lovely Nubian family. Quick stop for a drink and some strategic planning then off the to the famed Abu Simbel Temple.  Because of events over the last few years, tourism has really dropped off.  Previously this place had up to 8,000 visitors per day.  Today we were the only people there. I mean, I know we are not best in a crowd but this was ridiculous. Unbelievable experience wandering around this UNESCO site as the sole tourists. Took our time taking photos and visiting the interiors (no guides or photos allowed).  I don’t think this will ever happen again.

DSC_1185There is more than an hour between visiting the temple and returning for the Sound and Light show.  Where to now?  We’re going for a dip.  OK. What about the crocodiles?  Oh don’t worry it’s a 1,000,000 to 1 chance, but there are 10 of us so that lowers the odds because of the amount of noise we’ll make, so it’s 100,000 to 1 chance, and if one turns up there are 10 of us so it’s a 10 to 1 chance.  So, thinking fast and slow, we think it will be a good idea to go for a swim in the crocodile-infested waters of Lake Nasser.  Hop into a boat and head off towards a beach.

The laws of probability may be a bit beyond us, but the laws of gravity keep it simple.  It is easier to jump offDSC_1189 the boat into the water than it is to haul yourself up the side of the boat and back in.  Much, much, much easier.  Simple.  I’m not sure which immutable law states that the effort required to change after swimming is 9.865 times the effort required to get your swim things on.  If you are modest then the effort is increased by the Difficulty Co-efficient, and standing in an open boat with a bunch of blokes sitting around in their wet shorts increases it by the Impossibility Co-efficient.  I’ll work it out with the quants back in class.DSC_1214

Anyway as night falls we find the seats for the Sound and Light show.  And here another GCSE maths problem rears its head.  You are in a group of 10 people, in an auditorium built for 500, what is the optimum distance between you and the nearest person to you?  The show illuminates the temples and projects the stories of its origins and removal to its current site in the early 1960s when the second Aswan Dam was being constructed.  Got a bit distracted when the International Space Station went overhead.  Ancient and Modern – thanks Fate.

Dinner was fish, fresh from the Lake.  Goodnight.  (And by the way, the day-glo scarves were amazing – very cooling).