[13/12/04~8 (D+829) Egypt/Aswan] Egyptian Nile River and Sexual harassment
Although I’ve heard that Some of Egyptian’s hands are bad to women, I was sure that I will be alright. The most of country I’ve been is undeveloped and I am used this kind of thing. But when I just arrived in Egypt, I found it is too serious here. I think I should not cycle in this country.
This is the posting I uploaded on facebook.
“I am frustrated…. As soon as I arrived in Egypt and cycled to host’s house.. I got sexually harassed.. One guy on a motor cycle touched and grip my hip while I was pedaling… … What… the.. heck.. I yelled.. f..f..f..f.. he moved slowly to make fun of me?.. and I lost control.. and yelled.. F,F,,F,,F…. This was the word I shouted today on the road as soon starting cycling..what a tragic..
In the city..kids threw stones at me….oh..hell…
I’ve heard many times that some of Egyptian guys are bad to women.. But I’ve never expected that it will happen to me soon …. there is no point to cycle here..I might take some bus or train to go further (200 km? 125mi) to Luxor and cycle to the coast…maybe coast will be not much worse?.. Don’t know what to do actually……
I love peace. I don’t like to hate something…But true thing is… most of days I was angry on the road in Africa. They bother and harass me . too tired.. too exhausted.. please.. leave me alone… please..please… PLEASE LEAVE ME ALONE!!!!!!!!!! I am too tired… tired..
African on the street.. is different… Nobody can understand Africa unless coming to Africa..I’ve got too much pain mentally in Africa.. but not physically.. but Egypt… it is … oh.. I am stupid… When I got off from ferry.. I was happy and said to myself “I made it!! All the way from South Africa!!!”…
No.. It was.. not.. I didn’t made it..
I didn’t enjoy.. I couldn’t enjoy in Africa. How come can I enjoy while they bother me…I tortured myself too much as cycling in Africa.. I feel so sorry to myself.. I am so so so sorry to myself.. ever…”
I research that this is too common in Egypt. No penalty for it. I ask other cyclists whom I met in the southern Africa. One couple says when a boyfriend stopped for taking picture, already some Egyptian guy tried to hold his girlfriend. So he couldn’t have any his own time. All the time he must be next to a girlfriend.
I knew one Japanese girl who cycled in Africa alone. She said she had the hardest time in Egypt.
I don’t want to have a bad horrible experience that maybe I will not cycle in Egypt. This is the only country I can’t cycle because of the only one reason which is I am the solo woman.
Russian friend whom I met in a ferry couldn’t contact to her host. Kindly my host invites her as well. When she arrives at host home, she is in a panic as well. While she was in a mini bus, one local guy asked her money from out of window. When she ignored it, he showed the knife to his throat to threaten her. Thankfully the host give us something to drink to make us calm down.
The host couple says their friend have a boat that we can have fun with it along Nile River.
I am feeling better than I was yesterday. It is such a different world here. To take a boat and have a tea and lunch on Nile River are true traveling! What I am doing with a bike in a third would country is not the traveling, but a game of survival, I guess.
Some Ruins around Nile River
Russian friend can play very well and she has a beautiful voice! I wish I can play!
On the dune, local boys roll over. Good job guys!
Finally here traveling is! I miss this kind of peace so much.
A telephoto lens is good for taking the picture of birds. Around water, always there are some birds that I like watching birds.
I heard that there is a nice museum of Nubian. The entrance fee is 60 pounds ($9). It is built just a few years ago that the building is very nice. Also I can take the picture if I don’t use a flash.
Usually ruins are located on the northern and southern Egypt.
Nubian is the one of tribe who lives in North Sudan and South Egypt.
I like to look very slowly that I spend two hours. But still it is a bit difficult to understand them.
I have some problem that I can’t stand longer some times. I don’t know why. Sometimes I feel bad and sick with stomach if I stand longer in one spot. So, I must crouch a few times while reading explanation.
It is familiar.
Isn’t it similar?
They look so friendly to each other.
It is familiar as well.
This is Korean old ruins. (The photo is from google image.)
After AD, Egypt was conquered by Christian. But now they are Muslim.
This is Abu Simbel. The relocation of the temples was necessary to avoid their being submerged during the creation of Lake Nasser, the massive artificial water reservoir formed after the building of the Aswan High Dam on the Nile River.
At that night I go to a police station to ask I can have an escort. The answer is “Nope”. I’ve heard that other cyclist got an escort. That’s why I go and ask. But no hope.
