28 February 2013

Luxor to Aswan
Ticket troubles again
Two nice guys and one bastard
Aswan Nile walk

Departing Luxor today, and we still haven’t even seen the Valley of the Kings!  We are happy to skip the Valley of the Queens, as the only interesting tomb here costs over 1000LE to visit.  It is officially closed, but if you have the money!….

So with bags packed, and refreshed minds we head for the Station.  We want to buy a ticket for Aswan, and as they would only sell us one to there from Sohag it shouldn’t be hard.  Should it?  Turns out it is hard.  They refused to sell us a ticket at the station.  Telling us to get it on the train for 25LE second class.  No problem, but we are still wondering what the bloody ticket offices are for if they refuse to sell you tickets.


Waiting around for the train was not too bad, it was on time and arrived at 9:30!  This was a shock, although we found out later it was not the right train, it was actually the 4:30am train delayed to 9:30!  Boarding, we found seats easily, and settled back to wait for the conductor.  This did not take too long either, and we would be able to relax in peace for the rest of the trip.

Less green fields and more desert along the way.

Less green fields and more desert along the way.

This is when the second problem started.  The conductor wanted to charge us 32LE.  WTF?  Apparently it is an extra 6LE to get the ticket on the train.  I kicked up a stink over this as we did not even have the chance to buy the ticket at the station (again) so why should I pay the surcharge?  This did not go down well, and all the work we put into trying to like Egypt at Luxor was undone.  People stepped in to try and help, but this made my mood even worse.  Someone even offered to pay the 12LE difference.  It was a nice offer, but I refused to accept it as it was not the point!  By now I was furious, and we paid for the ticket.  The guys that were trying to help welcomed us to Egypt.  We tried to say we did not feel welcome.  This is hard to do when they go and buy you a can of soft drink!  The bastards!  It is hard to keep your temper in these circumstances, but I tried, and mumbled for the rest of the 3 hour trip.

Aswan town

Aswan town

By the time we arrived at Aswan, I had cooled down enough to apologise to the two nice guys, and offered to buy them a tea to make up for it.  They accepted and we headed to one of the coffee shops near the station.  We sat and talked for a long time.  Ahmed and Abrihem.  They are both really nice, and it turns out they didn’t know each other either.  After a few drinks and an hour or so we had to go find a hotel.  We were going to stay at the Nubian Oasis, as our out of date book said it was cheap and clean.  TA29posteastOur new friends walked us all the way there to make sure we got to the hotel safely.  As said, there are very good people in Egypt.  We made plans to meet up with them for dinner tomorrow night, and bid them farewell.  Abrihem is on leave from his years military service, and Ahmed has a wedding to go to.  We also needed to settle in.


TA33postpanovert1TA34postpanovert2Again we should have looked at the hotel closer.  On first appearances it was fine.  There is a sink in the room as is standard, and the beds were fairly clean (we only found a few hairs in the bed!).  When we had a better look, the sink has no taps or drain, and is filled with crud.  The floor is not clean, and the bathroom?  Lets just say you come out of the shower with your skin crawling!  Enough said.

We still had time for a quick look around, and as the souk is a car free street it is a pleasure to walk down.  We also didn’t get as much hassles as Luxor either, which was good.  Having been told we needed to watch sunset over the Nile, we headed down there and walked along the river.


The sun over the Nile

The sun over the Nile

Unfortunately they have not set up the river here as well as Luxor.  There is no nice places to sit and enjoy the view.  It is either blocked by the massive cruise boats (of which there are many at the moment docked all along the river.  Some 3 or four deep!) or reserved for KFC customers and the like.  Still we found a nice place to watch it set.

And a golden sunset

And a golden sunset

Calling it a night we headed back to find dinner.  This ended up taking a while, and well, it was a disappointment.  Still, there is a nice feel to the place compared to Luxor, and we are optimistic about it.

To top it all off, the noise in the souk started getting louder at around midnight.  We were not sure if it was a wedding, in which case it would be only for the night, or if there is a club nearby, or if the deaf Egyptians just like playing really loud music to stay awake at night, as the souk never closes completely.  It did end around 3am though, so we got some some sleep.



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