Early flight today from Luxor to Cairo… an even earlier flight tomorrow from Cairo back to home. The flight from Luxor seems like it’s over as soon as it starts. When an attendant woke me to bring my seat back up it felt like I’d just nodded off for a minute, but we were already landing. We were met at the Cairo airport this time by Mahmoud and it made it far less of a headache. He had parked on the sidewalk right by the airport front doors which was kind of awesome. Getting out of that spot involved a lot of yelling and waving of hands which was also pretty awesome. Continue reading Vacating Cairo
We had every intention of getting pictures of the Stargate in Abydos, but unsurprisingly they don’t allow cameras in the gate room. Seriously though, both the movie and the series neglected to mention the touts and hustlers in the local village there.
We did have a good time though and Abydos and Dendera are both worth the drive outside of Luxor. We didn’t see a single other tourist of any stripe for the entire day outside Luxor, which is really very sad. The areas were both quite remote and rural, giving an impression of a different, even harsher way of life in these outlying villages. Continue reading The Gate Room in Abydos
Breakfast at the Sheraton was a reminder of the state of tourism here. We booked a “club level” room, essentially as a value proposition: it includes Internet, breakfast, cocktails and amenities for a nominal amount extra. At the moment, it would appear we are the ONLY guests on this level. There is a concierge responsible for the club lounge, and that means he is responsible for us. Which means, for example, when we missed cocktail hour last night while out having tea, the concierge nervously asked about it at breakfast. I guess he had cocktail hour set up for us (since it’s an included amenity) and it sat empty since we didn’t come. There’s something very, very sad about that at a large five star resort. I think we’re doing our part for the industry, but this country needs thousands of tourists visiting, not the few dozen we’ve seen. That being said, from a strictly shortsighted and selfish perspective, visiting the sites themselves without throngs of tourists has been absolutely phenomenal. Continue reading Luxor West Bank
We headed to the Cairo airport today bright and early and arrived in Luxor around lunchtime. Domestic service on Egypt Air was convenient and uneventful. Luxor definitely is a change of pace from Cairo, with a much more small town feel to the place. It’s clear that the economy of Luxor relies far more heavily on tourism than Cairo, and the upheaval in recent years has hit the place really, really hard. Huge cruise boats sit parallel parked many rows deep on the banks of the Nile. We visited a couple of temples sites in town today (Karnak and Luxor Temples) and the places were quite barren. Continue reading Tourist Ghost Town
There’s definitely some risk of critical itinerary items getting jettisoned when you don’t allow for some periods in a trip as down time. However, on a timeline as short as ours here, we don’t really have that luxury. Thankfully, (or, since we’re in Egypt: Al-ḥamdu lillāh) everything is on schedule so far. Continue reading The Giza Plateau and Tahrir Square
When we started planning the multistop trip we took back in 2011, Egypt was on the tentative itinerary. Until, that is, the democratic process started getting rowdy enough for advisories against all nonessential travel to the country were issued by nearly all western governments. In the years since, Egypt has managed to stay pretty far down on our list for safety concerns. Egypt pops onto our news intermittently with riots, killings, terrorism, etc… the sort of stuff that generally dissuades westerners from taking a holiday there. Continue reading Cairo? Is it ok to go there now?