Tomorrow I will go to Abu Simbel. I ask a taxi driver whom my host knows what time there bus is. He says let’s go to a bus station. But when we arrive, it is closed. He asks somebody who is in a cafeteria around a bus station. It is said around 8 am there is a bus.
Actually it is funny that Abu Simbel is located around the border. But North Sudan and Egyptian border are closed. That’s why I took the ferry. I don’t know why there is no border.
I have to go to Abu Simbel by a local bus, because there is no any tourist who wants to go. Usually this ruins is so famous that always tourist companies had organized tour cars for many tourists.
I and Russian friend take a car which I took yesterday night. When we arrive in a bus terminal, the taxi driver says a weird thing.
“The bus will leave on 8 am and arrive on 12 pm in Abu Simbel. To walk from a bus station to an entrance is 30 minutes. There is no time to have tour, because return bus to Aswan leaves 1 pm. There is no any hotel or car. Nothing is there. You will be stuck and in the trouble if you are late. I am the friend of your host. I am worried about you. Hey, just let’s have tour in the city. I will guide you.”
Russian friend says it is waste of time and money to go that she decides to go back home. But I love to try whatever the situation is going. So I decide to go by bus although maybe I will have only 10 minutes to have tour.
The bus is 25 pounds ($3.5). But a local people pay only 20 pounds. Yes, always tourist must pay shit price.
While I am going to Abu Simbel, I am sick of the landscape. I miss the desert which I’ve cycled in Sudan. What a sad… I can’t cycle in Egypt.. because I am a solo woman…
When I arrive in Abu Simbel, I am surprised that there are many hotels and mini bus. The taxi driver cheats on me!! Anyway I don’t need worried about the bus and time. I can take a minibus to go back to Aswan after having enough time for touring.
The entrance fee is 115 pounds ($17). 15 pounds of them is for a guide. The guide explains only 10 minutes at the entrance and he is gone. Oh.. Waste of money. Entrance is empty and every light is turn off. I am the only one tourist?
This is the famous ruins in the world, Abu Simbel. Construction of the temple complex started in approximately 1264 BCE and lasted for about 20 years, until 1244 BCE. Known as the “Temple of Ramesses, beloved by Amun” it was one of six rock temples erected in Nubia during the long reign of Ramesses II.
The status is so big that I looks so small.
Their purpose was to impress Egypt’s southern neighbors, and also to reinforce the status of Egyptian religion in the region. Historians say that the design of Abu Simbel expresses a measure of ego and pride in Ramesses II.
Ramesses II referred to as Ramesses the Great, was the third Egyptian pharaoh (reigned 1279 BC – 1213 BC) of the Nineteenth dynasty. He is often regarded as the greatest, most celebrated, and most powerful pharaoh of the Egyptian Empire.
He is believed to have taken the throne in his late teens and is known to have ruled Egypt from 1279 BC to 1213 BC for 66 years and 2 months, according to both Manetho and Egypt’s contemporary historical records. He was once said to have lived to be 99 years old, but it is more likely that he died in his 90th or 91st year.
The inner part of the temple has the same triangular layout that most ancient Egyptian temples follow. The hypostyle hall is supported by eight huge Osirid pillars depicting the deified Ramses linked to the god Osiris, the god of the Underworld, to indicate the everlasting nature of the pharaoh.
It is prohibited to take picture at the inside. But a security guy is at the outside and I am the only one that if I want to take picture, I can do it. But I don’t do it. I don’t want to do things which are prohibited. I don’t know why it is prohibited.
Huge Abu Simbel and me
Ramesses also constructed a temple for Nefertari, which is one of his wives at Abu Simbel next to his colossal monument..
The small temple at Abu Simbel was dedicated to Nefertari and Hathor of Ibshek. But there is also Ramesses
Inside the temple Nefertari is depicted on one of the pillars in the great pillared hall worshipping Hathor of Ibshek.
When I researched information of temples, the photos showed lots of tourist in Abu Simbel. But here I am the only one.
The real size is too huge that it is so impressing.
On the wall of the inner pillared hall Nefertari appears behind Ramesses II. They stand before the barque of Amun, and Nefertari is shown playing the sistra. Elsewhere Nefertari and Ramesses II are shown before a barque dedicated to a deified Ramesses II. Nefertari is shown twice accompanying her husband in Triumph scenes.
