Thursday, April 8, 2010

We got up extremely early today as bags had to be out by 5:15am, we had breakfast and left the boat at 5:45am.

We headed straight to the Valley of the Kings and ours was the first bus to get there, which was a very good thing as I gather it gets very crowded. (Cameras weren't allowed inside)

Valley of the Kings

We went into 3 tombs, an awesome experience. The setting is completely barren and mountainous. Nothing to see on the outside, but you enter the cave-like tombs and they are full of intricate carvings and paintings. Unlike the temples, the tombs have retained much of their colour, so it’s really beautiful.

We then went to Queen Hatshepsut’s Temple.

It’s a very different temple, built right into the side of a mountain.

This is the temple in which 63 people were murdered in 1997 in what was to become known as the Luxor massacre. Maybe it was just my overly sensitive nature coming into play, but I found the place had a melancholy atmosphere. Sad making.

On a lighter note, this is the place I had one of those experiences that sticks with you long after the holiday's over.  Picture the scene:  I needed the loo (with me it's always about the toilets!) so I headed off on my own and found the WC sign.  The loo was manned by an elderly Egyptian man, who was holding the ubiquitous roll of toilet paper, palm out for the necessary tip.  I put the money in the palm, grabbed my bit of bog roll and headed for the cubicle.  There I sat, behind one of those doors that is open top and bottom, while the elderly man perched on an upturned tin right outside, like a metre away and sang tunelessly in Arabic!!  Whether the loud singing was to drown out the noise of the flow, I don't know.  Funniest wee I've ever had!  Most entertaining too!

Finally we stopped at the Colossus of Memnon

It was very strange to see the 2 enormous statues right next to a wheat field in a very rural area. So very Egyptian, the mix of ancient and everyday.

The drive back to Luxor was very interesting as a lot of the time we were driving through small villages, seeing the people going about their business.

We then went to the airport and flew back to Cairo. Not the best landing ever, but I think Paula and I were the only ones to notice this.

This evening we went to the Sound and Light show. It was an incredible experience to see the pyramids and the sphinx all lit up at night. It was quite chilly out there at night, but so worth it!

Driving back to our hotel was very interesting. It was definitely wedding night, we saw at least 3 brides on the way back to our hotel.

Cairo is such a crazy, dirty, chaotic and yet vibrant city!

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