We left Cairo and flew to the city of Aswan, Egypt this morning. Aswan is a small city on the east bank of the Nile River. It is VERY dry and hot here (about 110 degrees F)! We did a lot today. We went to the High Dam (the 3rd biggest dam in the world) and the Unfinished Obelisk. The hilight of our day was the trip to the Temple of Philae. The temple at Philae was nearly lost under water when the high Aswan dam was built in the 1960s. Fortunately the temple was rescued by a joint operation between the Egyptian government and UNESCO. The temple was cut into pieces and every stone block of the temple was labelled and reassembled, like a giant jigsaw puzzle, on Agilka island.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
And look at that amazing sunset on the Nile River... as seen from the window of McDonalds. ;) I'm lovin' it!
This temple was originally built around 380-362 BCE to honor the goddess Isis, and the story behind the goddess and her temple is a romantic one. It goes like this: Isis' husband, the god Osiris is murdered by his jealous and evil brother Seth and his body was dismembered into 14 pieces. His body parts were scattered all around Egypt and his loyal wife Isis magically turns herself into a bird to search for the fragments. She was only able to find 13 pieces of his body and the largest piece (his left leg) was said to have been found on the island of Philae where this temple was built. In ancient times this place was probably swarming with worshippers, godservants, pilgrims, and craftsmen. Now it's a huge tourist spot but it isn't a high tourist season in Egypt right now so the place was practically empty and made the temple feel all the more magical and peaceful.
We had a great day seeing some of the sights here in Aswan... but I have to admit we are pretty hot, sweaty, and tired. Then I found my oasis in the desert... Mc Donalds. Okay, I know it sounds bad. American tourist eating cheeseburgers in the McDonalds eating crappy American Hamburgers in Egypt. But this McDonalds is great! Free internet, free Euro2008 games on the flat screen TVs, Oreo Mc Flurrys, and McArabia. At least I had the opportunity to try something new right? McArabia is a is a popular Arabic-themed sandwich with a choice between grilled chicken and grilled Kofta. They don't have this in the US McDonalds for sure!