When they said early, they MEANT EARLY! Our wakeup call arrived at 3:30, and our bags needed to be in the hall by 3:45 for the porters. Our group breakfasted in lonely splendor, attended by yawning but well-tipped waiters, then marched outside for the Bag Check ritual, where we make sure our suitcase has made it into the lineup. Our guides herded us through the airport chaos like well trained border collies, and we arrived with all our gear a little after 8:00 AM.
It was really pretty cool to look out of the plane window and see the true dimensions of Egypt: the country is just a habitable strip, perhaps four miles wide at best, bordering the Nile; the rest is just a wasteland.
We saw occasional cars on the desert road, though I wouldn't care to drive on it, but I was struck by the geometric straightness of the road. It's not like there's any terrain to go around, I guess!
On the way in for our landing, we swung out over Lake Nasser
which was formed when the Aswan High Dam was built. It is a silty, crocodile infested body of water which is slowly forming its own new delta now that the annual floods no longer occur downstream of the dam.