It’s Nice to be Nice

Ginette, Hamdy, and Mark.

The shits woke me up this morning at a decent time, so I went down to have breakfast and ran into some fellow tourist – apparently I’m not the only tourist here! Briefly talked with, Mark and Ginette, from Canada, and two lovely young ladies, Brynn and Christine, from the US. Later on Mark, personal trainer/healer, was regaling me with tales of various temples that I must experience, though I think some of the experience may be lost on me because I am not sensitive to the “energy” he was talking about. Ginette, kinesiologist/medium, was not feeling well, so Mark, Hamdy (their local friend/guide), and I went out for a walk and got some groceries. Along the way got some great advice on navigating Egypt and Luxor in particularMark and Ginette have nothing but good things to say about Hamdy – who’s company motto is “It’s nice to be nice” and who’s more than willing to accompany/guide/help me with anything I want or need – so I have a good feeling that I won’t be hassled anymore if I stick with him. He owns a feluca, so I’ll be able to get in some good sailing time on the Nile as well!

Ramses II Luxor Temple

Giant columns at Luxor Temple

Hamdy Damdy and Me

Sphinx Way

Our knowledgeable guide, Brynn, and Christine

Hamdy negotiated a price, EG£40 < CAD$7, on a flashy pair of Oakleys that are, as far as I can tell, authentic. I haven’t had any shades since I’ve been here, so I’m very grateful for them. Mark gave me some Imodium pills this morning too; it’s so nice to meet good people here finally who aren’t just trying to screw you. After lunch, coffee, and dropping Mark and Ginette off at the airport, just before sunset Hamdy and I toured Luxor Temple and Sphinx Way, which connects the Luxor and Karnak Temples in a three km long pilgrimage avenue lined on both sides with lion-sized sphinxes. How it usually works here is that the shop-owner pays the recruiter a commission on any sales for bringing in customers, and the shop prices are usually much higher for tourists than locals. But Hamdy said the way he prefers to work it, which seems more than fair to me, is he will get me the local price for everything without charging a commission, act as transportation, interpreter, guide, etc. and make sure that I’m completely taken care of, and then at the end of my trip I’ll take care of him by paying him what I think his services have been worth. Normally I would be wary of such an arrangement, but I was with Hamdy to see Mark and Ginette off and read their reference letter of praise for his services to them (which referred to him as an angel) for six weeks. So I feel pretty confident in the service Hamdy provides.

Queen Hatshepsut’s Temple, where the 70 day embalming and mummification process was carried out.

You’re not allowed to take pictures inside the Valley of the Kings, but I snapped a few without flash, to not damage the well preserved paint.

The Valley of the Kings holds 63 known burial chambers, including Tutankhamen’s, cut deep beneath a pyramid-shaped mountain on the west bank. The west bank was where they buried their dead, because that’s where the Sun would set and pass through the underworld only to be reborn in the East each day. The dead were believed to undertake the same journey.
Winged serpent that must be defeated by the dead on their journey towards eternal life.

Open room half way down the sloped ramp leading ~100m down towards the deepest burial chamber

Protective spells over the deepest burial chamber of the last king to be laid to rest in this particular tomb.

Sarcophagus lid
Inside of sarcophagus lid

The only thing is that the other night the staff called me down to meet with the girls about doing a trip to the west bank today, which I agreed to because they seem cool, and their guide was there all trying to sell me on shit and stuff. I was trying to convince the girls to ditch their guide and arrange the trip through Hamdy to save ourselves EG£600 and a hand-made, glow in the dark alabaster store shake down, but they weren’t going for it because they know the owner of the hotel who hooked them up with their guide. Then Hamdy showed up and things got tense and awkward because the guide and hotel staff obviously didn’t want “a street kid” around undercutting them. So long story short, I tried not to piss anyone off, Hamdy was cool about it and said do the trip and have a good time, the trip was really cool and we saw the Valley of the Kings and Queen Hatshepsut’s Temple, had free lunch and beers after with the girls (room and board is taken care of for them), forgot I had agreed to meet Hamdy at 3, ran into Hamdy, he thought I was bailing on him, smoothed things over and agreed to meet at 7 on his feluca. I think it’s all good now, except when I’m not with the girls the hotel staff treat me like shit, my AC mysteriously quite working, and the engineer to fix it still hasn’t shown up after inquiring about it multiple times for the past two days. So fuck em (if you’re reading this, no offense girls, you’re awesome!), when the girls leave tomorrow I’m gonna see if Hamdy can get me another hotel. A number of hotel receptionists keep forcefully harassing me to leave
a good review on tripadvisor; they will certainly be getting their
review. Although really, I guess I can’t complain for ~CAD$/night lol! Drama on my fucking holiday haha, no worries I anticipated this leg of the trip possibly being stressful.

If I suddenly stop posting here, find this man!

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6 thoughts on “It’s Nice to be Nice

  1. Cari M says

    The sights of Luxor are certainly awe-inspiring though it seems they are not experienced without encountering problems. Oh well, what is life without a little drama to keep things spicy? Hope the new hotel and Hamdy Damdy make for a great remaining week.

    Reply
  2. Lainie Sinclair says

    It sounds like you are on a trip of a lifetime. Stay safe and try to 'keep your cool' literally and figuratively. By the way the weather network predicts temps around +40 in BC and AB this summer July and August.

    Reply
  3. lmutch says

    Honestly Hamdy has already made Egypt feel like home for me and treated me like a brother, so grateful to have met him 🙂 I have been trying to get up early to avoid the heat as much as possible, should be used it for when I get back if it's gonna be a cooker there this summer.

    Reply
  4. Tiara Mutch says

    Yay Hamdy!

    Reply
  5. brynn Michaels says

    No offense taken, Landon!! I kind of figured that the staff wouldn't treat you so well, but hey at least it makes for a good story, right?

    Reply
  6. lmutch says

    Right on, it was totally fine, nice and cheap, and I wouldn't have met you girls, Mark, Ginette, or Hamdy if I didn't stay there!

    Reply

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