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Dalama Adventures Tale of two corporate types ditching their jobs and traveling the world for 14 months... check out all photos, blogs & interesting tid bits at http://www.dalama.net

The Real Luxor; We're Not in Vegas

EGYPT | Sunday, 12 August 2007 | Views [846]

We arrive at 1:30 a.m., south of Cairo, about half way down Egypt's Nile, to the famed city of Luxor.  Exhausted, we check into our budget hotel and crash out, awakening to the beeping of Darrin's watch alarm.  It's 10:00 a.m., just 30 minutes before our complimentary breakfast buffet ends, and we purposely set the alarm so we didn't miss our big meal of the day.  We quickly throw on some clothes to feast.  You see, on a budget, complimentary buffets (which are not really complimentary, as we've paid for it in our room rate) serve as breakfast and lunch.  I have nearly finished my anti-parasitic prescription and finally have an appetite back.  One of the things I've missed most after having traveled for so many months in non-milk consuming countries, is a big bowl of cereal with cold milk.  At this buffet, it's flowing freely.  And while the cereal is not the nice muesli that we spoiled ourselves with in Australia, CoCo Puffs and the remaining big bowl of chocolate milk is just what the doctor ordered.
After preparing our bodies with fuel for the day, we pop decongestants to equalize our ears and sinuses which are all blocked up from diving and the flight... And head out on foot to explore this new town.  It's brutally hot, pushing the 50 degree celsius mark.  The moment we step out of the hotel, the touts swarm around us.  They try to sell their services on the streets:  horse and carriage, taxi, felucca sail, day trip to the west bank?  They have it all on offer... The sales men in their flowy robes are friendly and chatty, and it's fun talking with them.  We negotiate with a guy named Abdullah, who seems to be well known by all the other touts.  We organize our day trip to the Valley of the Kings on the West Bank of the Nile for tomorrow morning, with a potential felucca sunset sail tonight if the wind cooperates.  We decide to walk the 1K to the Temple of Luxor.  This temple is a magnificent work of art, and contains over 4000 years of history, built under the leadership of the Egyptian Pharaoh Amenhotep III and then Ramesses II between 1414 and 1379 B.C.  Amongst the towering remains of this temple are long rows of Sphinxes and an obelisk, along with six large statues of Ramsesses II.  It's interesting to see the rivalry that existed amongst successive leaders; when one supersedes the prior one, he seeks to better the temple, leaving his mark, be it through deeper engravings in stone, attempting to erase past engravings, as well as erecting large statues to themselves.  This temple has gone through significant evolution from a temple of the God of Thebes, surviving the Greeks and Romans, and later evolving into a Christian Church and today, even containing a Muslim element.  It's also interesting to observe, on a wall, 20 meters high up, a doorway opens to nothing.  There were ruins of the original temple, fully submerged underground at the time the second level was built, and this doorway was thought to have been built at ground level, until the site was excavated, and it's actually built on top of another wall.  Pretty amazing to see.  A couple hours spent there, and we've sweated out our entire water supply, so we head back to the hotel for a nap and dip in the pool.  Our hotel room may not be anything special, but we've got no problem hanging out all afternoon in the chilly pool which is refreshing and clean.
Rested up, we head out to have our sunset cruise down the Nile in a felucca (local wood sail boat), but upon arrival, we realize there's no wind.  Abdullah tries to sell us on the motor boat ride, but it's not the "local felucca" experience that we're after, so we politely decline and head out to the streets where we're suckered into a city ride on a horse and carriage.  We were hot and exhausted, but felt we needed to have a look around the city, and it was only a couple of bucks, so we hopped on... Only to find ourselves shuffled to the driver's friend's papyrus painting and handicraft shops.  We roll with the program and use the opportunity to learn more about our driver, his family and a bit about local traditions, Ramadan and life growing up in Luxor.  After a busy, heated day, we have a great dinner at the Oasis Cafe, and another successful eating experience for me, yea!  I think the parasites have been killed off and it feels great to be able to eat again!

Tags: Sightseeing


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