thisisanexperiment. no, really. it is.

Greetings from Luxurious Luxor

Posted in Interest, Life by thisisanexperiment on December 20, 2009

Well, not quite. Blogging from our hostel here in Luxor, home to Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens, Luxor Temple and manymore! No peektures for now cause I’m using my friend’s laptop and I’m terribly lazy to blog anything now except for thoughts and words!

We are awaiting our train back to Cairo right now. A quick recap whilst I do that…

In our 2 days in Dubai, we visited Ski Dubai (sking is mother tough btw, I now totally understand the ‘Hot Ski Instructor’ shindig), factory outlets, went to a pub, saw the fountain show at Dubai Mall, and shopped somemore. We took a day trip down to Al Ain as well- a few museums, a good meal, we went to the camel market, got locked in a camel enclosure because one of the guys wanted tips which were with our guide (who was in the mini-bus and not with us), and went up to the mountain at Al Ain which blessed us with a breath-taking view.

Then, we wanted to go clubbingz at Dubai, unforunately, ill-timing struck because that just happened to be their Islamic New Year. All clubs weren’t serving alcohol and so we sadly returned back to Somerset Dubai, wondering why we were so unlucky (everytime we wanted to go clubbing, nothing goes to plan!).

At approximately 1230am, our friend knocked on the bedroom door, and told us ‘Bad news guys. Remember we thought our plane to Cairo is at 330pm? Erm, it’s actually 330am!’. Thus came the scramble to pack and go to the airport. We had 3/4 a day to kill in Cairo, with baggage and no where to crash. So we hurriedly booked a hostel at Cairo airport (Terminal 2, which was another 100m walk from the terminal we landed at, and btw, we totally UNDERESTIMATED the coldness of the weather. It was FREEZING and I was severely underdressed).

Fast forward to us arriving at our first Cairo Hostel- Jasmine Hotel. The exterior and surroundings at approximately 9am or so in the morning looked like a warzone. Apprehension filled me; then we went inside. The hostel was surprisingly clean, albeit spartan. We crashed into our beds and knocked out for a few hours. I rejoice in the fact that there was hot water available, and free breakfast, although I personally find the hostel owner Dubious with a capital D.

With a few hours left to kill, we left for the Egyptian Museum. If you are looking for sheer density of artefacts, it certainly passes with flying colours. The Museum is jammed pack with historical artefacts, statues, tombs and yes, mummies (for a price of course). It is a chaotic arrangement of artefacts however, and it would do good to get a guide, although we did not but I still enjoyed viewing the artefacts and reading what blurbs was available. It is quite a pain in the ass to get into though.

We had dinner at a nice intimate restaurant before heading back to the hostel and rushing to the train station to meet our other comrades. The Giza Train Station is INSANE and a MOTHER-MESS. There is no signage, and everything-the trains and the people- operate on Egyptian time and style. We were told that our train was supposed to come at either 830, 840, or 10pm. And even our ticket looked freaking dubious, to the point where we were unsure if we even really bought a train ticket. To make matters worse, we were totally cheated/’toked’ for the tickets, paying US$50 for them.

After repeated asking around, and operating like a troop (at the head is my friend, the Commando), we found out that we had to board the train at the last carriage at the opposite end. Cue the Amazing Race style running and literal jumping onto the train. Insane! (But fun on hindsight). The sleeping sitting train is however, surprisingly clean and roomy on the inside. The seats are even better than airplane seats.

We reached Luxor in the early morning, freezing our asses off in the cold. I believe it was 9 degree celsius. Since then, we have visited Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens and 3 other magnificent temples. Pictures another time thought they  don’t allow photography and Valley of the Kings and Queens. I have seen King Tut’s mummy though! A shirvelled up blackened (with tar) body. Nonetheless, it is all quite miraculous to see these temples and bodies, conserved for thousands of years. One can’t hep but wonder at what it was like to walk though those pathways then. Egyptian history is wraught with in-breeding.

We have gone on a Horse Carriage ride and gone to the Souk here; I must say I really don’t like shopping here. I think Luxor men are very pervetic; I am tired of the perpetual “oh, you’re beautiful! beautiful!” and them rubbing my hands and trying to kiss my cheeks (and trying to get me to kiss their cheek) even when I am with a big group (majority boys) and my boyfriend is right outside the store! Trying to buy something here at the Souk is a major journey of bargaining and fending off crazy men (even when you’re just walking down the street)!

I will say however, that the people at Princess Hotel here in Luxor are very friendly and nice and the place is clean! The hot water is abit faulty though.
Most of the buildings here in Luxor are not complete, creating a very haphazard and somewhat eyesore-effect. They are left incomplete to make use of a loophole in the law, which makes it compulsory for all owners to pay a 40% tax per year (based on the value of the land and building).

Next up is the mad rush for Cairo & Pyramids of Giza! Perhaps we shall visit Alexandria in lower Egypt before we head back for an extra day in Dubai (but yay! nice apartment (: )
For all the pain for the course I had to take, and for all the pervy dudes, I must say that this has been an excellent experience. A little surreal sometimes!

Running low on cash though ):

See you!

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