Luxor – cruising to Aswan on the Nile

After the craziness of Cairo,we were all bracing ourselves for an even crazier time in Luxor.  Hubs said about a hundred times that Luxor was bad for touts in your face trying to sell things.  And it was hotter than Cairo too.  Oh joy.  Remind me again why we are going there..?

Our hotel, the Iberitol, was ok for a cheap 4-star hotel.  It worked out at A$43 pp per night, including breakfast. The pool was nice, right over the Nile River.  Our first night we arrived into Luxor late.  We were all hungry but had no energy to go out to eat, so we ordered off the bar menu at the hotel.  The bar was smoke-filled and full of scuzzy looking old tattooed Germans getting drunk and a guy playing keyboards and singing old cheesy songs at about 670 decibels.  Seriously loud and seriously annoying.  The drunkards seemed to enjoy it and were slurring the words to the songs between puffs of cigarettes. It was pretty grim.  We would have moved outside except that it was still 39 degrees at 11pm and we were all over the heat.  Anyway, I smiled sweetly at the singer and politely asked him to turn it down as I had a head ache.  It worked.

Sam is so funny – he gets all grumpy and agitated when he doesn’t eat every 3 to 4 hours. Given it had been about six hours between meals, he was at his most annoying.  As he was eating the worst club sandwich in the world, you could literally see his blood sugar levels rise and life come back to his face.  He rarely speaks when eating (or shovelling as the case was that night), he’s too busy concentrating on his food.  As his last mouthful was swallowed, he turns to us and shouts in his wog-boy accent, “Don’t starve me like that ever again!  That sandwich tasted like dog shit but I had to eat it anyway!”  His facial expressions and tone of that statement had us all doubled over in hysterical laughter.  He was right! The sandwich did taste like dog shit!!!  It was just too grim in that bar to stay too long, so we aborted our game of dominoes and called it a night.

The next day, Sam, Ayman, Hubs and I stayed pool side all morning.  All of us were too afraid to eat anything outside the hotel as we all had tender tummies and I was on antibiotics for my Cairo tummy.  Hubs did the only thing she could.  She called McDonalds for home delivery (or hotel delivery).  I haven’t eaten Maccas for at least 18 months, but I was so so so looking forward to this lunch.  Delivered to our hotel, my two cheese burgers did the trick and stopped the hunger pangs. It was also important we got some food into Sam before he became too annoying!

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In the evening we went to the Karnak Temple for the sound and light show.  Hubs being a local ‘gypo with an ID card paid about A$1.50, and we all had to pay about $A20.  She was loving it!   The Karnak Temple is seriously amazing and dated back to 2100 BC – over 4000 years old! . It’s is Egypt’s biggest temple spanning more than 3sq km with an impressive rams-head sphinx avenue leading into it, gates that are over 30m tall, and huge stone statues dedicated to Ramesses II and III.  Although it’s hard to tell because every pharaoh used to chip off the names of the previous pharaoh and add theirs instead, effectively ‘stealing’ a statue for themselves.  This also has two of the obelisks that Queen Hepshepsut had made up during her reign (she was the fat ugly one that thought she was a man), including Egypt’s tallest obelisk standing at 30m tall and made of pink granite.  The Temple has a small lake that was used for purification.  I was captivated and really enjoyed it.

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Dinner was in a small place around the corner from our hotel and recommended by a poolside Brit earlier in the day.  Given that Liverpool isn’t famous for culinary delights, I took her recommendation with slight scepticism.  When we discovered we could smoke sheesha there too, we all agreed to stop and have dinner.  After dinner we trekked into the centre to stock up on supplies – phone recharge cards for the boys, 2 cases of water and 1 case of coke a cola for our cruise.  Everyone we have spoken to said that drinks on the cruises are ridiculously expensive, so we were prepared. The next day my back pack was incredibly heavy and Ayman offered to carry it 500m in exchange for me wheeling one of his suitcases – deal! 

Crown Jubilee was the name of cruiser and where we would spend the next four nights.   All of us had the same reaction:  it looked a lot bigger on the internet. But really, the rooms were like a small hotel room, the bathrooms all had bath and weren’t that pokey, so for ship, it was pretty good. There was a pretty small pool on the upper deck.   The cruise included excursions and entry costs, breakfast, lunch and dinner, all buffet.   Also on board was a rude bunch of Spanish on a tour, a big rowdy bunch of old Portuguese, a handful of Frenchies, and us. 

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Our first excursion was just the four of us and a private guide to the Karnak Temple at 3pm.  It was stinking hot, at least 43 degrees, and going to a place full of stone with stone paving meant we got the heat radiating off everything to make us feel even hotter.  Our guide was a bit shifty and asked the Lebanese boys and Hubs for their IDs so they were charged the local Egyptian price.  As far as the cruise goes, we were all foreigners so really they would have been allocated foreigner tickets at the higher price…and someone was pocketing the difference.  None of us liked this, particularly not Hubs and Sam. Ayman really just wanted to keep the peace and not make a big deal about it.  Besides that karfuffle that resulted in our crap guide being on the phone for about half the time we were at the temple, the Karnak Temple by day was just as amazing as it was at night.

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When we returned to the cruise, Hubs and Sam spoke to the Assistant Manager and the Manager and complained that it wasn’t right that their passports and IDs were being used to get local priced tickets into the attractions and someone was pocketing the difference, which is very significant.  Both managers agreed and the tour operator was called in and he too conceded (he was the dodgy one).  From then on, all Lebs and Gypos would be treated as foreigners which is what they paid the cruise as, as foreigners.  Ok, that was sorted.  The other result was that both managers treated us like star guests from that moment on.
































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