Got to Aswan shortly after 9am. Found a hotel and spent the morning / early afternoon walking. Tried to find a ride to Abu Simbel, but police won't let tourist ride the local buses (not safe enough) and there were police at the station so I couldn't bribe my way on. Which leaves the tourist bus that leaves at 8am tomorrow morning. I'm hoping I can go to Abu Simbel, then get on a Felucca for Edfu (2 days sailing) tomorrow night.
Walked through the Souq, which is colorful and active, but basically the same stuff as Islamic Cairo. The highlight of the walk was four kids on the corner of a dirt road hudled around a fairly modern computer playing some Doom type game. "A computer on every street corner?"
While enquireing about a ride on a felucca (with Captain Mandella) for tomorrow I found the Nubian Rowing Club, a collection of decayed fours and eights. I tried to find out when they rowed, but was told that it was still too cold and they wouldn't start for another couple weeks. This was sort of surprising since it was already 37° C (99° F) and it was only 10am.
Walked down to the Old Cataract Hotel, an old victorian luxury hotel, but wasn't willing to pay 25 LE (~$7.50) for a cold drink. Perhaps I'll do English tea there. Sat in the shade in a city park with a view of the feluccas sailing up and down the Nile, accross from the Nilometer and the Temple of Khnum on Elephantine Island. Had my new favorite lunch, Kushari, again, but this time the place charged me double what it cost in Cairo (still a cheap lunch at well under $2).
Went back to my hotel, cranked the air con and took a two hour nap. Spent the afternoon wandering around buying ingredients for dinner (ended up with cheese, still hot fresh bread, and fruit). Finalized arangements to sail on Captain Mandella's felucca tomorrow afternoon (assuming I can get to Abu Simbel).
Tried to figure out specifics about getting to Abu Simbel tomorrow and never got the same story twice. Talked to one man at the bus station and he told me the bus leaves at 8am, and I need to talk to the ticket office next door. The man in the ticket office told me that the bus doesn't run anymore. Earlier the man at the hotel desk had told me that there was a group from the hotel heading to Abu Simbel tomorrow by car at 8am. It was unclear to me if that meant via the bus or via a taxi. When I asked at the desk this afternoon I was told that the road was closed and had been for five months. I started talking to some of the other guests. One couple said they hadn't been alowed to take the bus, and had heard of people that had snuck on the bus being taken off at military check points. Two other guys said they took the bus yesterday, no problems at the checkpoints or anywhere else. I guess I'll just get up early and try my luck...