We awoke at 430 in the morning around the time of first prayer to go on a hot air balloon ride. however due to some confusion we missed the flight. Instead we decided to explore several of the sights on the West side of the Nile. In order to get there we took a small boat across the Nile and a taxi to our first destination the Valley of the Kings. These tombs lie several miles west of the the strip of fertile green land paralleling the Nile and into the desert mountains. there are dozens of tombs. We paid to check out 3 of them. We traveled to the tombs farthest from the parking lot with an understanding that they would be relatively empty. It was mind blowing how well preserved the art was inside each tomb. I can’t say that I am particularly passionate about Egyptology but just from an artistic standpoint, the intricacy and beauty of the paintings and etchings along the tunnel walls were impressive. Each one went several hundred feet into the mountainside and terminated with a cast of the corpse that had occupied the tomb. Pictures were not allowed unless you paid an additional fee. Honky and I still poached a couple photos much to the anger and frustration of the guides that followed us into the tombs. Afterwards we had just enough time to visit the Temple of Hatshepsut. we returned to the East Bank and headed to an ancient mosque after hitting up the falafel stand. It was interesting to see 20 plus people all knelt over in prayer including a police officer. It is different being in a country wherein there is less separation between government and religion. Reflection …. we were both mentally exhausted by the end of the day and did not have much patience. Throughout the day we had a number of people on the street blatantly ask for money or solicit services (carraige rides, guided tours etc.) It was difficult to get anywhere without someone stopping you ever 100 feet or so. It would almost always start politely with small talk such as them saying welcome to our country. There would be introductions and asking how our trip was going etc. then the solicitation would begin. The difficult part was no matter how insistently we would say no thank you in Arabic they would often push harder and follow us down the street. Often there was no way to escape without being rude and just ignore them as you walked off.However, even though it was frustrating I could sympathize for them. Making a living in Egypt is not easy for most. Jobs are difficult to find and about a third of the people make less than 2 USD per day. Many of these street vendors are just trying to scrape a living by doing all they know how. Hence why we both tried our best to be polite even though we sometimes failed and found ourselves yelling to be left alone. The poverty is not entirely negative. during my stay thus far I have noticed that it bonds people together. People lookout and take care of one another. We often got referred to other shops by vendors who wanted to give family members or friends business. It is also common to see civilians intercept fights and hold back punches when disagreements inevitably arise.
Room and platform of blood sacrifices at Hatshepsut.
View of Luxor from Hatshepsut
Caves in distance which are closed to the public
Al Qaeda tunnel? Just kidding.
Street View in Luxor.
This picture and the next 3 pictures are views on Nile from boat after touring both Hatshepsut and Valley of the Kings Tombs
Valley of the Kings Tomb
Another mosque picture. Cool carvings!
View of Luxor Temple from the mosque.
Hole in the mosque allows you to see current level of the Nile River.