May 4, 2016. Inshallah

Crossed the Nile and went to The Valley of the Kings on the west bank.   I was a tourist in the morning. Saw the tomb of King Tut and even stood face to face with him – at least his desiccated mummy – in his burial tomb. He was a child Pharaoh and died at 18. He was a little man.

It was hot today – 104F. Lots of tourists, tour busses with hoards of Japanese, many wearing fucking JACKETS!!! I was more amazed by the Japanese tourists wearing jackets and scarves than the burial tombs of the ancient Pharaohs in the Valley of the Kings.

Paying much less and experiencing much more than the tourists on the mega busses, I went to several other magnificent tombs and temples in a private cab with a wonderfully pleasant and intelligent Arab female tour guide, all dressed in black, that in addition to explaining the historical Egyptian story, told me why Muslim women do not want their picture taken. (I kept thinking “ You should spend some time walking the red light district of Amsterdam and loosen up a little. Sex is not THAT big of a thing).

Tourist Meccas are not what I seek when I travel, but I have been to them and will continue to go to them. I travel; I am not a tourist. See some of my posts on my old blog at blogspot for the differences between tourists and travelers.

Later in the day I did more interesting, exciting and enjoyable things than spending $10.00 to stand in Tut’s tomb.

“Like what?”

I traveled through the bowels of Luxor, a city of a million people striving and surviving. I sat on the east bank of the Nile after sunset and drank a beer while Adoul smoked the hooka. We discussed life, children, old age and death.

“There are no pockets in your tunic” or – when you die, you are not taking anything along with you. Even everything the powerful Pharaohs thought they were taking to the afterlife has been plundered or is in a musuem. It is not with them now.

Accompanied Abdoul all over Luxor – to pick up his grand daughter at school then take her home, pick up new towels for the hotel, dropped off groceries at his daughter’s mid down home. Sat and talked with street people that wanted to practice English then bought ice cream for the little children that were staring at my long hair and speaking a funny language.

Bought beer – again.  Did I mention that it hot here?

Haggled for 2.5 yards of nice Egyptian cotton fabric – twice – finally paying USD $10.00 and $12.50 – then went to a tailor to get tailored shirts made for $4.00. Finalized the cruise to Aswan. Rode in a horse drawn carriage again – this time for an hour and we went smack dab down the middle of the people’s market. No tourists venturing here.  Will return to the market to take pics before leaving Luxor.

Between Abdoul and the carriage rides, I have been in the bowels of Luxor where tourists seldom venture. I sat alone in Abdou’s car, at night, on a dark, narrow dirt street while he ran errands and did business while families, old women, young boys and children wandered past the car. I shopped in local markets and bought nuts, fruits and snacks. Every time Abdoul has an errand to run around town, I ride along. Bought some polo shirts custom embroidered with pyramids and “ Egypt” under the pyramids.  Bought pepper cheese and some sunscreen and a yellow highlighter. Watched an alabaster carving demonstration. Read about where I have been.  Took a nap. Ate the soup, rice and salad thhat Abdoul made in the hotel kitchen. Bought a candy bar.

There is a solid police presence everywhere in Luxor – on the east bank and across the Nile on the west bank/The Valley of the Kings.  We were stopped twice at checkpoints and Abdoul’s license was checked by police toting automatic weapons.  It is illegal to take photos of police or police cars or police stations – just like the Chinese police in Tibet – but, oh, I wanted to sooooo bad.

I ate lunch with a police officer outside the Egyptian Musuem in Cairo earlier in the week as he performed a show and tell about his tight quarters automatic gun (German) after my questions.

I have met and talked with many people and am constantly invited to dinner. When I am asked “Where from?” I reply “America”.

I have never felt afraid, intimidated or scared. I am stared at constantly. I stare back and then run my fingers through my ponytail and smile.

I am constantly told that there are not many tourists and that everyone in Luxor prays daily that they will return so they can make a living.

From Wiki:

The Luxor massacre was the killing of 62 people, mostly tourists, on 17 November 1997, at Deir el-Bahri, an archaeological site and major tourist attraction across the Nile River from Luxor in Egypt.

It is thought to have been instigated by exiled leaders of Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, an Egyptian Islamist organization, attempting to undermine the July 1997 “Nonviolence Initiative”, devastate the Egyptian economy[2] and provoke the government into repression that would strengthen support for anti-government forces.[3] However, the attack led to internal divisions among the militants, and resulted in the declaration of a ceasefire.[4] In June 2013, the group denied that it was involved in the massacre.[5]

Deir el-Bahri is one of Egypt’s top tourist attractions, notably for the spectacular mortuary temple of 18th-dynasty female pharaoh Hatshepsut known as “Djeser-Djeseru.”

In the mid-morning attack, six gunmen massacred 58 foreign nationals and four Egyptians.[6] The six assailants were armed with automatic firearms and knives, and disguised as members of the security forces. They descended on the Temple of Hatshepsut at around 08:45. They killed two armed guards at the site.[6] With the tourists trapped inside the temple, the killing went on systematically for 45 minutes, during which many bodies, especially of women, were mutilated with machetes. They used both guns and butcher knives.[6] A note praising Islam was found inside a disemboweled body.[7] The dead included a five-year-old British child and four Japanese couples on honeymoon.[8][9]
The attackers then hijacked a bus, but ran into a checkpoint of armed Egyptian tourist police and military forces. One of the terrorists was wounded in the shootout and the rest fled into the hills where their bodies were found in a cave, apparently having committed suicide together.[10]

One or more Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya leaflets were reportedly found calling for the release of Omar Abdel-Rahman from U.S. prison,[11][12] stating that the attack had been carried out as a gesture to exiled IG leader Mustafa Hamza,[13] or declaring: “We shall take revenge for our brothers who have died on the gallows. The depths of the earth are better for us than the surface since we have seen our brothers squatting in their prisons, and our brothers and families tortured in their jails.” [14]

Tomorrow, I plan to visit the Egyptian countryside, Inshallah.

From wiki:
Inshallah (Arabic: إن شاء الله‎, ʾin shāʾa llāhu), also in sha Allah or insha’Allah, is Arabic for “God willing” or “if God wills”.[1] The phrase is used not only by Muslims, but also by Arabic-speaking Christians and Jews.

In the Quran, Muslims are told that they should never say they will do a particular thing in the future without adding insha-Allah to the statement.[2] This usage of insha-Allah is from Islamic scripture, Surat Al Kahf (18):23-24: “And never say of anything, ‘I shall do such and such thing tomorrow. Except (with the saying): ‘If God wills!’ And remember your Lord when you forget…'” Muslim scholar Ibn Abbas stated that it is in fact obligatory for a Muslim to say insha-Allah when referring to something he or she intends to do in the future.

More travel adventure tomorrow, inshallaha.


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