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Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of

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Aswan, Egypt....

The Egypt Series


The flight to Aswan is uneventful except for being questioned by security about a mirror in my purse. They also want to take my camera out of the bag and look at it. Honey, who probably fits some terrorist profile due to his beard, is searched at nearly every security stop. Strange that we are afraid extremist Muslims will blow up our planes and they are afraid Americans will blow up theirs.

At Aswan the traffic is pleasantly nonexistent. We arrive late in the evening and I cannot see much at night, but the housing here seems to be not as dense or high rise as Cairo. I have swollen ankles either from the plane ride or from so much walking at the museum before we left.

On the way from the airport, we cross the Low Aswan Dam, not to be confused with the High Aswan Dam. Aswan, we are told, has a lot of fresh fish due to having a lot of dams and Lake Nasser. Only certain fishermen have contracts with the government and are allowed to fish here where some fish are rumored to be large enough to fish for humans.

The next day we run through a tour of Aswan High Dam which was built by Sadat with the help of the Russians during a period of political tensions with the U.S. After the Russians taught Egyptians how to build a dam and run it, they were invited to exit the country leaving behind a large monument to friendship between the two countries. So much for friendship.

The Aswan High Dam controls flooding on the Nile River and also generates electric power, making electricity very cheap. Security is tight at the dam; however, it is not secure enough to keep out the pack of mongrel dogs, which roams about on the dam -- the dam dogs, my sister calls them. Everyone runs off to take pictures of the dam and I stay behind to be hassled by the grounds-keeper and get lost when the group doesn't return. This is becoming a regular pastime of mine.

After the dam incident, we tour our first ancient Egyptian temple, the Temple of Philae, a large temple of about 550 BC to honor Isis. It is believed to be the final temple built in ancient Egypt and the end of the age of the Pharaohs. It was moved stone by stone to a new location on an island to prevent it from being flooded when the lake was created, a jigsaw puzzle of jigsaw puzzles.

The many stairs going up and down the river banks to the Nile, often without banisters, and the rough cobblestone paving in temples make walking difficult, especially for someone with bad knees to begin with. At the temple I'm left behind to fend for myself, as usual, not knowing where anyone else is. At this point I am beginning to have second thoughts about even being here.

The temples have many cartouches, which are carvings, with the name in Egyptian hieroglyphics of the pharaoh who built it, or who wants people to believe that he did. These are oblong oval enclosures with a horizontal line at one end, indicating that the text enclosed is a royal name. They were first called cartouches by Napoleon's soldiers who thought the oblong carvings resembled bullets.

All the ladies in the group are interested in buying gold cartouche jewelry, which are gold oval charms personalized with your name in hieroglyphics. The Egyptians are very good at cashing in on their ancient assets. Anyhow, the guide adjusts the schedule so we can visit a gold shop.

Later, we take a relaxing scenic cruise on the Blue Nile, which is peaceful and wonderful. The weather is beautiful and the scenery is exotic. We have a catered picnic lunch on an island and life seems better.

Copyright 2010 Sheila Moss

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