Luxor: The Valley of the Kings, with +50 temp
Trip Start Jan 17, 2007
75Trip End Aug 29, 2007
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It's on the Nile and a historically rich site, as the Valley of the Kings (where King Tut was discovered in the early 1900's), Valley of the Queens and the Temple of Hatshepsut (one of the most powerful female pharoahs in Egypt's history)...
It's also the site of a terrorist attack in 1997, where terrorists shot and killed 60 or so tourists at the Temple of Hatshepsut.
Because of the enormity of sites to visit on the West Bank of Luxor, we opted for a tour group as that made things much easier...The tour took us to the three sites listed above, as well as the Colossi of Memnon (named after a Greek king, but are in fact Egyptian built...they were named by foreigners in Egypt after the demise of the Pharaonic kingdoms)
The tour was quite interesting...we hit three tombs in both the Valley of the Kings and of the Queens
As this is Egypt we are visiting we of course hit a shop on the tour and got pressured into buying things (it is the Egyptian way) and Sam and I succumbed, after getting it down quite a bit at least!
I also gave a lot of Baksheesh (tips) of my own accord, becuase most of the men working at the sites are paid a pittance and are quite old...
I realize that it is no fault of my own, but I felt quite guilty through a lot of the countries I visited, particularly the Middle East, simply because I have so many more opportunities than most of the people...for instance, I am able to travel quite freely with my Canadian passport, yet as an Egyptian or Moroccan (or any poorer nation for that matter) travelling is a complicated process, requiring multiple trips to the embassy and in most cases rejection
The manager of the hotel where we were staying was quite affluent but even he couldn't get into Italy, they expected him to buy a flight ticket before he even found out if he would be able to go or not!
Another cause of guilt is that I, a mere 21 year old girl has been to many places and done tons of things, were many of these people have never and will never leave their homes...I realize that it was simply luck that I was born into a wealthy country, but I can't help but feel frustrated with how unfair things are at times...I shall have to work on that...
Our second day in Luxor we headed out to the Temple of Karnak and toured around...it was quite beautiful and extensive...the hardest part was turning down the many offers for caleches (carriages), guides, shopkeepers...you name it...if one learns any phrase in Arabic, 'la shukran' is probably the most useful (no thanks)
We also visited the Mummification Museum which was small, but informative...A cool fact that I learned is that for the most part Ancient Egyptian royalty were inbred, as the only person good enough for the king was one of his many sisters...however because of the generations of inbreeding, the families acquired various levels of deformities...one of the most predominant was the elongated head...if you see busts of many pharoahs you will notice that the back of their heads are quite long and oval...it even came to a point where they would purposely elongate the heads of newborn royalty but pressing it between 2 rocks...
Thank god my family only dropped me a few times at birth (just kidding...)
The next day we left Luxor bright and early on our way to Aswan via the train, which arrived an hour and a half late...I whiled away the time practicing my Arabic and sang the only Arabic song that I knew...which happened to be called 'Bouss Bouss Bouss' (Look look look in Arabic)...I definitely got the wrong reaction! So I switched to the alphabet...
On the train ride, a rock was pelleted at the train window while we were driving through the fields...luckily no one was hurt but it made quite the dent in the window...