We pull up to Hotel Basma, and now we have time to relax before heading out in the evening. The rooms are pretty basic and they don’t seem super clean, but it’s fine for one night.
The rest of the hotel is really nice though – a large restaurant, pool and promenade with shops.
I order some room service because we didn’t have lunch and dinner is a going to be much later this evening. There isn’t any Middle Eastern food on the menu that appeals to me, so I go Italian and order spaghetti. Haha
Tonight, there is an option to take a boat on the Nile to a Nubian village for dinner.
Everyone decides to go, so we board the boat and cruise along the river. Coming up to the right, high up on a hill, is the Aga Khan Mausoleum.
As the sun goes down, we experience the most amazing sunset with the most beautiful colors. Here are some pics….
As it gets dark, we head up to the roof of the boat as we pull in to the village of Garb Suhail.
Here’s a bit of history about the Nubians: they are an ethno linguistic group indigenous to this area of Southern Egypt and Northern Sudan. Some of the earliest settlements come from this area, as early as the Paleolithic.
A lot of the Nubians from Southern Egypt were resettled due to the building of the Aswan High Dam. In addition to their ancient language, they also speak Arabic and practice Islam. Cross cousin marriage is preferred to keep the bloodline pure, and many generations live together in one household.
It is a short walk down the narrow streets to the large house where our host family lives.
The spread they put out for dinner is pretty awesome – nothing fancy but it’s delicious.
Potato soup, BBQ chicken, rice, veggies, and eggplant (normally I’m not a fan of eggplant, but this is SO GOOD).
We hang out for a bit after dinner, and they bring out the crocodile…yep that’s right. It’s just a baby and it has an elastic on its nose so it can’t bite.
They also have a large one, but that one stays in the cage. Phew! A lot of people here keep crocodiles at the home; they represent blessings in Nubian belief and can be a source of income for the families. Sobek the crocodile headed god brought fertility to the land, and the Nile was created from his sweat so the Nubians prayed to this god for protection from the floods. The crocs are domesticated as pets and once they die, they are mummified as they were in ancient times.
Once we return to the hotel, we grab a couple of beers from the shop and Libby has already made friends with the shop guy. Every guy she meets is automatically her potential “husband”. She’s just teasing though, because she is already married but it’s a fun game. Haha. Kamali and Dai join us, and we sit in the shop and have a chat. Not too late of a night though because we have another super early departure tomorrow morning. After I go to bed, some drama unfolds which could drastically alter the course of the next few days……..
The vibe of Aswan is cool, and I would have liked to spend another day here. I think the tour could definitely add an extra day. The hotel is right next to the Nubian museum, which I would have loved to have checked out if I had time. A few other notable things here is the Nilometer (measures the clarity and water level of the Nile), the Unfinished Obelisk(the largest known ancient obelisk), Elephantine Island and the Old Cataract Hotel (it was the setting for the novel Death on the Nile, and the movie was filmed here too). And even just to wander around and take in the atmosphere….. I guess I’ll just have to come back and visit again!