Sunday, December 24, 2006

Travel: Giza to Aswan

A better than usual travel piece about visiting Egypt and what to expect at different sites, from a writer who took the time in advance to read up about the sites he was to visit. He considers in brief everything from individual monuments to shopping in Aswan and environmental damage caused by the Aswan dam: "From Cairo it was a short flight down to the First Cataract, otherwise the setting for Agatha Christie's Death on the Nile and, more prosaically, the site of the giant Aswan Dam. The Egyptians are immensely proud of the dam, but even they admit to the negative, long-term environmental consequences. Without the annual Nile flood, the water table is changing downstream and corrosive salts are now eating into the very fabric of the Nile temples. The Mediterranean has also been deprived of its traditional source of fresh water, which has helped turn that great sea into a cesspool. In ancient times, Aswan was the true border of Egypt. Southwards lay the mysterious and unknown source of the Nile itself. Ramesses the Great extended Egyptian control a lot further south to what is now the border with fratricidal Sudan."

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