This might go down under “Seemed Like a Good Idea At the Time” in my book…. Egypt is cheap, and since I was staying with Megan I didn’t have to pay for a hotel room, but still, I was determined to be as thrifty as possible. If I was going to pay for the train to Luxor and back, I wasn’t going to spend money on a hotel. But while I remember sleeping pretty well on trans-European sleeper trains, Egyptian trains are not as smooth a ride. Still, it was an awesome day. I arrived in the cool early morning to see Karnak bathed in golden light.
Then I proceeded across the river and headed straight for the Valley of the Kings. You can’t take pictures inside, which is only one of many things that Petra could learn from the Egyptian authorities. Tourism is detrimental to archaeological sites, from flash photography, to litter and graffiti, to the very air they breathe. While Jordan has let the sudden increase of tourists in the last year trample right over the best interests of preservation, Egypt has not, forbidding photography of sensitive sites and restricting tourists to seeing only 3 tombs on a given day in the Valley of the Kings. As a result, the tombs are pristine and astonishing, most still brightly painted. It’s something I’d love to chat with Chris Tuttle about some day soon.
Then I saw the stunning Temple of Hapshetsut. By the time I got to lunch, I was starting to tire.
That was when the Arabic teacher I had hired to drive me had a brilliant idea, called up some of his high school students, and put me on a falucca on the river to see the sunset.
Two thoughts kept running through my head. From The Wind In The Willows:
There’s nothing more worth doing than messing about in boats.
and from my father:
A bad day on the water is better than a good day at work!
In the end, this was anything but a bad day!