More temples, tombs and tooling around today. Some walking too. Getting from the west bank to the east bank of Luxor either requires about 10 miles of driving as the bridge crossing is about five miles south or taking the public ferry across which costs about 20 cents. The ferry not only saves the time and fuel it would take to get to the other side, but also puts you right in with all the locals. Sometimes it’s a staring contest, other times its an interview. When not on the motorcycle I appear as an average tourist, like the thousands that descend on Luxor every week. But I’m not. I didn’t come here on a flight from Cairo, nor am I taking a river boat up the NIle. I don’t have a return ticket to my home country and I’m not actually sure where I’m going next. But this information is both too much and too difficult to communicate whilst taking a public ferry for 3 minutes across the Nile River.
But I came to love that ferry. Sure, the boys and their boats suggesting that for just five pounds they’d jet me over in a motor boat. No waiting for the ferry to fill and the exclusivity of a private boat. But I’d miss the people. The Muslim women in their scarves carrying children or bags of produce and grains. I wouldn’t see the students with tattered notebooks, dull pencils and their giggles. I certainly wouldn’t see the patriarch and her large family securing nearly a whole bench next to me. The stories the wrinkles behind the veil covering much of her face tell. I wouldn’t smell the diesel oil or watch the ferry carefully jockey and barely miss the dozens of feluccas sailing up and down the river. No the ferry, for me, is not to be missed.
Love these salads in Egypt. Simple, clean and refreshing.
Cruising the Nile aboard my local ferry.
On the other side a persistent horse carriage pilot wants to give me a ride. “I’d rather walk.” He won’t let go of it. “Only five pounds he offers, a rate that for these guys is so ridiculously low that he’s either hoping to drag the potential customer to a tourist shop or will plead poverty and the need for food for the horse to try to wiggle more pounds from the customer. I rode one in Aswan and the driver pulled the “need for horse food “on me. I said, okay. “Then let’s go, I’ll go with you to the market and buy the horse some grass.” Didn’t happen. He wanted the cash. Fact is, the drivers rarely own the horse and carriage. Rather some magnate with a stable leases the horse and carriage to the drivers for a fee and/or commission.
This driver wants to ride me around the “traditional market”. After a bit I give in and take a ride to where I think is the “old and real” Luxor. Sure, we wandered down some streets where only locals might walk, but the reality is we were going to a “friend’s shop” who “had true artifacts” he could sell. Then under neath a dusty bench in a rusty and banged up metal box he pulled a couple figurines out and in classic showmanship blows the dusty off and cradles them so delicately in his hand, “shhhh, don’t let anyone see.” It’s all part of the game and the show. I press on and enjoy my evening in Luxor sans horse and carriage.
Ruins of Temple of Seti I
Colossi of Memnon