Cruising down the Nile
Trip Start Aug 18, 2006
149Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
In Kom Ombo I found the 'Cleopatra Hotel' through the expedient of getting to the general area that had been described, collaring a local and asking, loudly and clearly, 'do you know a hotel near here?'
-what, this one? (points across the street)
-yes. that'll do. shokrun. ('thanks' -my first, and for a long time, only, arabic word.)
Edfu was simpler, since for some reason the police at the checkpoint insisted on escorting me the last 2km into town, so I just asked them. The hotels were dark and bare but the rooms seemed clean and contained a bed, while the bathrooms had hot water, so I handed over the equivalent of two English pounds without qualm.
Kom Ombo is a town for people who live at work or work at home. There is very little to do. I found some street-food, including a sandwich vendor who refused my money saying 'you are a visitor, you are welcome!' which was a new experience in Egypt. In tourist areas (in general, not just in Egypt) you get the same sentence but the price is doubled. In the end I whiled away the afternoon watching old men play dominoes in a shisha cafe, trying first to figure out the rules, and later to figure out the appeal. While there was a little more life on the streets of Edfu, partly because the cafe I found was at the junction of several souqs, the afternoon passed in much the same way. These towns introduced me to the distinctive aroma of Nile conurbations- the smell of molasses shisha mixed with pollution from a sugar refinery.