Friday, May 4, 2012

Aswan in spring 2012

I sat on a concrete bench and ate a Hawaushi (kind of a pancake filled with spicy meat) watching a shop owner who scolded a boy that had thrown an empty bottle on the street. He demanded the boy to pick the garbage up. And in fact: everything was clean. No paper, no butts, no plastic bottles.

That was in January 2011 in the Souq. About three weeks before the outbrake of the famous revolution on 25 January 2011.

“Aswan, ia gamila, hassal eh?“ Aswan, my beauty, what has happened??

16 months later, Aswan looks like all places in Egypt. It lost its denotation of the cleanest city in Egypt. In the Souq, cobblestones have been removed and not replaced, holes have not been filled up, garbage is carelessly discarded everywhere. Many shops are shut. The thick dust from the previous storm makes everything look even more bleakly. Two days before, the bazaar owners and shop assistants demonstrated: the tour guides prefer to bring the tourists to the big souvenir shops in direction of the airport because there, they get a higher commission.

The huge Nile cruisers are lying dark and ghastly ashore. The coachmen are waiting in vain for customers. A fistful of feluccas is on the Nile. My hotel in a gorgeous garden is almost empty – there are only 15 guests. Hardly any tourists find their way to Aswan. Utter misery.

Thereby, this beautiful landscape is always attractive with its charming enchantment, its location a treasure. Historical sights are almost empty and can be admired in peace and calm. The golden hills, the blue Nile and the green Islands form an ever ancient unit, spread calm and serenity. Endlessly, reliable, ignoring the course of the events. Fatalistic like its people?

Aswan, my beauty, what has become of you? Egypt, with your history of thousands of years, how deep further do you want to tumble?

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