Trip Start Aug 11, 2009
Trip End Sep 30, 2010

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Flag of Egypt  , Nile River Valley,
Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Ah Egypt, where the minibuses take you where you don't want to go and tell you your hostel is closed/burned down/torn down to excavate a recently found ancient Egyptian road. Where horse carriage drivers follow you around and hassle you to take a ride ("you want carriage? very cheap, know how much? know how much? I can take you to market, big sale today")

Once the ancient city of Thebes situated right on the Nile, the sights are impressive to say the least. The temples of Karnak and Luxor are amazing, and thankfully a welcome relief from Roman ruins!! Across the Nile there are desert valleys filled with elaborate underground tombs, where painted carvings on the walls remain intact over 4000 years later. This was where Tutankhamen was found, although these days his empty tomb is just a very expensive tourist trap.
With Alex and Hollie, another couple we met in Damascus and Tel Aviv,  we hired awfully crappy bikes, which proceeded to fall apart as the day went on, ensuring a good yelling match on returning them as the guy tried to extract more money from us (evidently they prefer the pedals to stay attached to bikes, which would have made my day much easier).

We also hired a felucca for a sail down the Nile to watch the sun set - a very relaxing experience.

And, for the ultimate entertainment in Luxor, there is always having a beer and people-watching as tourists are hassled by horse carriage drivers or taxis, who respond completely incredulously to the concept of wanting to walk, or this strange exercise notion.

Booking our overnight train to Cairo was our next frustration - tourists must catch the expensive tourist train and can't buy tickets for the identical local train. After 5 days in Egypt we had cracked and become obnoxious, loud angry tourists. one hour out of Luxor we were again humbled by the generosity of Egyptian people as some kind locals gave us seats on the packed train (foreigners can't buy seat reservations), otherwise we would have been standing all night.

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