Melting in Upper Egypt

Trip Start Sep 19, 2009
Trip End Nov 14, 2009

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Flag of Egypt  , Nile River Valley,
Monday, September 28, 2009

Salam all,

Well i will start with today seeing as i could never catch up with what's been going on if i tried to tell you it all i would end up writing months after i arrived!

So today was an early start. We got up at 6am to head off to the Valley of the Kings. We left this early to avoid the incredible heat. It was disgustingly hot nonetheless. We rode donkeys for 45 minutes to the roads which lead to the valley of the kings on the West bank of Luxor. The shepherdy donkey guy matched everyone up with a suitable donkey and thank fully i got a tiny one so my feet were nearly touching the ground which everyone behind me found hilarious. I personally found it very reassuring because it meant if i fell off it wouldn't be from a great height so that made me relax even though there was very little to hang on to. One of the shepherds was a little boy named Biyup (i asked him in Arabic and i told him my name and he laughed.)

Our tour guide Hoda told us that all the pharoahs etc were buried on the West bank and lived on the East bank because the sun rises in the East and sets in the West. So this is why the Valley of the Kings which is essentially, a mass of about 62 desert tombs of ancient Egyptian kings and their families etc. The sand it is on is naturally formed into the shape of a pyramid which is another reason this particular spot appealed to them. In general, we were all a bit over it by the time we got to the Valley of the Kings because it was just so effing hot! It had to have been at least 45 degrees. And it's not even summer here!!!!!! We looked at 3 different tombs one of which was an unfinished tomb for a queen. There was hardly anyone in this one which was great because that meant we could actually breathe. It was quite beautiful too because most of the original colours remained in the wall carvings so you really got a feel for what it must have looked like back in its hey day. After we got the tomb gazing over with we headed to the Alabaster factory which had some really great alabaster carvings. We were given free drinks of our choosing while we browsed and sat and relaxed and looked. I was greedy and had 2 very sugary cups of mint tea. After much hesitation over prices i managed to get this beautiful aqua kind of coloured carving of an ancient boat  whichwas originally 1000 Egyptian pounds but i got it for 300 Egyptian pounds which is very impressive i think.

Any how, after this we headed to a local families house for lunch. They made us a big feast of mainly vegetarian food (hurray!). Green salad, a tomato/potato dish, tahini, homemade Egyptian bread, green soup, Mahshi (stuffed zucchinis and capsicum), chicken noodle soup, fried eggplant and potato chips and of course more super sugary mint tea. One of the younger girls showed us around as she spoke good English and we sat and introduced ourselves and talked about the Egyptian way of life with them and i think it was very confronting for a lot of the group who didn't have much familiarity with Islamic customs especially in regards to male/female relationships, prior to coming to Egypt. She showed us her and her sisters room and ofcourse it was plastered with posters of famous Arab and Egyptian singers and actors etc. It was very familiar! After this we returned to our hotel which is a million times nicer than the last two (they are progressively getting better-first one which we return to tomorrow, was the worst so far!).

Tonight we are catching the sleeper train back to Cairo from here in Luxor so by about 7am tomorrow morning we will be in Cairo again for one last day of exploring this crazy city that i have grown to like so much. I will make sure i use my last day there well. I will buy fresh mango juice from the local shop that has the best mango juice EVER (that's saying something because they are big on mango juice here) and i want to go to Umm Kalthoum museum and Garden City which i will elaborate upon in my next post because i have been online for 2 hours now and my time is up!

Salam for now my friends!

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