Saturday, December 19, 2009

Dec 17, 2009 (Alex): A Collosal Experience

Dec 17, 2009 (Alex): Wake-up call in train at 04:30 for breakfast, getting off at the Luxor train station and harassed by hagglers trying to shake our money tree. Stubbornly, resisting the hagglers’ requests for their outrageous “business” for shelter and transportation, we walked the “100 metres” which seemed like 10 kms to the Happyland hotel. Here we are rescued from the hassling hagglers by a friendly hotel owner who offers a welcome drink of cold Egyptian hibiscus tea. After a 2-hour power nap, we meander along the east bank of the Nile along shops, cruise ships (400+), and more hassling hagglers. Our “sucker” experiences of our past day make us resistant as we take turns waving the protesting requests of taxis and horse riders. Along the waterfront we encounter ferrymen, all wishing to provide us with passage to the west side of the Nile. Like flies to honey…hassling hagglers trying to shake our money tree. Curiosity and amazement lead us to the mummification museum. We see the tools of the trade, many mummies, such as military general, adult and newly hatched crocodiles, baboon, ibis, lamb, duck, and cat, and the cariconic urns of heart, liver, lungs, and kidneys, and various colourful mummy coffins. Onwards for another 8 km to the Karnak Temple. Again, taxi driver after taxi driver toot their horns, call out in grand anticipation of business. Even the horse drawn carriage drivers tempting us with reduced prices. At the Karnak Temple, amazed at the wonders of the 5000 year old precarious stone structures of pillars, statues, rooms, walls, staircases, and hallways. We touched, stand on, climb, crawl through, and view the many colourful displays of hieroglyphics, statues, columns, and the priest displaying his proud family jewels. Imagine playing hide and seek in the temple. Leaving the Karnak Temple, we succumb to the hassling haggling of a carriage driver, but only after bartering a great price. The horse-drawn carriage brings us to a delicious palate satisfying Egyptian restaurant (Hussein). We enjoy fresh hibiscus, guava, mango, lemon/lime juices with lentil soup and lime, main dishes of pigeon, chicken kabob, beef rolls (khafta), humus, rice, French fries, pickled carrots and grilled eggplant, as our carriage ride awaits us outside our window. Starlight horse-drawn carriage ride back to our hotel along the east bank Nile River we enjoy Christmas lights on cacti and lights on the Luxor temple. Arrive back at our peaceful and quiet abode.

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