We started early – no surprise there. We disembarked from our temporary home at Edfu and immediately embarked on a horse-drawn buggy. In this town the main source of travel is actual horse and buggy and was made so by the government. The horses look as well-off as the people and one even collapsed in the street on our way back to the boat. My sister and I were on one buggy with Mohammad and we jostled and jolted along to Edfu Temple. This would be the only stop on this stretch of Egypt.
Edfu is a Ptolemaic temple built over hundreds of years by the Ptolemy kings – basically, there were a lot of kings named Ptolemy and while they realized the importance of building in the faith of the country, they did not see the necessity in finishing their projects. So most never were. But Edfu had been worked on long enough to make it enormous, with sprawling columns leading to what used to be a roof. The carvings along the temple walls were still pronounced and detailed, but did not survive as well as the original Egyptian work and looked almost childish in comparison. Still, you stood looking up at a cliff of art, with detailed carvings depicting even the design of clothes.
We struggled a bit to find our buggy and then made our way back to the boat. This was a quick trip and then we would sail to Komombo that same day for another venture. I went to the roof and stayed in the sun for hours, finishing Agatha and slurping fresh-pressed strawberry juice. I was gloriously sun burnt by the time lunch was ready, a lovely affair of grilled meats and traditional Egyptian fare on the roof of the boat.
We went into port around 4 p.m. and walked off to Komombo Temple, but were deterred along the way by a cobra handler. Dad went right to them and next thing I know, there’s my father dressed as Indiana Jones with two snakes wrapped around his shoulders – just a casual, normal thing everyone does!
Komombo was pretty cool. It was dedicated to the crocodile god and had some exceptional carvings of him, as well as an intact Egyptian calendar that explained their entire way of life and was eerily similar to ours. A Nile-o-meter still existed outside and there was a 3,000-year-old piece of wood cracking out of the old stone wall. The best part was next door at the mummified crocodile museum which had exactly that: a line of huge and baby crocodiles mummified from thousands of years before. They looked like they were sleeping and could crinkle their eyes open and slither into the Nile at any moment.
Back on the boat we got our galabeyas on and went to the boat shop for some jewelry and headdresses to top it all off. We were really worried about being the only ones dressed up, but then even the most somber of the boat guests turned out bedecked in traditional Egyptian dress. A photographer took each group’s photos – honestly, the most ridiculous and corny poses you can imagine – and then we went in to the party. It was an awkward affair at first but slowly began. Once again, my family felt for the staff and threw ourselves into the games and dances, playing the ridiculous Americans. It was almost painful at times, but we killed it out there and I won two games!
After a four-course dinner I retired to the room and passed out early in preparation for the next day’s activities in Aswan, where we would stay in port for two days.