Journal: Tuesday 12 December 1995
In the evening my friends and I visited Sharia el-Suq, the main bazaar in Aswan. It was dark by 6.00pm. at that time of year but even late in the evening I could still feel the lingering breath of the day’s heat, though the Egyptians were wrapped up in thick scarves and shawls – after all it was winter here. The main street of the bazaar was narrow with tall colourful buildings on either side and had a distinctly African feel with its brilliantly coloured fabrics, Nubian crochet hats and strange mounds of pungent spices and herbs, displayed in neat pyramids of fabulous colours – red, terracotta, ochre and vibrant indigo blue. Stalls were lit by strings of lightulbs and some even had small bonfires in oil drums to keep the stall-holders warm. Wafting incense blended with the scents of strong Turkish coffee and roast lamb, while bare-footed children scampered from stall to stall. Many bargains were discovered and after a lot of good-natured haggling we left satisfied with our purchases. Walking back along the Corniche we could see the dominating sand-covered hills of the West Bank which is strewn with rock-cut tombs of high-status officials of the Old and Middle Kingdom. At night the necropolis is floodlit and is a hauntingly beautiful sight across the dark water.