Hathor was the wife of the Sun God so in a symbolic way, the two Temples, that of Ramsis II and that of Nefertari, brings Ramsis II and Nefertari and Hathor and the Sun God together as one. The facade of the temple is a receding Pylon, just as the larger temple of Ramesses II. On either side of the entrance to the temple is a deified statue of Nefertari with statues of Ramsis II on either side of her. The statues of Nefertari are the same height as those of Ramsis, which is unusual. Like at Ramsis II’s temple, there are children depicted around their feet. There are cobras protecting the Temple door.
Abu Simbel today is no longer in the same location as it was in ancient times. “Following the decision to build a new High Dam at Aswan in the early 1960s, the temples were dismantled and relocated in 1968 on the desert plateau 64 meters (about 200 feet) above and 180 meters (600 feet) west of their original site,” writes Robert Morkot in an article in the “Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt”(2001, Oxford University Press). The area where they were originally located is now flooded.
Hawass notes that moving the temples was a massive job, one that involved cutting it into pieces between 3 to 20 tons in weight and re-assembling them precisely as they were. It took almost five years, involved about 3,000 workers and cost (in the 1960s) about $42 million. He notes in his book that it was a great success, one reporter present at its completion wrote that “everything looks just as it did before; it is enough to make one doubt that the temples were moved at all.”
When I tour so slowly, a security guy who follows me asks me I will sleep here. Hahaha. I love to have tour slowly!!
I have to wait one hour until mini bus is full of people. Usually minibus doesn’t leave until it is full of people.
When I come back to Aswan, it is already night. I’ve never had cell phone over two years while cycling. A few times people had tried to give me some phone, but all the time I denied, because I didn’t want to be bothered on the road. But in Egypt I didn’t deny when my host gave me a cell phone because it is kind of emergency.
Frankly speaking it is much easier to have a cell phone that I can call a taxi driver to pick me up. I don’t know how I traveled without a cellphone. Hahaha.
I think Egypt is much developed than other east African country. A taxi driver doesn’t pick up the phone. So, I just take any taxi on the road.
It is the room I stay with Russian friend. It is just in front of Nile River like five stars hotel. Amazing view!
There is a three important attractions in Egypt, Nubian Museum, Abu Simbel and Philae. Now I am going to Philae temple. The entrance fee is 60 pounds ($9). Usually six tourists take one boat together. One tourist pays 10 pounds ($1.5). A worker will get 60 pounds ($9) per hour.
But there is no tourist that I wait.
After half an hour, one guide and three tourists are coming. They let me take the boat together. But the problem is a worker in the boat says I have to take the boat alone. I have to pay 60 pounds alone!!
I give up and try to wait another tourist just in case. Then the boy tries to bargain to me. Finally I pay 20 pounds ($3).
Just after 10 minutes, we arrive in the temple.
The complex was dismantled and relocated to nearby Agilkia Island during a UNESCO project started because of the construction of the Aswan Dam, after the site was partly flooded by the earlier Aswan Low Dam for half a century.
The most ancient were the remains of a temple for Isis built in the reign of Nectanebo I during 380-362 BC, was approached from the river through a double colonnade.
Beyond the entrance into the principal court are small temples, one of which, dedicated to Isis, Hathor, and a wide range of deities related to midwifery, is covered with sculptures representing the birth of Ptolemy Philometor, under the figure of the god Horus.
The story of Osiris is everywhere represented on the walls of this temple, and two of its inner chambers are particularly rich in symbolic imagery. Upon the two great propyla are Greek inscriptions intersected and partially destroyed by Egyptian figures cut across them.
Isis is a goddess in Ancient Egyptian religious beliefs, whose worship spread throughout the Greco-Roman world. She was worshipped as the ideal mother and wife as well as the patroness of nature and magic.
The center is one of god and the right is Pharaoh. The king is doing worship to god.
Many of them are destroyed.
Pharaoh and god
Can’t you believe that it is built almost 2400 years ago?
Everywhere is carved.
I keep thinking while staying in Aswan about what the best way is for cycling in Egypt. I try to get advice from many other people. But I can’t find solution and other cyclist who can cycle with me. It is too risky to cycle along Nile River as a solo woman. I don’t want to torture myself as cycling in this kind of condition.
At first I will take the bus to Luxor and have some tour and take the bus again to Hurghada which is next to Red Sea. I will try to cycle from Hurghada to Cairo, which is said much quieter. If it is also very bad condition, then I will give up cycling in Egypt.