29th April, 2009
Got up early, but it was kinda counterproductive as I’m not only the only resident of the hotel, there’s no staff here until 8:00AM. It’s kinda spooky and would make the start of a pretty good suspense film. Booking into a hotel by the Valley of The Kings, no other guests and the staff completely disappears at night locking the gate. AND, get this, ‘cause it’s the spooky part: When I asked the kid who hangs around here about the rooftop, he took me up there, and somewhere on the third floor there’s the smell of rotting flesh. Probably just a cat or some other dead animal, right? So far it’s all true.
Anyway, I got breakfast aroun 8 and then took a taxi to the Valley of the Kings. I overpaid big time as it’s not all that far from here. The guy is a cousin of the concierge and wanted to wait until I was done, bu that would have been too much money so I told him I would phone. To take me to the Valley of The Kings and then after to the ferry cost 50 guinays. But the Valley of the Kings? EXPENSIVE!
To get in it’s 80 guinays, but then for the popular tombs like Ramses and Tutankhamen (100 each). I went to one tomb that was really cool with lots of pictures and at the entrance to the actual tomb chamber, the tomb wasn’t finished, so the paintings were actuallu drawings without the color filled in. As I was alone, I figured I could take some pictures, but my card was almost full, and when it got full, it beeped and the guard came and confiscated my memory card. Luckily, I had copied all the pcitures from the new card I bought yesterday onto the old one (which is why it got full, and when the thing beeped, I took the old one out and had just finished putting te new one in, and taken only a couple of snaps before the guard caught me. We talked for a while and I offered to erase the card, and after some haggling, I got the card back for 100 guinays. SO that SD card ended up costing 200 guinays after all!
There’s not much to the Valley of the Kings. All the walkways are new and the tombs have modern stone facades and most of the ones I wanted to visit like Horemheb and the new discovered one and both Hatshepsut tombs were all closed. At first I refused to pay the 100 guinays for Tut’s tomb, but after being there for a while, I decided I couldn’t come all this way and not go in. The gatekeeper insisted on taking my picture coming up the stairs for a 20 guinay tip. The tomb is small and covered in plexiglass. There’s a replica of the mummy case inside a sarcophagus, and some crew in there with all sorts of electronic gadgetry measuring it. Not worth 100 guinays, except to say I’ve been there…
I called the cab on another driver’s mobile phone and took the taxi to the ferry and then walked to the train station. There’s a train to Aswan tomorrow at 9 and 12 so I’m hoping to catch the 9AM train and then spend the day on the roof of the Hathor Hotel to even out my tan before I board ship.
After the train, I stopped in at a cafeteria place where everyone wor McDonald’s style uniforms and had shish kebab. It was delicious! Then went to the Luxor Temple, and was waylaid by the imam of the mosque built inside the temple, and given a tour and was asked to donate to the mosque to help the children. I dropped a 100 guinay note there, and then the imam asked for baksheesh after that! Still it was interesting, and though I am theoretically opposed to defacing ancient monuments, the mixture of the old Egyptiam inscriptions and the new mosque, including the 800 year old tower, were quite esthetically pleasing. Anyway, I gave him twenty and skedaddled into the temple for another few pounds. I found a shop that sold Cokes and water foor 3 guinays. Went into the temple and took some pictures. Very big place, and the inscriptions that were left were neat. Looked like a king list on one wall, and in another section a funeral parade that was interesting. Part of the temple had been comverted into a Roman church, and there’s a bit of fresco work left, that looks like a line up for tickets to the Last Supper. Most of the plaster has fallen off and you can see the Egyptian stuff underneath.
I took the ferry back across to the West Bank, and walked through the town. Stopped for fresh orange juice (3 guinays), then took a cab that stopped for me back to the Hotel.
Turns out I had lost the key. So the kid who stays there phoned people (he speaks no English except to say “no English” and a buncha people showed up an they found a duplicate key, we had shai and I went to bed. It’s early AM on the 30th now and I woke up at 4AM and then the muzzuin who sings out prayers just started singin his heart out. Weir cause they usually don’t start that for about an hour or so. Still, I’m gonna start packing. I hope there’s traffic out there at 7 so I can catch a minibus to the ferry…