On our own in Luxor

Trip Start Nov 19, 2007
Trip End Dec 03, 2007

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The star rating for this hotel is slowly rising from 5 to 2. What a night, hit the sack around 22.30, sleep? not a chance, a reincarnation of Pavarotti was warbling in the ground floor, we could hear him quite clearly in our room. he stopped about 22.50, only to reappear about 20 minutes later for another round.  As for the other noises, we could hear quite clearly other patrons using the elevators, they would stop and chat, as is their right, we could hear every word, next door must be using a secret entrance to access our toilet, Oh the bed? just wonderful, death row prisoners are surely more comfortable, it is only missing a few nails and I could pretend I'm an Indian Fakir.
   Serious words with Mrs H today. Either we upgrade or get out, no way can we put up with another night like that.
   Credit where credit is due, at breakfast the dining room is well laid out, and again the staff are only too willing to please, tea and coffee in abundance, I'm sure the bread was straight out of the oven, again, more credit to the room staff, the young man came in to tidy up, just as we were leaving, we explained about the beds, no problem, he would fix it, which he did, so 5 out of 5 for him.
   The intrepid Ahmed arrived, he asked why I had not phoned him as he was a whole minute late. I replied that I trusted him. That was enough.
   He took us down all the side streets to little known Luxor, one of his friends and he has myriads of them, runs a shadoof wheel, (strictly tourism) which is turned by a water buffalo, I was quite interested in the mechanics of this contraption, quite ingenious really, he is also the proud owner of a camel, which likes nothing better than taking you on a walk around a tree in his backyard. He also had a horse, which was tied to a fencepost, it didn't seem to want to take part in any of the days activities.
   Time to mount up again, we then went through some more side streets, until we came to the fruit and vegetable market, did not see any other tourists around, forward through another labyrinth, till we came to the spice market, Tarja only wanted to buy Vanilla, funnily enough, we ended up with Vanilla, Cardamon, Cumin, Mixed spice and Nutmeg, Damn, these Egyptian shopkeepers can be good when they want to be.
   Once again, onto the merry go round, back into the carriage, we still had a couple of bits of shopping to do, Ahmed took us through the main market, what a seething mass of humanity it is, everyone and his uncle Bob seem to be shopping there today, not the kind of place you would expect a caleche to go into, it didn't seem to bother Ahmed or more to the point Rambo. (every horse and camel seems to be called Rambo). Most amazing is the patience of the normal Egyptian, here we are a couple of tourists, in the middle of their market, traipsing around in a caleche, people having to move out of our way, stallholders having to move all their goods, no sign of anger. If we were to do that in our own countries we would soon be reaching for baseball bats, definitely they seem to be a lot more tolerant of each other than we are. There is nothing that can possibly prepare you for the reality of this market, we traveled like a little bubble just observing in our caleche. If you get the opportunity to visit there, then take it, you will never see the likes again, mind blowing would be one way to describe it.
   Ahmed took us to one of his favourite Papyrus factories, at our instigation I must admit, Bliss, they left us in peace, they didn't try and force a sale, we wanted some small calenders to give as presents, we bought 4 at 50le each, didn't try to haggle at all, hardly seemed worth it, apart from the fact, i prefer to get out of shops as quickly as possible. Upstairs to the Alabaster and stoneware section, here we bought a small Phosphor stone vase and a canoptic jar, only one more shop to do, found it with Ahmed's help, we only wanted some drinking mugs, funnily enough we ended up with a tablecloth and 12 napkins, either I am too soft or the shopkeepers sense something about me. Either way, thats the shopping done, if you see me in another shop, apart from a food shop, then feel free to chop my hands off.
   We took some time out to visit the mummification museum, it's on the Corniche, again it is worth a visit, extremely well laid out, not terribly overcrowded and it only takes about 45 minutes, there is a mummy on display, shouldn't scare the kids too much.
  Ahmed took us back to the hotel, he is trying to be a little too helpful, he wants to arrange our whole week, we are still independent enough to want to do things for ourselves, so to avoid upsetting Ahmed, we walked from the hotel to visit Karnak travel, just to pay for and confirm our bookings of the previous day. bookings done, just strolling around Luxor, avoiding the hassle from the caleche drivers, I just tell them we are booked with Ahmed then they leave you alone, so having your own private caleche has its good points.
    Ahmed arrives at 8pm, again we asked him to surprise us, we prefer to eat local food whenever we have the chance, after all, whats the point in visiting new and exotic locations then trying to stick to your normal diet?
    He took us to the Green Palace, again on El Karnak St, not as nice as the previous restaurant, (Mr Lhalipo) which is next door, again a fixed menu, fish, meat or chicken, soup salad and desert came as a matter of course, again, no complaints about the food, pretty good tucker for the princely sum of 130le, that included the beer, as usual there was just too much food for us to put away, Egyptians must be under the impression that Europeans must be able to eat their own weight on a daily basis, they must also think we are terribly wasteful, when we leave so much. Anyway, it's back to the hotel for us, early rise for the balloon trip tomorrow, I was always under the assumption that holidays were supposed to be relaxing, it doesn't seem to work in Egypt, early starts seem to be the order of business, which entails early to bed.
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jimandtarja on

Re: Like your blog
We were in Cairo on our first trip, only an overnight stay, just to get a taste.
we plan to go back sometime in the near future, a heady city, it leaves your head in a spin.
Luxor is brilliant, if you have the chance do the balloon trip.
Best wishes and enjoy.

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