ISSUE 22, July 2007
Editorial
Quarterly Communication: Speech of the Grand Master : Address of the Pro Grand Master : Report of the Board of General Purposes
Historic: Architect to a King
Young Masons: Value of a warm welcome
Faith and Freemasonry: The twin supports
Supreme Grand Chapter: Speech of the Pro 1st Grand Principal and Report of the Committee of General Purposes
The Grand Secretary: Notes
   Travel: In the footsteps of the pharaohs
Inventor: Voice of the people
Human Rights Court Judgement: Landmark victory for Masons
International Conference: Masonic history unveiled
The Grand Chancellor: Special overseas role
Specialist Lodge: Prior Rahere and his legacy
Public Service: Serving the famous
Education: Events : Importance of the cable tow
Lbrary & Museum: Fraternal art
Masonic Charities: RMTGB : Grand Charity : RMBI : NMSF
Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

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Natasha Blair


Natasha Blair

Top
Abu Simbel, an UNESCO World Heritage site

Above
A felucca the local traditional sailing boat on the Nile


    We decided to take a private minibus, which for a minimum of four people, costs 69 each. Although I was delighted to have chosen this manner of travelling, I can understand why this is not promoted. Firstly, we had to get up at 3am for a 3.30am departure. Secondly, all the coaches that were departing from Aswan had to meet at a given point from which a cavalcade of buses, escorted by police, departed.
    This entailed hanging around until 4.30am before we actually began the journey.
    Rather than seeing miles and miles of white sand, our route also had interesting black mounds pieces of rock which had scattered on the sand. Given that we were supposed to drive in convoy, our chauffeur hurtled along at breakneck speed, and we arrived well ahead of the other 20 or so coaches.
    The temples there are two are particularly impressive, as originally they were carved out of the rock in one piece.
    With the building of the High Dam in the 1960s, the water levels were raised to create Lake Nasser, which flows past the site. At that time, to prevent flooding, both buildings were moved several metres to a higher level.
    Planned activities finished in Luxor around lunchtime on day six of our seven-night cruise, leaving us 24 hours to relax.
    This gave us the opportunity to visit Luxor Museum, in which the antiquities are extremely well presented. A bonus to the collection is the more or less complete statues that were unearthed in 1989 in the grounds of Luxor Temple.
    If you really want to make the most from visiting the numerous temples and tombs, it is well worth researching the Egyptian gods before you go, as the walls are covered with reliefs. Many of the carvings are featured time and time again, and knowing who they represent will enhance the experience.
    Timing is everything when planning your trip, as temperatures can soar well into the 100s, while at other times you can be caught in a horrendous sandstorm. Our trip at the end of May had very high temperatures. This was particularly difficult when visiting temples where there was often limited shade. It also meant that a lot of the time we were suffering from upset tummies. The plus point, however, is that we were able to visit sites and enjoy them without being hampered by loads of fellow tourists.
    Keeping money for tips is important. Initially, our guide asked for the equivalent of 7 per person for the drivers and porters. On top of this, it is suggested on board that we give at the end of the trip, 23 a day to the guide, and a similar amount to the boat staff. Although Egyptian pounds can be bought in the UK, the exchange rate is actually better at the airport on your arrival.

Our trip was organised by The Classic Traveller, a division of Titan Travel Ltd.
Gatwick Express www.gatwickexpress.com Tel. 0845 850 1530


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