|Nubian ladies and kids, Karima, Sudan|
Update 16 October: I've not been able to get online for update and more photos, I'm afraid.... Connection dodgy/intermittent.... Sitting here in Aswan on the banks of the Nile. Lovely town, with tree lined streets and the feluccas, the latine-rigged sail-boats like the Dhows of Tanzania, sitting pretty along the river banks. There's plenty of ancient temples and ruins surrounding us -- "I loove ruins" said Gough Whitlam and he'd love here. The temple of Isis on Philae Island, saved in the sixties from the rising waters of the Aswan Dam, is in almost pristine shape and venue for a nightly sight and sound show.
Aswan's been savaged by the "Arab Spring" uprising, known locally as "the troubles". All the Nile cruise ships are at berth, stopped, and the hotels only half full, if that. So much for the supposedly beneficial effects of the revolution, at least for the folk here, who are really suffering, tourism being a mainstay of the economy. The Nubians we meet here blame it on "the Egyptians"....
And meantime, there's the poisonous coalition of the military government with the resurgent Islamists, leading to the massacre of Coptic Christians last week in Cairo. Here, the churches are grand, but guarded by armed soldiers. No sense of any danger to them from Muslim thugs, but we wait to see the situation in Cairo.
Jeff Jacoby wrote a fine piece in the International Herald Tribune of 13 October, titled "In Egypt, a new pogrom", which summarises well the current dire situation of Christians in Egypt (indeed in the middle East generally), and I'll get a link to it when I've a minute. [Update: here is the link]
Now, I'm on Gordie's computer, as he's managed to get a link, while mine languishes. I have some nice photos I'd like to upload, but no time for that now.
The rest of the group has headed off to Luxor. We're staying here today, as Gordie's had to spend yesterday getting the car out of Customs from Sudan into Egypt and spent the Friday in Abu Sindal at the Ramses tombs there, so he's yet to see the very fine Nubian Museum and have a ride on a felucca.
Agatha Christie spent some time here at the Old Cataract Hotel, writing "Death on the Nile". It just reopened a month ago so we're lucky to see it. It's the new Sofitel Heritage brand (of which they have only five in the world) a truly grand hotel, with a wonderful Art Deco a la Egyptienne restaurant called the "1902", a must-see if you're in Aswan.
Better post this while the going's good. And hope to get some more photos up when connection permits.
We're going to watch the Australia-NZ match in an hour or so. Have just checked with Mustafa at Reception about the satellite connection, which they were working on, to make sure we could have SuperSport, and he said it would be ready "insha'Allah" (by the grace of god), and I said "no, not with the grace of god; with the good work of the electrician". He's promised....