As I was recently reminded in an email, it’s been almost a week since my last update. Sorry about that.
In that time, I’ve taken a two day felucca trip down the nile, saw Kom Ombo and Edfu temples during a minibus ride, and explored Karnak, Hapshepsut Temple, and the Valley of the Kings (King Tut’s tomb is REALLY small, by the way) all while getting horribly, horribly harassed by the touts in Luxor.
Karol and I are actually not using a hotel room we’ve already paid for tonight in order to leave Luxor earlier because the atmosphere is so unenjoyable here. We’ll catch an overnight train to Cairo, then an 8-9 hour bus to Dahab for a few days of relaxing by the beach on the Sinai peninsula.
A few things I’ve learned so far in Egypt:
• Bargain. FOR EVERYTHING. The only places with set prices are tourist sites and western style restaurants – everywhere else will try to rip you off.
• Bring a student ID card. You’ll save 50% on all site admissions. You can also get an ISIC youth travel card in Cairo for 90EGP if you’re under 26.
• Vegans can eat falafel, kushari, and fava beans (and honestly I doubt the beans are vegan). Oh, and potato chips. Be prepared to be undernourished.
• Feluccas are a great way to travel and super nice during the day, but bring warmer clothes and a pillow if possible for sleeping on the deck at night. It gets cold. Also, don’t dock for the night next to the ferry (running every 15-20 minutes and with a well-lit parking lot), grazing sheep, a pack of wild dogs, and locals who like to hang out and smoke pot while listening to loud arabic music on their cellphones until 2am if possible.
• Public ferries are harder to find but they’re only 1EGP to cross the Nile, and there’s nothing quite like being the only white person on an overloaded, undermaintained riverboat that may sink at any time.
• Sugarcane juice is a really nice, really inexpensive pick-me-up on hot afternoons. You can buy a glass on the street for 1EGP.
• Egyptian touts are some of the worst in the world, and those in Luxor are the worst in Egypt. Be prepared for none-stop hassle, especially now that there are little to no tourists.
• Drivers here spend more time with their hands on their horn than not and have complete and utter disregard for anyone walking in the street, and traffic in Cairo is horrendous. On the flip side, taxis are super cheap.
• I no longer hate camels, but I still don’t like them.