Entry #33: Sean Gets Lucky

I had originally planned to spend 24 hours in Abu Simbel since most guidebooks suggest at least 2 hours to see the Temples of Ramses. There is only one flight in and out of Abu Simbel each day. A plane lands, empties it's passengers and then flies out a half hour later with the new passengers. I asked in Aswan if I could change my flight so I would only be in Abu Simbel for 30 minutes, and was told there was no way I could go and see the temple and come back in time to catch the plane on its way out.

I interpreted this as a challenge.

Clearly, these people don’t know how I like to travel.

I landed at 12:30, and grabbed the first cab I saw (with some short negotiations) and headed out at 12:33. Arrived at the temple at 12:37, and ran with my 22lb backpack for a whole 1/2 mile around the temples in 80 degree heat, only stopping for 2 pictures. I was back in the parking lot at 12:52, but the taxi driver who was supposed to wait for me was gone! (I didn't pay him from the ride there to make sure he would stick around for my ride back.)

I ran down the street to catch another cab, and about a half mile into the ride I saw the original cab that I came in with going in the other direction. I flagged him down, and the drivers agreed that I could get in the original cabby’s car. I arrived at the airport at 1:01. I went through security and was at the gate by 1:05 (the scheduled departure time.) The attendant went out to the tarmac and signaled to the plane that had already been closed and was getting ready to taxi to see if they could take one more.

Luckily, they agreed! The door was opened, and the stairs positioned up to the plane. I boarded and we were in the air by 1:15! And best of all, the only seat open was in first class!

I was so glad to be heading back to Cairo to spend another night at the Weimers and their 14 versions of Silent Night.

Upon my return the Weimers treated me like the prodigal son they never had and took me to dinner at one of their favorite restaurants. They are friendly with the owner who treated us to some 30-year-old whiskey from Romania. Oh, you haven't heard about the whiskey from Romania? Well, that’s because it’s awful! But being the good guest my mother raised me to be, I choked down what I could of the whiskey and put on a good face. We returned to the Weimers to have some leftover birthday cake (it was Mr. Weimers Birthday the day before). Just after we finished eating the cake, Mr. Weimer gets a call from a co-worker. It turns out that some dates got mixed up and the Weimers were supposed to go to his coworker’s house for dinner. In order to save his co-workers face (and other parts of his body) from the wrath of his wife who had spent all day cooking, we agreed to go over and have a second meal!

It turns out that his co-worker is Italian and his wife had cooked a massive feast. Course after course of creamy Italian richness spilled on to our plates. I have never been so full in my life. Near the end, my breathing became shallow as the food in my bloated stomach pressed against my diaphragm. I focused all energy on not vomiting like the pie eating contest in the movie Stand by Me. I was dangerously close to slipping into a food coma.

But the night ended with me spread out on the nice clean sheets of a king sized bed in a room that had heat and hot water, all of which helped me recoup for the last two weeks of my journey.

Thanks go out again to the Weimers for their hospitality...and their clean bed.

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