Monday, October 25, 2010

Luxury in Luxor

In the Palace Drawing Room
I have officially come to the point in this adventure where I have no interest in seeing one...more...temple! Good thing I am staying in a palace :) So after exploring the west bank yesterday, I spent the afternoon chilling out by the pool, and the evening writing in my room. I got a lot done, but still have many, many things I need to get straight in my own mind before I can finish the book.

This morning I plan to spend some time in the palace drawing room, thinking through some of these points and hopefully resolving some of them. After that, I catch a plane back to Cairo.

Aside from a quick visit to Heliopolis (a fascinating, 19th century Cairo creation near the airport) and some souvenir shopping, I'm done. I'm tired, homesick and happy and the trip back to San Diego is looking impossibly long.

Some Relaxation on Palace Grounds

Lining up in Luxor

The Mandatory Alabaster Factory Visit
Luxor is alot like Disneyland. You see nothing but herds of tourists interspersed with the occasional Egyptian who is inevitably directly connected to the tourism industry. You hear predominantly French, Spanish and English and very little Arabic. So it is in Luxor that I have felt the most "at home", but also the least in Egypt.

I took a tour this morning of the West Bank. Of course, the Valley of the Kings is the highlight. When you get there, you realize exactly why this place is so amazing. Each of these tombs was carved and decorated during the reign of it's occupant. Each tomb is intricate beyond description. And there are dozens of them. It is a true underground labyrinth built beneath a rock formation that is naturally in the shape of a pyramid.

In Hatshepsut's Temple
The Valley of the Kings is exactly like Disneyland in that you wait in line for fifteen minutes to enter the tomb and look at it for a few moments. In this regard, I found myself regretting the fact that tourists actually do line up. I would have much preferred the Egyptian system of throwing elbows. I'm sure I could have taken most of those old ladies and little kids.