I join a tour tomorrow which will go through the Egyptian sites. I came early to get over jetlag and explore a bit of Aswan but I didn’t realise that by doing so I was causing Hazem a headache.
Hazem is our tour guide and operator. Most of the tour haven’t met him yet because the tour starts tomorrow. I was not expecting to meet him until tomorrow either.
It it turns out Hazem has been worried about me coming to Egypt early and going to Aswan alone. He is very nice but stern-fatherly-concerned-edly-so. He met me personally at the airport in Cairo, had my visa done, got me checked into my connecting flight, bought me a croissant and a cup of coffee, and sat me down to have a talk.
This is when I realised that I have been causing him a headache.
First issue was my choice of hotel for my four nights in Aswan.
I booked the Philae Hotel which is nice and cheap and has good reviews. Hazem, it turns out, had concocted a whole story in his head, before even meeting me, about why I am coming early and going off to Aswan. He thinks I am going there to meet a ‘boyfriend’, which, he tells me, is ‘okay’, and up to me what I want to do BUT, HOWEVER, I must be aware that he is probably not a very decent man otherwise he would not be asking me to meet him at a cheap hotel, and I should be very aware of this and consider this information carefully before I go any further.
I laughed and laughed
what an unexpected conversation after a long flight.
no Hazem, it is only me, no ‘ boyfriend’ , and I am staying in a cheaper hotel to save money
Poor Hazem was visibly relieved.
Now – onto the next topic
I had said by email that I didn’t need a guide in Aswan because I was just planning to wander around by myself.
Next headache for Hazem.
I was stunned to realise that in his role as tour operator he assumes that he is responsible for my safety for the whole time I am in Egypt even though the tour hadn’t started yet, hence the headaches when i said I would just wander about Aswan on my own. Hazem gives me advice that there are only two streets I am allowed to walk along, the Corniche and the Main Street of the souk, the rest I am not allowed to walk along because he will be worried. I have to walk as if I ‘ know everything’. I am not allowed to smile at anyone or ‘ look friendly’. And, by the way , there is nothing I need to worry about as Hazem is going to organise this out of his own pocket but …. even though I said I don’t want a guide ….. I need to be aware that there will be one anyway checking in on me to make sure I am ok. Hazem is arranging this to make sure nothing happens to spoil my stay.
I am going to be watched !
I am still bleary eyed after my flight but feel strangely like I have this surrogate father in Egypt who I didn’t know about till now
It is very sweet
imagine if I was meeting ‘ a boyfriend’ ………. can’t imagine what’s the guides instructions would have been in that regard, but when I meet him he turns out to be a big burly Nubian and I am sure that is no coincidence.
Remember it was the Nubian warriors who stopped the Roman army, and I read that Egyptian pharoahs employed Nubians as their elite paramilitary men.
Must admit I am very touched by these arrangements because both Hazem and the guide ( whose name is Muhammad) have been very kind and respectful of my space and concerned about not trying to ‘interfere with my choices’ but I can’t only imagine what discussions must have been going on before I arrived.
Thank goodness there is no ‘boyfriend’.
Poor ‘ boyfriend ‘ !!!
No photo of Hazem yet, but don’t worry tour starts tomorrow so you will get to meet him soon.
Here is Muhammad.
He is wearing an outfit called either a gabbelli or gallebi which is a comfortable outfit for men in the desert while still giving full sun protection. They often add a turban. He has been very nice asking me what I want to do each day and organising it which is handy because I don’t have to worry about anything or deal with language differences. This photo is taken after I said I wanted to go to the botanic gardens in Kitchener Island so he arranged me a little boat and negotiated the price and explained the whole ticket procedure at the other end and left me to it.
I may as well start with photos from that little boat trip.
The boat was driven by a little boy and his dad sat there supervising.
Here are some scenes from the trip alongside the river. Boats of all sizes, and one called ‘smile’.
A boat with a party happening on it and someone overboard but clinging on
Approaching the island with the gardens on it created by Lord Kitchener during the British era
Some photos from the gardens
Me trying to do a selfie
On the way back we passed The Old Catarct hotel which is famous because Agatha Christie stayed there while she wrote ‘Death on the Nile’. That is why it is expensive and why I changed booking from staying there to cheaper hotel
And here are my new digs, which I recommend by the way and would stay again, smart and clean and very nice kind staff
(that is not my car)
And some photos from the souk ( market). Tomorrow the tour starts and the adventure begins . Stay tuned !!!
( by the way I have no access to work email while in Egypt only personal email if you are trying to reach me)
(also for some reason these posts looks much nicer in the blog site than in the email digests which tend to scrunch everything up – and I found and fixed the typos in the last post about Nubia)