|Mini Abu Simbel in Cairo|
Instead of going to Heliopolis today to see an obelisk and some more tombs, we could get a taxi to the Pharaonic Village, the theme park about way of life in ancient Egypt.
At breakfast that morning, Richard gamely agrees to the plan. After some investigation I find a taxi driver called Omar – a jewel beyond price – connected with the hotel. He says the Pharaonic Village opens at 9.00am and that he will take us for 70 Egyptian pounds (£7). I agree and we set off just after 8.30 and arrive on the dot of 9.00. Half an hour later Richard and I find ourselves the only ones on a kind of flat bottomed boat with chairs. A few others – full of Egyptian schoolchildren – are towed by tug, but ours has its own motor.
The barge putts slowly around the perimeter of an island fringed by papyrus beds. There is an English commentary on a loudspeaker which gives a handy summary of Egyptian cosmology as we pass painted plaster statues of Egyptian gods and goddesses. There is even a mini Abu Simbel.
|ploughing at the Pharaonic Village in Cairo|
|sheepish shadouf demonstrator|
|guide #5, Ahmed|
|blue lotus at the Cairo Hilton|
'It's not far to the Nile Hilton,' I say to the taxi driver. 'Is it?' Blank look. 'The Nile Hilton,' I say slowly. 'Is it far?' More blank looks. 'Do you speak English?' I finally say. 'My English,' he replies carefully, 'is not perfect.' But he gets us there and we meet up with the rest of our group for a quick snack before the dusty treasures of the Cairo Museum.
And there, in a pool before the museum are several perfect specimens of the rare blue lotus!
[I was researching Roman Mystery 15, The Scribes from Alexandria. It is now available in paperback, Kindle and as an abridged audiobook, and is perfect for primary schools studying Egypt in Key Stage 2.]