Luxor, Egypt, Africa
Today started out with another 6am wakeup call on the boat, but this time we had to be packed up and ready to leave the ship. We headed off the boat at 7am to go to the Valley of the Kings. We arrived to see that loads of tourists were already there and it was hot as hell! We made our way up to the first tomb and learned all about the area we were seeing from Assem. We got a ticket for entry to three of the tombs, so we made our way through all three to see what kinds of tombs the ancient Egyptians had built for their Kings. It was pretty amazing how much detail and color was still showing after 3000 years. The other incredible thing was how big these tombs are. Some of them had dozens and dozens of rooms that would have been filled with the King’s prized possessions to bring into the afterlife. Of course by the time they were excavated, all the tombs had been looted except for King Tut’s, and we’d seen all of his stuff in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to even take our cameras out of our bus when we went to the Valley of Kings, so I have no pictures to upload. I did buy a packet of photos when I was there though, and will try to upload a few of them if I can find a scanner.
We moved on to the Temple of Karnak, which is the largest temple in the world. Most of it is still underground and not yet excavated, but from the pieces we could see, it would have been phenomenal! The problem with seeing this temple was that by the time we got there it was already 11am and we were all baking in the sun. It would have been great to spend more time there (Assem said it would have taken him at least three full weeks to give us a proper tour), but due to the heat and our time constraints, we had to leave at about 1pm.
We went for lunch in a traditional Egyptian restaurant (again), and it was this today that I started really looking forward to getting home to eat food that I’m used to. Not that the Egyptian food wasn’t good, but I’m just ready for something else now. We had lunch and went back to the boat to clean up a bit and have a rest before going on a donkey ride to see a village and see what normal life is like for common people from Egypt. It started out great with a motorboat ride across the Nile, but as soon as we got on our donkeys we realised this wasn’t a great idea.
The donkeys are led around by 7-10 year old boys and are treated terribly. None of them look very strong, so they started to look really weak when we went on our 45 minute ride through the streets of this village. It didn’t help that the boys felt they had to punch and whip the donkeys for no reason and the only way you could get them to stop is to tell them they wouldn’t get a tip if they kept hitting them. We went inside a traditional Egyptian mud hut, which really made me appreciate the things we have. Although it was an eye opener, this is one part of the trip I wish I had skipped.
We got back from the village and had showers and dinner on the boat before leaving at 9pm. We were heading to the Death Train! Some people stopped off at McDonald’s before getting on the train because we all knew how bad the dinner was going to be, but I didn’t think McDonald’s was going to be any better, so I skipped it. We got on the train to find the same conditions as before, and Ryan and I even had a cabin at the end of the car again! So we knew that when we put our bags in the cabin, there was no chance we were going to sleep. Anyway, we’ve had a few drinks with friends hoping that it will help us sleep, so keep your fingers crossed!