It's been about a week since my last post. I don't really have any exciting or funny stories to write about, so I might just post some random observations that I've had about Egypt so far.
As I mentioned last time, similarities about being a tourist here and in South East Asia are mind blowing, but not as bad. The traffic rules (or lack thereof), fresh fruit juice stands on every corner, but most importantly, you still get seen as a walking wallet, but the shopkeepers and touts are more friendly and less aggressive (there's no one randomly shouting 'Buy Something' when you go near their stall). The Egyptians are a bit sneakier in luring you into their shop. My favourite was a guy who asked me to write a postcard in English to his friend in London who's just had a baby. To thank you he gives you a piece of papyrus with your name written in Heiroglyphics and while you sit in his shop waiting for the paint to dry, out comes the souveneirs you may like to buy.
Some of the temples and tombs I have visited have been incredible. Abu Simbel, a temple for Ramses II, complete with 4 statues of himself 20m high guarding the entrance and looking over the Nile. The tomb of Tuthmosis III, hidden high up in a crevice of the Valley of the Kings, twisting and turning its way into the mountain. However, while it's really interesting when you're there, I'm not really getting that awe struck 'memory burn' moments from them. Looking back at last years trip, I realised the moments that are etched in my memory weren't when I visited specific sights, but more random stuff - stepping out of the subway in New York for the first time, or taking a motorcycle through the back streets and fields of Hue. Something to remember as I plan the rest of this trip.
Met the worst American tourist ever. There were five of us who booked a minivan to do the West Bank of Luxor. It was hot and it had been a long couple of hours and the group decided not to visit the valley of the Queens as there weren't many tombs open to the public and they weren't that different to the tombs in the Valley of the Kings. However he still wanted to drive all the way to the car park and take photos from the gate (or the road leading up to the tombs) so he could say he'd been there. He continually asked questions and never listened to the answer, continually held everyone up while he bargained for souveneirs he didn't want just to see how low he could get the price and continually name dropped other countries he visited. This is where clichÃ©s come from.
Took a 2 night cruise on a Felucca down the Nile. Highlight so far, totally relaxing and chilled out. Read the new Harry Potter - very impressed, lots of stuff from the earlier books comes together so well, although there's too much exposition at the end (albeit necessary). Shared the boat with 2 Canadians and 5 Yanks - complete opposites of the guy above, thank God!
Kerbs are more than double in height they are back home. Dunno why, it never rains here except on the coast.
There are piles of rocks/bricks/pavers randomly everywhere along any footpath. Again, dunno why.
Every Egyptian has a good sense of humour. Unfortunately it's the sense of humour of a ten year old. For example, at the mummy section in the Egyptian Museum I showed the guard my ticket. He pointed at the ticket and said 'You!'. I nodded, 'yes, this is my ticket', he points again with a smile, You!'. Then I realised he was pointing at the shrivelled Mummy head on the ticket and implying it was me. Har de har har.
I'm running hot and cold on the food. The traditional stuff is nice, fuul is like refired beans and felafel is popular, but if I eat one more greasy meat meal with pita bread and hummus I'll scream.
You need to be a couple to travel in Egypt, solo travellers are scarce on the ground.
I wondered last year why there were so few French people travelling, all I met were 2 blokes in Norway and a group of 4 in New York who blatantly ate everyone else's food in the hostel. Now I know it's because the entire country takes their holiday in Egypt. Let me just say the stereotypes are proving themselves to be accurate.
I've only got 2 days less in Egypt, currently on the Red Sea snorkelling, drinking mango juice and looking over to Saudi Arabia. I'll then hop on another plane to Morocco, slowly making my way toward inevitability (Mr. Anderson). Be good everyone.