from temples to toilets

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Day 30: Felucca sailing-Luxor (8 Oct ‘09) from temples to toilets

Mayer woke us up from our semi-slumber around 5:30am to see some of the sunrise and move our luggage off of our feluccas. We said goodbye to the felucca men and hopped back onto the support boat for some brekky and our ride into town. We ate breakfast; an omelete, two rolls, one wedge of cheese and some strawberry jam and relaxed on the top deck until the boat docked a short while later. We removed our luggage and placed it into a van that met us at the dock to take us to Kom Olbo temple. We stayed there for a little while and then drove and hour or so to Edfu temple. There were many police checkpoints along the way as we drove. The sights are astounding, really. We see pretty palm trees and natural sights amidst poverty and such inequality. Children without shoes who are not in school ride donkeys up and down the streets trying to sell whatever they can. Muslim women all covered up and men in Gallibeas everywhere. Fruit being sold out of carts on the backs of horses and donkeys, dust kicked up throughout all of the streets and what looks like poverty in every direction.

We stopped at Edfu temple and viewed what Mayer called ‘a forest of hieroglyphics’ that were mostly in tact. This was the most completed temple that we’ve visited along the way. There was an offering chamber and many statues of falcons as the temple was dedicated to Horos, the falcon god. We left there and made our way to Luxor where we will stay for the next two days. I have to say that the pyramids were amazing and the camel rides are always fun but I’m not sure how I feel altogether about Egypt. It’s difficult to see the blatant inequality towards women and the dichotemy of tourism and travel next to such impoverished people. Children not in school, people haggling for every ounce of cash available, it’s hard. It is probably one of the first places we’ve been that it doesn’t seem to be outwardly thriving. It is a cultural paradox; beautiful temples and pyramids to see, pretty flowers amidst solely two religious cultures and poverty for so many. Anyway, we came back to the hotel to check in for a bit and lounge by the rooftop pool overlooking Luxor temple and the Nile River. We had just about an hour or so and then showered and headed out by boat to our farmland camel ride. We walked towards the post office, through a small market/mall to a motorboat which took us across the river and there waiting for us on the other side were a bunch of camels and handlers most of whom were well under the age of 18.

We had a wonderful camel ride through farmlands on smaller camels where the Sahara Desert was just on the other side of the hill and the setting sun, the Nile River was just beside us and in between you found cows, goats, oxen, horses, donkeys and little children everywhere running around pulling flowers off of trees and passing them out to us (and then putting their hands out for money for the flowers). We finished our camel ride which was really enjoyable, thanked our camels and handlers and got back on the motorboat across the river and headed straight to dinner at an Egyptian restaurant above the mall we had walked through before the camel ride. James and Mathew had kafta and Louise and I each had falafel and then tried to split Eggplant Mousaka which was very cheesy and we all attempted to have hummus but it was super watery. Well, that was just about the end of our Luxor enjoyment as Mathew was then up half the night sick and I didn’t feel well myself. I mean if it had to happen at all at least it was at the end of the trip, right? Tomorrow is supposed to be the Valley of the Kings and an hour and a half of Donkey riding starting at 4:30am…but…I don’t think so!

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