Grenades Geckos and Tom's Getting Old

Trip Start Jun 03, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Egypt  ,
Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The minibus picked us up at 9 am to take us to Luxor, or so we thought. We soon found out that the minibus would actually be stopping at 2 temples on they way adding an unwanted 2 hours to the journey. The first was the temple to the crocodile gods, but we were too cheap and hot to go inside. We decided to walk along the Nile but had to quickly abandon that plan because the hasslers were out of control and teenage boys started whispering inappropriate things to Lindsey.

The next temple was the Edfu temple, the best preserved temple in all of Egypt. It was a monument to the falcon god. Lindsey didn't have a student ID that would work, so she waited outside instead of paying the full price. The temple was very interesting, but a creepy security guard tried to lure us up a stairwell. We grabbed Tom for protection and found there was nothing at the top.

We tried to buy water and icecream, but the shops around the temple were selling them at extremely high prices. We knew that 10 pounds was over 5 times the normal price, but when we asked the minibus driver to take us somewhere with reasonable prices, he tried to tell us 10 pounds was a good price. He had "Friends" continually getting in the minibus trying to sell us various hotels in Luxor and got mad at us when we said we already had reservations. He then refused to drive us to the hotel and dropped us off far away so we were forced to make the trek in the heat. On our walk we were pleasantly surprised that we were not hassled at all, and in fact people were offering us plastic bags to carry the leftover drinks from the Felucca. We liked Luxor already!

We checked into the hotel and Brittany Tom and Lindsey decided to go to the Mummifcation Museum. Sarah was in a bad mood and decided she needed to sleep in the aircon. They were suprised to find that the museum was actually just an underground room with a few mummies and posters on the wall. Like all other sites in egypt, to enter we had to walk through an "Metal Detector" and put our bags through an "X Ray Machine." The metal detector beeps anytime someone walks through it, but the guard never looked twice. The "X Ray Machine" was a conveyor belt that had a looped image of the same fake bag. It made us all feel really safe. In the end, we thought the 25 pound entrance fee was worth it because we saw a mummified ram, alligator, cat and ibis and best of all we stood in Airconditioning for an hour. Sarah was not sad she missed it though.

On the walk home we had a contest to see how many carriage men would offer to take us home. For the first time on our Egypt trip Tom was looking to be hassled. Much to his dismay, Lindsey won the contest. Every man in Turkey and Egypt throught that Tom was the luckiest man in the world because he had 3 beautiful wives. Today however a man called out to him, "Give me one of your daughters. I am lonely and you have two!" Already sad he had lost the constest on his birthday, and unsure about entering his late 20s, the man on the street did not make him feel any better.

That night  Tom and Brittany went out to a Chinese restaurant at a 5 star hotel for his birthday dinner. Tom was pleasently surprised when the egyptian man sang him happy birthday with a cake and candle at the end of the dinner. Sadly, there was only 1 candle as 26 could not fit on the cake. In the meantime Lindsey and Sarah went out to dinner with their new British friend Will. Lindsey finally got to try the stuffed pigeon she had been eyeing since we'd arrived in Egypt. After dinner we all met up for a roof birthday party.

We had a lot of leftover alcohol from  our felucca cruise, and Lindsey and Sarah had wanted to put it into the refridgerator at the hostel.  We did not want to offend our hotel, so we poured it into water bottles and asked the front desk to refrigerate them. When we met up later, Lindsey and Sarah went to go get the water bottles. It turned out that the man at the front desk had given it to his friend to stick in the fridge. His friend clearly realized that it was not water in the bottles, and took off with one of them leaving a normal bottle of water in its place. We tried to explain the situation to the front desk worker, but he did not understand as the words "water" and "vodka" sounded exactly alike to him. When he finally realized what happened, the look of horror on his face made us realize that he was not in on the scheme.  We felt bad as he was upset we had alcohol.

Luckily, we still had 2 bottles of Vodka and though Tom was already a few drinks in he was still ready for more. We moved the "Fanta Party" (as we are still in a Muslim country and alcohol was not allowed in the hostel) to the rooftop. The German couple who had been on  our felucca and our British friend Will joined us. Tom was dying for some traditional american drinking games, so he could get nice and liquored up, highlighting Brittany's sober, responsible desire to watch over him. We started out with a game of Kings Cup and Will added to the fun with some great new British rules.

1) A 4 card is not "floor" it is a GRENADE card. Whoever draws the card gets to hold on to it, and anytime they can throw it in the air and yell "Grenade!" Everyone must drop to the floor and the last one to the ground has to drink. Tom, so toasted he could not remember the rules, lost almost everytime. The Germans drew an unusually high number of grenade cards which had everyone at the table concerned, especially Will who commented, "This has never gone well before..."

2) A 5 card is not "sky" it is "GECKO." As soon as the 5 is drawn everyone must run to the wall and put all hands and feet on. Tom, in his drunken haze, tended to drop to the floor when this card was pulled because he was unable to remember this rule as well. Gian, Juanita, and unfortunately Michelle (Mom) walked up to the rooftop right as this card was being pulled. The yelling and scrambling made them evacuate the rooftop immediately.

3) The Queen was a question card. Whoever had this card had to stick it on their forehead.  No one could respond to their questions and instead had to yell a german obscenity at them. Tom, in his intoxicated stupor, was easily tricked by the card holder.

After an intense game of King's Cup, Will taught us "Paranoia." This is a question game, where the answers to the questions are people around the table. If whispered a question, you answer by choosing the person you think is the best answer and going to them and whispering another question. Everyone gets to call paranoia once, and the question and person who is the answer are both told to everyone. The game was very interesting.

The next morning we slept in and decided to go to the valley of the Kings where it was a scorching 130 degrees in the middle of the desert. The valley of the Kings is the location of the tombs of many of egypts ancient pharaohs, including King Tut. We brought along an American girl we had met at the hostel who we thought was very brave for traveling through the Middle East by herself. We did not think it was possible to get any hotter and sweatier than the heat of the day in the middle of the Sahara desert. We were wrong. To get inside the tombs, you had to first climb up a few flights of stairs and then descend down underground inside the tomb. The inside was beautifully decorated with hieroglyphics and scattered with ancient sarcophogi, but was unbareably humid and miserable. We were glad that our American girl friend had not gone alone, because the guards to the tombs were among the sketchiest men in Egypt. It is impossible to get change anywhere in Egypt, probably because the guards to the tombs are hoarding it all the middle of the desert. As if the guards were not shady enough, the policemen offered to take our pictures. We had been traveling in the Middle East long enough to know not to trust big policemen with AK-47s with our cameras, as they would demand a large "baksheesh" in return.

After we had enough of the blistering sun, we stopped at the Kushary stand (Middle Eastern street food consisting of noodles, rice, chickpeas, lentils, fried onions, tomato sauce, hot sauce, and sometimes vinegar for about $0.40) where Tom ate his first street food. We gathered our bags and made our way to the bus station where we boarded a 20 hour bus to Dahab.

Glums and Glows

Glum: Vodka incident of 2009
Glow: Truely enjoying her first Egyptian city

Glum: The heat in the Valley of the Kings
Glow: Trying Kushary for the first time

Glum: Mummification Museum was dissapointing
Glow: 5 star hotel dinner with Tom

Glum: Being asked for one of his daughers
Glow: Best birthday party ever
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