Wikitravel says that Luxor is the ‘hassle capital of the Egypt,’ and I believe it. Touts will follow you down the street, trying to sell calèche rides, or little stone pyramids, or hash. Kids zoom around on motorcycles, honking pretty much the whole time. Even if the street is otherwise empty.
That said, there’s a lot to see there. Phil and I went to Luxor temple, the temple at Karnak, and the Valley of the Kings. I was pleased to see my alma mater leading the archeological restoration effort. I was told they are “good people.”
Pretty much in every temple there’s a guy who has one corner roped off, and for a tip he’ll give you a ‘tour’ which amounts to him telling you the most obvious possible facts about the monument, like counting off for you the things he sees. “One, two, three, four bees.” It’s easy to keep a sense of humor about it though since the money involved is so low and there’s no haggling, they accept anything. The people selling stuff, on the other hand, are more tiresome. With the revolution the tourist traffic has nearly dried up.
Phil and I had a funny moment riding our bikes back after visiting the Valley of the Kings. The place was closing, and all the guys selling bric-a-brac passed us on their motorcycles and waved. It reminded me of something I couldn’t put my finger on, but Phil thought of it: the sheepdog and the wolf clocking out of work in Looney Tunes.
We stayed at the Boomerang Hotel which was wonderful. On our last day I went to the barber across the street for an overdue haircut. I was glad for the experience, but it wasn’t such a good haircut.
Things I should have photographed:
- Our calèche ride
- The Colossi of Memnon (how did I not photograph this? we stopped there)
- Audio recording of the call to prayer guy near the hotel
- Erin and the French and Swiss people we met
- The kids on the motorcycles
- The koala painting at the Boomerang Hotel