After catching the 10pm train from Cairo, we arrived to Aswan around 11:30am the next day. The first order of business was finding a hostel. Where we’re staying lacks some creature comforts – namely soap, toilet paper, and a second sheet on the bed – but for $3.50/person for a private room with AC, we really couldn’t turn it down.
We were tired from not fully sleeping on the train but decided to walk along the Nile and catch a boat to Elephantine Island to explore. We walked through back alleys surrounded by goats and chickens, and even played a little soccer with some local kids. During our wanderings we found an open gate into an area of old ruins. We explored a bit and took a much needed break in the shade before finding out way out of what turned out to be the entrance to the ruins. Apparently there is a fee to access the area, but the gate we went through had no sign and no one watching it and we were able to talk our way through the security guards to get out.
We caught a boat back to the mainland where we wandered for an hour in an unsuccessful search to find a good place to eat before making our way to a local internet cafe ($3.50 a night doesn’t get you free wi-fi, believe it or not). We met up randomly with Alexis from the hostel in Cairo (we knew she was here, but not where) and got food together before taking a walk through the bazaar.
I’d grown increasingly tired of the stares and comments that my sideburns were receiving from the locals, so when we talked a barber into shaving them off for 5EGP ($0.84), I didn’t hesitate. 30 minutes later I was offered a straight razor shave for another 5EGP, so my face is now as smooth as a baby’s bottom. And I look about as old as a baby to boot. I’m going to start growing them back since they shouldn’t be such an issue when I get to Asia, but it’ll be nice to now only get attention for being white.