Aswan was the last stop on our cruise, and while there are certainly things to see here, we had planned to use it as a jumping-off point for a more ambitious journey to the great temple of Abu Simbel (an additional 3-hour drive away). We got up at the ungodly hour of 4am and were ready to go when our guide called and said the trip was off. A sandstorm had hit during the night and shut down all roads to Abu Simbel (not to mention the airports, boats, and schools).
So we went back to bed for a few more hours before getting up and going to breakfast, where our guid said he would meet us to make plans for the rest of the day. The next time we got up, the sandstorm was still blowing strong.
We hunkered down in the boat to wait it out. We read for a while . . .
slept for a while . . .
and then finally, by early afternoon the weather had cleared enough that we could venture out for some local sight-seeing. We headed up to the high dam that was built across the Nile — at the time it was built it was the largest dam in the world; it created a massive lake that provides drinking water and water for irrigation, and also a significant source of electricity for Egypt. Built during the Cold War, naturally the major powers were involved. The Russians helped build the dam and there is still a massive Soviet-style monument to the friendship between Egypt and the USSR (the US was involved more indirectly through UNESCO in saving the temples that would have been destroyed by the new lake).
It was still windy enough that we had a hard time getting decent photos on the dam — eventually we gave up!
Then it was back to the boat for more reading and sleeping until the evening when the winds and sand had died down enough to make it pleasant to go out again. We headed out on our own for a walk along the embankment overlooking the river and watched the sun set.