Today we had another 3:30 AM wakeup call and trip to the airport. We'll be flying ~180 miles further south of Aswan to Abu Simbel, almost at the Ethiopian border. Ramses the Great (Ramses II) built two magnificent temples there to "mark his territory" and discourage the Cushite kings who lived just south of there from trying to invade any country that could build something so impressive. This is the famous temple with four colossal statues of Ramses himself, under whose glare any invading army would have to pass.
My souvenir buying is finally coming together, and I actually found something for myself today! We got to the airport in very good time for our flight, so we loitered around and poked through the gift shops. (Yes, the gift shops were open at 6 AM; why do you ask?) I found one that was selling silver charms and pendants, and I picked up two silver cartouches an inch or so long. I'm going to make them into earrings when I get home. I wonder whose name is on them?
On the flight, when we circled in to land I got a glimpse of a gorgeous overhead view of the Great Temple, but since I was in the middle of the plane there was no way to get a picture. This is the first time I've been in the actual tropics, but when we debarked, the temperature was in the very pleasant mid-70s. I begin to see the logic of the 3:30 wake up call. Even with the cool temperatures, the sun feels very intense. I wore my hat and a headscarf the whole time.
We walked down a curving path from the parking lot and soon we saw it: