Aswan, Egypt – July 10th

We slept in a little this morning since we had some time to relax today. When we got up at about 8 o’clock, we headed out to see the unfinished obelisk. We were hoping that we’d be able to see it from the road because we didn’t want to pay for another tourist attraction. However, we weren’t able to. So we snapped a quick picture and headed back.

Site of the unfinished obelisk.

Across the street was a cemetery so we explored that for a little while. An Arabic gentleman there welcomed us and must have thought we didn’t know where we were because he felt compelled to explain that these were people who were “halas” meaning finished. He made a sleeping motion with his hands and then pointed at the graves. We shook our heads that we understood and thanked him for the explanation.  

On the way back to the hostel, we bought some bread at the bakery on our street to take for our dinner on the train. Then we headed back to the hostel. We met David, the owner, again and he made us some breakfast. 

Our train back to Cairo left at 4 o’clock pm, so David was going to drive us and several other people to the train station at 2 o’clock so another group could catch an earlier train. While we waited to head to the train station, we talked with several people staying in the hostel. We met a gentleman from Mexico who was very impressed that we had tried mezcal. And then we met a gentleman from Barcelona, Spain who we ended up spending the afternoon with.

While we were chatting, David, the hostel owner, asked us to record a video for him about our stay in Aswan and his hostel in our native languages. He wanted to post it on his website to get business for the high season. So, if anyone is going to Aswan anytime soon, I would definitely recommend staying at David’s hostel. The hostel itself is typical with some basement rooms and bunk beds, but David went out of his way to tell us the best things to do and was honest with us about prices. He was an amazing host, and we were so happy to have stayed with David and met him and his family.

At 2 o’clock, 6 of us piled into David’s small car and we took off to the train station.

David had been telling us about a sweet drink made from sugar cane that was a specialty in Egypt, so he stopped along the way and got us all drinks. They were very sweet, but tasty. 

Once we were dropped off at the station, we still had some time to burn, so at David’s recommendation, we headed over to a restaurant called Koshary. It serves its namesake Koshery which David said was the finest dish in Egypt. It consisted of pasta, rice, lentils, chickpeas, and some spiced tomato sauce. David said you haven’t been to Egypt until you’ve tried the Koshary. So now we can officially say that we’ve been to Egypt. 

We ate lunch with the gentleman from Barcelona. We learned a lot from him. He worked for the past 6 months at a Syrian refugee camp in Athens. It was very interesting to get his perspective on Europe and to hear his stories about the camp. I learned a lot about what the refugees have to go through to try to find a home in another country and realized that the immigration restrictions that are so hotly debated in the US right now are happening all over the world. It was an eye-opening conversation. After lunch we headed back to the train station said goodbye to our friend from Barcelona. Then, we boarded the train back to Cairo.

Although our day wasn’t full of sightseeing around Aswan, we met so many interesting people which made for a great cultural experience.

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