|Balcony of my new hotel!|
The other night I hit the light and sound show at Karnak Temple, 3km down the Sphinx Way from Luxor Temple. It was a full moon that night, and as darkness set in, a small group of us walked through the temple accompanied by sound effects such as chisel and hammer, narrative in the style of a 1970s Hanna-Barbera cartoon, and lights of different colours lighting up various segments of the temple. Throughout the show, intermittent bursts of not so distant small arms fire could be heard over the narration. When I asked Hamdy about this, he laughingly said that it was just sugarcane burning lol – apparently it’s commonplace – pretty sure it’s not sugarcane burning, or duck hunters, or fireworks…
|Looking down Karnak’s central row of colossal pillars at the rising full moon|
|Hatshepsut’s towering obelisks raised in honor of Amen Ra at Karnak Temple|
|Looking westward through Karnak Temple’s main gate|
|Reconstructing one of Karnak’s outer gates|
The next day Hamdy escorted me through the Karnak Temple during the day, the Luxor Museum, and the Mummification Museum. That evening we went out to a large outdoor coffee shop that had a playground inside it and gardens and tents. We had some sandwiches, drinks, and I smoked some apple shesha.
Today was a chill day. I took some down time this afternoon to just sit out on the deck beside the Nile and read, until it got too hot for me, then went back up to my room and had a nap. At 4pm Hamdy and Momen, a 17 year old who Hamdy is teaching to be a captain, sailed right up to my hotel in the Nile Paradise, and we embarked upriver towards the banana island. We went ashore there and Hamdy took me through the farms and explained how the bananas are cultivated and harvested and pointed out mango, fig, tea, and hibiscus trees. We then stopped in at his uncle’s property for tea with some of his family and a tour of the four story, three suite rental building that is currently under construction. Afterwards, we set sail upriver again while enjoying some sweet bananas fresh off the tree.
They tied off the sail and gave me the tiller for about half an hour! It was absolutely amazing to pilot such a lovely boat through the Nile on a strong breeze and a perfect day. We sailed up the west bank and back down the east bank until just after the sunset when they dropped me at my hotel. One of my dreams for this trip was to sail on the Nile, but there’s no way I could have imagined how completely incredible today was. Rarely does an actual experience live up to its anticipation, but today effortlessly surpassed all my expectations in every way 🙂
After a shower and fresh clothes, they picked me up on a 150cc, Honda knock-off, and helmetless the three of us raced down main roads, dodging cars, people, and other bikes, in the usual Egyptain manner, and then into narrow dirt alleyways where kids played football against buildings, feral cats prowled for their next meal, and women in hijabs sat talking on steps. We arrived at his families building, and while we waited and talked in the parlor room, Hamdy’s mother cooked us up the best meal I’ve had in Egypt: rice stuffed rooster, homemade bread, soup, stew, an array of various dipping sauces, pickled cucumbers, etc, served on a meter-wide aluminum platter atop a squat stool. We sat cross-legged on cushions and ate with our hands and by breaking off bread to scoop up the various platters. I felt truly honored to be shown such brotherly hospitality. Thank you so much Hamdy. I couldn’t ask for a more chill, helpful, fair, and kind friend to show me the true Egypt.