Sunday, November 07, 2004

Day 3 October 19th, 2004 – Transfer from Melodie to Luxor Hotel

This section could have one of three titles – you decide which fits best….

a) Fish wrapped in newspaper
b) How V’s underwear ended up a reception
c) The missing bathing suit bottom.

Last night while we were packing, V could not find her bathing suit bottoms!!! She went through everything in the room twice looking for it. She was really worried because she could not figure out how it had left our room (she was wearing them when she got back from the pool). It had to be in here somewhere since she changed only in our room. She was quite concerned too because our plans includes lying on the beach and doing nothing at the end of our vacation. How was she going to do that without a bathing suite (after all this is Egypt – not Cuba – so bathing suit bottoms are mandatory).

V went to bed very frustrated last night. She woke up even more frustrated that she could not find my bathing suit bottoms but she was convinced that it was not in our room.

We went to breakfast determined to find someone who spoke English who would understand us. We found someone at the front desk and explained that she had lost her bathing suit and was there a lost and found on the ship. He gave a very perplexed look at us and did not understand how she could loose my bathing suite. Luckily the person standing at the reception desk over heard us and very sheepishly brought out a rolled newspaper and asked “Did you loose your underwear?” YES!!! she told him but it is not underwear – it is my bathing suit bottoms! Thank you!!!

It was clear that V was embarrassed by this – but her embracement was not anything like the staff. They weren’t used to touching women’s underwear – thus the wrapping them in newspaper.

As part of Ramadan there are a number things you can’t do…
1) Eat, drink or smoke during daylight
2) Have sex, or impure thoughts during daylight

I expect next year that they’ll add a new item…
1) Can’t hold women’s underwear during daylight

Speaking of Ramadan (I knew very little about it before – now I know a little) did you know it moves ever year – something like “every 12 new moons” – as such it actually moves from summer to winter – then back. Imagine summer in Egypt – the longer summer days and not eating or drinking all day in the hot summer!!!

We met the group for breakfast on the ship and then took carriages drawn by horses to Karnak. This temple is enormous and comprised of 3 temples. One highlight of this temple is a room with 16 large columns in the centre row and 121 smaller columns surrounding the original 16 large columns. Even the smaller columns are enormous. It takes 6 men holding hands to circumference one of the smaller columns. Please see this web site for a detailed description of the temple. It is the most impressive temple in Egypt aside from the pyramids at Giza:

The Karnak temple is over 100 acres and our tour book suggests that a 2 hour tour is good but it would take 4 to 6 hours to gain a real appreciation for the temple. Today we had 2 hours at the temple.

Our tour guide is very funny. He must want to be a comedian. He told us from the start that we were allowed 3 questions per person over the next 2 days. He will be our tour guide tomorrow when we see the Valley of the Kings. I quickly used 2 of my 3 questions. He told me that I could borrow some of “husband’s” tomorrow if I wanted to ask more questions! J

The entrance to Karnak is a row of lions with Ram’s heads. The tour guide took us behind the entrance wall to show us examples of uncompleted columns (the only 2 examples that have been found to date in Egypt). He also showed us a mud ramp that was used to build the huge statues that we see all over Egypt.

While at Karnak we saw many more fascinating and beautiful columns and statues. Our tour guide pointed out a flood line that occurred in the 1800’s that knocked over some of the huge columns in one of the rooms of the temple which were repaired. We spent some time in the room with the enormous columns. Each column has the name of Ramses II (consisting of a bee, duck and sun) in the exact same position on all the columns so from any area in the room you will see Ramses’s name. This room once had a silver floor and windows from the top allowed sunlight into this giant room with large golden statues.

Outside the room with the giant columns we saw one of the Obiliques that Queen Hatetshut had made during her reign as Queen. We saw it’s pair in Paris. Our guide showed us many other hieroglyphs before taking us to the giant scarab Beatle and the sacred lake just beside the temple. Our guide told us that if we walked around the scarab 3 times and made a wish, it would come true. If woman walked around the scarab 7 times then you would have a baby.

Our guide gave us 30 minutes to wonder around the temple and then we had to meet the group in front of the temple for our ride to our hotel. David and I walked around the giant scarab (guess how many times) and then went back to the room with the giant columns to take more pictures. We quickly looked at the Ramses II temple and then we ran out of time so we left the temple to meet our group who was waiting for us under the shade of a tree. David got his sandals shined by a local 9 year old boy for 5 Egyptian pounds. By this time it was 11:30 am in the morning and it was already warm outside.

We took a horse and carriage to our hotel in Luxor called the Emileo (Room 401). We finally have a hotel room with a Queen Size bed J There is a nice size bathroom, shower, large sink, toilet, A/C, TV and bar fridge!!! This is the nicest hotel room yet.

David and I checked out our room and had a nap. We woke up around 3pm to go to the West bank to see Hapshechut’s temple. We walked to the Nile and took the local ferry across to the West Bank for 4 Egyptian pounds. The locals only pay 1 Egyptian pound to ride the ferry. David said this ferry reminded him of the local ferries we hear on the news that capsize. That gave me a very comforting feeling (sigh!).

We were very easy targets for taxis drivers when we arrived on the other side of the Nile, considering we were the only tourists on board. After much haggling we managed to negotiate a ride to the temple for 5 Egyptian pounds. Unfortunately, by the time we got to the temple they just sold the last ticket 20 minutes earlier and they would not let us in the temple. I was SO disappointed. We told the taxi driver to take us back to the ferry but they wanted to charge us 45 Egyptian pounds. We told them that they were nuts and to stop the taxi to let us out. We had seen a tourist van parked at a local café and we were pretty sure that we could hitch a ride with them back to the ferry for free, so I was not too worried. I got out and started to walk towards the café while David stayed in the taxi to negotiate. He negotiated a 15 Egyptian pound return to the ferry. So I got back into the taxi and we caught the local ferry home. On the way home, we sat on the top deck to get a good view of the Nile and Luxor.

When we arrived back on the East bank we walked along the Nile and watched the sunset over Luxor. It was beautiful. We found a café that had comfortable couches along the Nile and we had a few drinks to relax. Soon we had to get back to the hotel to eat dinner with the group at the roof top restaurant.

After dinner, Sandra gave us a summary of our last days of the tour. This meeting gave David and I an opportunity to arrange an additional stay at the Resort on the Red Sea instead of returning to Cairo with the group on Oct. 23rd. After the meeting, David and I went shopping. We picked up a few souvenirs for our friends and family and we picked up David’s custom made shirt that he had ordered earlier.

We were in bed early since tomorrow we had a very early wake up call to ride a donkey to the Valley of the Kings :-)


Veronica and David


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