gmhTODAY 19 gmhToday April May 2018 - Page 97

So on November 10, 2017, our group of ten travelled to Cairo’s Les Meridian Hotel near Cairo Airport. There we met Abdallah, our Egyptologist, who would travel with us throughout our two-week journey. Egypt can get hot even in the fall; so our excursions typically began very early in the morning. By 4:30 am the following day we found ourselves flying over the Nile Valley from Cairo south to Aswan. It was remarkable to see the dramatic dividing line from the fertile banks of the Nile to the barren Sahara Desert from the air. We visited the Aswan High Dam—the second largest in the world. Its construction created Lake Nassar, the world’s largest artificial lake. It provides hydro-electric power for 40 percent of Egypt and GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN helps counteract the Nile’s unpredictable flooding. Following the building of the dam, the great Philae temple was saved by dismantling it and rebuilding on higher ground. Our next stay was at the Nile Vision, our boat for our 3-day cruise down the Nile. That evening we sailed the Nile in a felucca, a traditional wooden sailing boat. Everyone struggled to stay awake lest we fall overboard! Once back on dry land, we took to the air and flew to Abu Simbel, known for its two magnificent temples that were originally carved out of solid rock on a mountainside in the 13 th century BC. An UNESCO World Heritage Site, they were built to honor the great Pharaoh Ramses II and his wife Nefertiti. The views were stunning as we flew over Lake Nassar APRIL/MAY 2018 97