Jul 15, 2005
The touts in Aswan weren't so bad. In Luxor, they're a nightmare.
As you walk along the waterfront the hassle is constant. Here is a typical conversation:
- Felucca? No.
- Tomorrow? No.
- Why not? Not interested.
- Some other time? No.
- Okay, how about tomorrow?
As soon as that conversation ends, five feet down the road, another tout will attach himself to you, and the questions start again.
In Sudan the people were amazingly honest and generous. I felt I could leave my camera on a table, come back the next day, and still find there the next day. Though actually, someone would probably go through great effort to search you out and return it to you. People paid for my bus tickets on a regular basis - they wouldn't let me pay.
Luxor seems to be the opposite. Lying and trying to cheat tourists seems like the default behavior. Some boatmen insisted that I join them for tea. Then after they failed to convince me to go on a boat ride with them, they tried to get me to pay 5 LE for the tea. They feel that tourists are stupid, and try to exploit them whenever they can.
As you travel the world, you see quite a bit of prostitution. Parts of Asia are famous for fat European and American men sleeping with young Asian girls. Here in Egypt, for the first time, I'm finding the opposite. Here you see lots of European women who are fat, ugly, or old are (pick two) with young Egyptian guys.
That's the bad. Let's talk about the good now. Right on the waterfront is the Luxor Temple, which was built more than 3000 years ago. Two huge Colossi of Ramses II flank the entrances. Beside one statue is a beautiful obelisk covered in carved hieroglyphics. There used to be a second obelisk, but it has been removed, and installed in the Place de la Concorde in Paris, France.
It's that time again. Time for Vegas vs. ... The World.
For those of you who don't know, I've been on a quest to visit every place in the world, which has a corresponding theme hotel in Vegas.
It's a pretty cool hotel - a stylish shiny black pyramid with a huge beam of light shooting out of it, up into the sky. As you drive over the ridge, coming into Vegas, the hotel is one of the first things that catches your eye.
Luxor Egypt is probably the most Vegas like of the World sites. It's certainly full of tourists and touristy things. There are museums, shows, felucca rides, carriage rides, etc.
But I've got to give it some credit. As the sun sets, the Luxor Temple right along the Nile is magical.
Another point for the world.
There is one final experience that I can't help sharing. While walking through town, I see a pretty young girl wearing a black burkha come out of a lingerie shop. That's something you don't expect to see. Her face was showing, but her entire body and hair was covered. Mystery is sexy. I couldn't help but wonder what she was wearing underneath that burkha.
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