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Aswan

The Nile - easy to see where irrigation stops and the desert begins!We took the train from Cairo to Aswan - a trip of 14 hours, running along the Nile. Nice train. Long trip. Leaving early in the morning, by the evening we and the other passengers were pretty tired. I kept some cranky kids amused with balloon animals.

 

kids and balloons
Cabanas around the Isis-Corniche pool

Aswan is on the Nile, and a pretty town, although the tour boats - the "ships of fools" as we called them - were tied up non-stop along the river so that you could barely see it. Our hotel, the Isis-Corniche, was a pretty one, with a chilly swimming pool, several restaurants, and rooms set cabana-style around the pool.

One day we visited the Aswan High Dam and the granite quarry the source of much of the granite in the temples and monuments all along the Nile. Still in place is a flawed obelisk.

Lake Nasser
The obelisk

And still in place and functioning is Lake Nasser, formed by the High Dam in 1968. But the dam's presence is a mixed blessing. It has brought electrification all along the Nile. Farming can be more predictable, since the yearly floods don't have to be taken into consideration. But the silt that used to bring nutrients to the farmlands is backing up behind the dam, resulting in a need for farmers to use chemical fertilizers. And as the silt backs up, of course, the lake will fill. Meanwhile, the constant higher water level means that monuments along the Nile are being damaged by salts leaching out of the ground and into their structure - this is very noticeable at Karnak.

 
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