Friday 9 January 2009 – Kom Ombo, Upper Egypt
I lay next to our guide Abdul, who could snore for Egypt. The truly impressive thing was the way he could get up during the night, deal with the boat, shoes, balance up and down the gangplank then return to bed and be snoring again within two minutes! I didn’t get much sleep, but the following day was hardly strenuous.
After breakfast (cornflakes, bread and jam, bananas and excellent pancakes knocked out by Hassan), and after the crew fully cleaned the deck from top to bottom – felucca room service – we continued sailing, tacking north in a stiff breeze. The boat’s thick blankets (camel blankets?) and our Aswani head scarves cut the breeze nicely.
The breeze meant that we made Kom Ombo, with its temple sacred to the crocodile god Sobek, in good time, and for me, just in time for the Gastro Stop to lose its hold over my bowels – these were probably the best two pounds I spent in Egypt! Kom Ombo, while famous and picturesquely perched on the riverbank, is not as impressive as other Ptolemaic temples (my, an expert already!) Like Philae it had been much defaced by early Christians. Even some of the river boats did not bother stopping.
Back on board I had expected that we would camp nearby, just across on the west bank from the temple. Instead we meandered back upstream for several hours, through a very attractive sunset and still did not stop. When the wind died completely, the crew (including cookie, who had long since finished preparing our dinner) started to row. Patricia was clearly getting very irate; Mike was feigning sleep and refusing to involve himself with the crew’s apparent mucking about.
We eventually pulled in at a local pier by a village, but only to negotiate towage from a local motor launch. This was fraught, as it fouled its propeller on a net and then its engine simply stopped, twice. Finally around 7.30pm we pulled in at a beach and set up camp. Dinner (by now very dry chicken) was quickly finished and no-one much felt like partying, so to bed for another snore-filled night.