May 2, 2016 Luxor

Had a great day.

Lets try a few pics…

Tried repeatedly, but failed on the upload.

Spent the afternoon on the west bank of the Nile, at the home of the hotel owner, with his wife, kids, nieces, nephews and about a dozen grandkids.  We ate.  We played.   I had my ponytail braided.  I took pics.  He smoked the hooka and then napped while I laid and read one of my books about Thebes and pharohs.

I haggled in the souks and bought some red, green and black peppercorns.   Tried on a tunic.  Had a few beers and lots of laughs.  Paid a tout to take me to the liquor store, and can now have a beer in my room in the evening.

Talked with Moro several times and made plans for 4 nights partying with him and a friend that will be visiting Egypt from PDX.  We will meet up in CAI and go to Alexandra when I return to CAI 2 weeks.

Was driven through the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens and walked past the Temple of Luxor twice.  Will explore the tombs in both valleys over the next week.  Everything from Tut’s tomb is in the Egyptian Musuem (3000 items) except his mummy and sarcophygus, which is still inside the tomb.

Took the ferry across the Nile….. for $0.10.   Changed USD to Egyptian Pounds on the black market and received a 13% premium, without ATM fees or additional bank fees.  Wish I had lots more USD.

Had a leisurely Turkish coffee, just to get away from a tout that followed me for 4 blocks.  Touts are relentless and it is unusual if you can walk 15 feet without being approached for something, but they are just trying to feed their kids.  I do not mind.   50% of Egyptians live on $2.00 a day.

Took a great pic of a horse carriage curbside parked outside the McDonalds, then was agressively haggled by the carriage driver for $1.00 for taking a pic of his horse.  “No, no, I was taking a picture of McDonalds”.  Luckily (think a version of the traveler’s dance), hastily, I escaped and he did not follow very far since he would have had to leave his horse and carriage unattended.

Moro booked a flight from LUX to CAI for me in 2 weeks – 400 miles – for $38.00.

The 400 mile train ride from Cairo yesterday went smoothly.  Room is sufficient, typical 2nd/3rd world but adequately meets my needs – A/C, tv, private bath, double bed for $15.00.  Had a $2.50 pizza.  Took a horse carriage ride around town for 30 min for $2.00 with a $0.50 tip.

It was hot today – 107 – but will be hotter tomorrow –  114F, so will get an early start at 6:30 on the private guided tour of the Karnak temple complex.

Car horns are honking incessantly on the street below the dining room where I type.

From one of the books I bought yesterday:  Luxor, 400 miles south of Cairo is deemed the largest open-air museum in the world. On the site of the present day town of Luxor stood the ancient city that the Greeks called Thebes and which was described in Homer’s Iliad as “the city of a hundred gates”.  It reached its zenith in 1567 BC to 1085 BC. Thebes was the capital of an Egyptian empire that stretched from Palestine to Nubia for almost 500 years and at its peak the population reached almost 1 million.

Started getting info about a 3 day boat ride to Aswan and Upper Egypt.  Will most likely opt for the sailboat over the cruise ship.

Everything on the trip has been hassle free (by my standards) and everything has worked out well.  Egyptian hospitality has been unbelievable.  Have now had two meals in homes of ordinary people and have been invited many times. The carriage driver invied me for dinner tomorrow.  It is not my ka, it is Egyptian hospitality.

I enjoy Luxor much more than Giza – it is highly interactive, vibrant, historical, teeming with people.  It might be a little intimidating for the untraveled, but for me it is like a drug.

I want more.

 

 

 

 

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