Plenty of Hot Air in Luxor...

Trip Start Jan 20, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Egypt  , Nile River Valley,
Monday, March 1, 2010

Beep Beep Beep Beep Beep....was all we heard at 530am this morning. With roughly 5 hours sleep under our belts, we quickly showered and waited for our pick up from the hotel. The representatives of Sindbad Balloons arrived on time and whisked us to the shores of the Nile, where we enjoyed a cup of tea and cake on a small motorboat. We sat for quite a while, as there was uncertainty as to whether we would fly or not (too windy.) Our group sat patiently, before we heard news we would in fact leave terra firma inside a basket crammed with roughly 14 beauty!!

We met Captain Mohamed, our pilot and before we knew it, we were floating above Luxor looking down at the many temples we had seen days earlier by foot. This was truly magical! Again, we flogged our memory cards in our cameras and took some video along the way. We were fortunate the wind blew us over the Nile and our flight lasted approximately 45 minutes. The landing over sugar cane fields was incredibly smooth, and we were greeted by dozens of local children, all with their hands out asking for 'Baksheeh.' What an experience...the early start made it all worthwhile. We met a lovely newly retired Belgian lady who worked for the Belgian government for 35 years. We also met a few Brits onboard...

We were transported back to our hotel at roughly 930am, and after a quick bite, we headed for the pub to celebrate. A few games of pool, and a couple of cold ones later, I decided I needed a haircut, and Pooja decided on a pedicure...tough life I know! My barber has to be in the Guinness World Records for the fastest cut in history...3 minutes, and I was booted out of the chair and on my way. It was mid afternoon, and a kip was in order...back to the hotel for some shut-eye!

We woke around 730pm and headed back to the Souk for some more banter with the locals. We met Omar (we actually first met him the day before) and we hung out with him and his friends for a while. I got a lesson in backgammon from the locals, before they invited us to their friends wedding party. We were shoved onto a local mini-van...16 of us crammed  into the tiny vehicle, which only had 11 seats. I literally couldn't move it was that tight. Along the way, one of the lads received a phone call that his father was being harassessed, so we made a u-turn and headed back to town. They rallied the troops, and we thought it was going to be on 'for young and old.' Omar suggested we wait in the van as things may turn ugly, so we sat patiently, before news came that the whole drama had been resolved. Unfortunately we all missed the wedding, however we returned to the cafe and played more backgammon, smoked more 'sheesha' and headed back to the hotel around 2am.

We had one full day left in Luxor...our flight to Sharm El Sheikh wasn't til 1020pm, so we made the most of our hotel room til check-out. We hired a cab for 2 hours and he drove us to the West Bank to visit Ramsesseum Temple, the memorial temple dedicated to the great King Ramses II. It's not a highly visited site, unlike Karnak, Valley of the Kings / Queens etc...There were only 3 other tourists when we visited, so it was awesome to walk through it without the hoards of globe trekkers we'd been bumping shoulders since we arrived in Egypt.

Afterwards, we stopped by the Souk to bid farewell to our new Egyptian mates. We both got flogged by the local backgammon champ again, and drove to the airport. Sharm El Sheikh in less than an hour - time to kick up our feet, and chill out on the Red Sea for a few days.

'The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but seeing with new eyes'   - Marcel Proust.
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