07 March 2013

Aswan to Luxor

Today we are leaving Aswan, to head back to Luxor. First though we meet up with Ahmed again. This was handy, as we would use him to buy our tickets at the station.  This will be a first.  Hiding outside the station with our luggage, we sent him in.  It was a good idea, but not to be.  The 12.00 train is apparently full and the next one is not till 15.00 so we decide to take the bus instead.

Ahmed wanted to see us off and buy us breakfast. A nice offer, so we happily accepted. One cup of coffee turned in to two and one sandwich turned into two, and time flew. It has been great meeting such good people and taking the time to get to know them a bit and their views on life and Egypt.  Eventually by 12.00 we made it to the bus station. A mini bus was easy to find and we were waved off by our friend.  We felt a bit bad about taking so long, as he is helping prepare for his cousins wedding, and he has dedicated so much time to us in town, even though we enjoyed every second.
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The trip was fine. We crossed over to the west bank right outside of Aswan and took the west desert road. Not bad, and fast, but the views were pretty boring. We love desert landscapes, but this must be the most featureless desert ever! Flat ground in golden sand with bits of black and grey rocks. We got very excited when there were a few car tyres along the way!!  Basically all the features are man made.  Mostly consisting of little hillocks of sand, pushed up, we think, to mark off different peoples plots of land.  Occasionally they have tried to grow a line of palms or similar, but these are all dead.

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Ahmed gave us a call to make sure we left okay and if we could call him on arrival so he would not worry.. “Off course Daddy! Don’t worry.” He is younger then us, but very sweet.
In Esna, a town on the west bank, where it is lush and green again, we had a little stop and all the passengers left the bus. We were expecting the driver to pick up some new ones, but that did not happen. For the next bit he turned up  the music and was clapping and signing along while constantly smoking.  He was a happy man.  However for the next 50km or so, we were the only people in the mini bus, and a bit worried that Ahmed had chartered it for us all the way from Esna to Luxor.  When we finally picked up another passenger we were very relieved!

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The views got more interesting, going through some small villages and along the canals. On our left we now had great views of the east range as we made our way to Luxor. There were glimpses of the Nile, and fields aplenty.  It is amazing the difference from the desert to here.  Especially as it is a very clear clean line between the two.

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Back at Luxor we got dropped before the official bus station as our driver knew we wanted to get to down town and the station is further out. After ignoring all the calls for taxi’s a local guy talked us into going by his freight bike. (motor bike with a tray attached to the back) We planned on walking as the train station isn’t far, but for 2 LE we might as well. Unfortunately on arrival he wanted a lot more then this. The 5 LE we gave him, expecting chance, was not enough.. Well, 2 pounds is 2 pounds, so Anna popped into a nearby shop to spend some of it and have the exact money to pay. He was not happy and even brought Allah into his arguments as to why we should pay him more. Pretty sure Allah does not approve of him lying to us either..  Still, with this we knew we were back in Luxor.

Local life along the irrigation canals

Local life along the irrigation canals

We have loved our time in Aswan and Abu Simbel (well, mostly) and are determined to keep our new positive attitude for the next bit of Egypt, so let this incident slide off.
Not sure if we wanted to go back to the hotel we stayed before, we checked out a new one. Not too bad and cheaper, but on coming out to discuss our options, we ran into the owner of the first hotel. He did not give us much of a choice, but to follow him again to his place. This was good though and he even dropped his price to match the cheap hotel!
After check in, we had another power outage. This time quite a big one, as from the roof we could only see a few mosques lit up on the other side of town. We took our torch for a walk in the dark and half way through the lights came back on. A quick dinner and an early night.

AA

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