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.
We had a busy and early day touring the West Bank of Luxor, which included the Colossi of Memnon, Valley of the Kings, Hatshepsut Temple, and Valley of the Scribes. It was a very full day that unfortunately isn’t reflected as much in the photos, as photos generally aren’t allowed in tombs, and cameras are no longer permitted at all in Valley of the Kings. As a side note… I totally get the whole headscarf thing. It’s cool, comfortable and keeps the 7/8 of me prone to sunburn from getting burned alive. I’m definitely a believer. Oh yeah, and while women can and do wear skimpy outfits without getting assaulted (I’m looking at you, busload of Russian day trippers), it really is a good call to go with long skirts or pants, long sleeves, and covering your hair. Martha has gotten a lot of direct compliments and been treated very well and it has been clear that respectful attire has been a factor. “When in Rome…” and all that jazz. Here she had been stressing about how to tie a headscarf properly and then in come some foreign girls in super-short cutoffs and tank tops. At a minimum, I’d recommend at least striving to not be the outlier wearing a bikini in Valley of the Kings.
We’re off to bed early tonight. Tomorrow the plan is to visit Abydos (we’ll have to come up with some Stargate references regarding that) and Dendera, which are both a bit of a drive outside of Luxor.