Luxor Antiquities!

Trip Start Nov 01, 2007
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Trip End Mar 01, 2008


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Flag of Egypt  ,
Tuesday, November 20, 2007

So, since I've been bad at updating, and because it takes so long to write about my daily activities, I'm going to focus on broader themes from now on, relying on photos to fill in the details.

So, first day in Luxor, went to Valley of the Kings, Temple of Hatshepsut, and the Habu Temple.  Extraordinary!!  Descending into vividly colored and carved 3000+ year old tombs is indescribable.  Once of the highlights was hiking from the Valley of the Kings to the Temple of Hatshepsut over the mountains.  Great view of the Theban hills.

So, the focus for today is Luxor.  I love it.  The city sits on the Nile, which brings cooler, fresh air and is the centerpiece of the city.  The whole place feels like a cruise destination/tourist trap.  People hawk everything: "allo my friend", "take a look", "you know how much", "very cheap for you".  The extraordinary thing about these people is there persistence and ability.  After he greeted me in English, I told one guy I was from Spain, thinking that it would deter him if I spoke Spanish.  Instead, he followed me and talked for 10 minutes in perfect Spanish.  He was pushing my ability to the limit!

Two other tourist things: horse-drawn carriages (seriously?  in Egypt?) with horses that drivers beat incessently to the point that they fall down (yup, I saw that).  The market, which is immaculate and all old looking is the second thing.  Walk one minute past El Souq to the real Luxor market and the real chaos and grime returns, complete with live chickens, donkeys, and motorcycles.  They don't call you as persistently to look at the alabaster pyramids, atrociously ugly papyrus, or to smell the spices though.  I bought some bananas and oranges, and got pretty ripped off.  Seriously, it was only by like 20 cents, and I've gotta hand it to the guy.  I mean, I can't read Arabic numbers, so I feel like it was justifyable to charge me a bit more.

The hostel has a great rooftop lounge, with views of the sunrise/sunset over the desert hills.  Great place to meet people too, and I met some other travelers tonight.  It's been fun talking to other people going for several months...its really a lifestyle, and most of them are my age, which is fun.  The two other constantly present people on the roof are these two French ladies who have been staying for 3 years and smoke a lot of pot on the roof, and this crazy guy from England who decided yesterday to sell all of his belongings and move to Luxor where he can live on $4000 per year.
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Comments

nfohner
nfohner on

Selling
Do not get any crazy ideas about selling everything and moving somewhere strange! Although it would be nice to see the floor in your room. It took me ten tries to start the Thinkpad this morning. But I think I would miss it is you sold it. I just love all your descriptions. mom

lschneider
lschneider on

hey!
so i went home for a week and watched tv and ate lots of food.... and you saw the pyramids, hung out at beautiful mosques, wandered along the nile, haggled with vendors, and saw all sorts of tombs. i think you win. I always remember Hatshepsut because my 6th grade history teacher called her hot chicken soup. weird. did you get to celebrate thanksgiving over there at all??

wendymax
wendymax on

Vicarious antiquities
Ben! Sounds wonderful! We saw most of the same things you are seeing and it brings back wonderful memories. Our horse collapsed in the middle of the street in Luxor and we all felt terrible for it.
I was quite interested in your reaction to the Egyptian museum. I thought it was wonderful and just what a museum should be - old wooden cases, statuary everywhere. I didn't think of it as a despicable treatment for valuable antiquities, which I suppose it is. I remember the mummies as being in refrigerated cases, not anywhere where unruly American tourists could cause them harm...
Our theme in the Valley of the Kings was Ramses V. Apparently he died of smallpox and a certain member of our party who shall remain unnamed found that fascinating. I don't think we saw him, though.
Be careful of the food! And keep the blogs blogging.

-w

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