Today was a long day. We started early going to breakfast and then from the ship to the Valley of the Kings. We snoozed as best we could in the van. The van trip was all the more interesting because of an elderly man from Argentina whose father was from Syria accompanied us. He spoke no English and had problems hearing. I large amount of time was spent trying to communicate with him. His guide was to meet us at the Valley of the Kings. We did find out that he was 78. I hope to be out and about when 78, but to have a better method of booking travel. We figure that his travel agent screwed him up.
We arrived at the Valley of the Kings and then went to the tombs. Running the gauntlet at the Valley of the Kings, we had to pull Robert free from a determined seller of wares. We took the tomb tram to the tomb area. Not quite like the Disney World parking tram, but similar. No photographs were allowed in the tombs. However, I was able to use the same technique as in the Sistine Chapel, shoot from the hip. Good shots as it turned out. I did make pictures at the entrance to King Tut's tomb, but chose not to make the trip in for an extra Le 40. We saw Ramases VI, Ramases III and Setti II's tombs. We left the Valley of the Kings, but not before another stop at the WC and another tip. The guy at the WC decided he was the Doctor CaCa and a professor of the toilet. He even said this was his tomb. Funny guy, I took his picture.
We could not rescue Robert from the vendors this time. He got rooked into buying the black cat, dog and King Tut statues. He was a very willing person, because he actually bought two sets. I am sure that he overspent, but if he wanted the tourist junk who are we to say no. Romani got a little frustrated with him and wanted to get him back in the bus and back on schedule.
Next stop was an alabaster factory. Very interesting and made for good craft pictures. However, we bought nothing. The Indians made several purchases. Robert made one purchase. This was a tourist shop and the items while interesting seemed overpriced. I also looked at a statue of the god of writing, but it was peeling gold in the back and indeed was cheap tourist junk. I went and sat down and we waited. While doing this we all waited and waited. Touring with the Indians proved to be a wait and wait game. If they were not shopping, they were falling behind. Touring with two children was hard and not fun. Romani had little patience for them and well he should not have.
We then went to the temple of Hatepetimshu. She was a queen who would be King. (This is where the "accident" happened to the tourists in 1997. Accident is the word that they keep using. It was a sniper shooting. On top of the mountains 5 snipers open fired on the tourists in the open walk up to the temple. More than 20 were killed. Now there are soldiers on the mountain tops and soldiers or police everywhere the tourists go.) Much of the temple was destroyed by her successor. She was obliterated from the land as a heretic. Despite this attempt to expunge her, some of the monuments buried in the sand were actually preserved.
We have talked to several about the "accident". There were police there, but security was lax. This is not the case anymore. Security is tight everywhere. You just get used to seeing men with AK-47's or Uzis. There seem to be three types. Black outfit for special police, a white outfit for Tourism and Antiquities police and others in Kakhi outfits. Finally there are undercover agents at most sites and Arabs in traditional dress that live on site to provide 24 hour on site personnel. These people are just on site caretakers and provide minimum security for tourists, but security to protect the site. These are also the people that want to show you a special view or site and have their hand ready for a tip.
Kim was getting woozy and having a spell. We rode to Luxor from the Valley of the Kings. We arrived at the Presidential Nile Cruise Ship - The Legend. It was 12:30 and lunch was at 1:00. I went around the corner and got her a cold drink and we sat upstairs in the cool air conditioning in the bar area. Romani watched Kim while I got her drink. He could have arranged a bed for her, but she said that it would be better to sit. We went onto lunch and had a good meal. I had my PB&J that I made the night before. Kim ate the ship buffet food. I think that the food had something to do with the spells. I don't think it made her sick in the normal way, but did affect her system.
We ate with the Indians because Robert had been returned to the ship in Esna. He had not booked the Luxor and Karnak extension. He had not been offered the trip and Romani could not get Ayman on the phone to get authorization to have him continue on the trip. The Indians were pleasant to talk with. They were headed to Israel next. I would not be comfortable with going there, but would love to make that trip. He asked a lot of questions about cruising as they had never been on a cruise. They live near San Francisco and could easily be on a trip from Seattle to Alaska. He was interested in the Mediteranean and Alaska. We finished lunch after waiting a long time on them.
We were soon off to Luxor and Karnak. Kim was feeling a little better, but still not great. The ship we had lunch on was anchored less than 1 block from the Sheraton where we would stay the next night.
I talked with Romani about Abydos and Dindar. He suggestion was to go to Dindar as the painting was better on the reliefs and skip Abydos (more temples). I was feeling that $135 was too much to pay for the trip even though it was a police convoy type deal. It would start at 6:00 and end about 6:00. This would leave little time for enjoying the hotel and relaxing and mean I would have about 2 ½ hours before having to pay $33 to go to the light show. Total cost would $168 and make for a long day. I just did not want to do this.
We arrived at Luxor which was just a short ride from the ship. I soon realized that I could get a cab for the light show. The light show ticket at Karnak was only $6 bucks. I would ask about the price to go to Dindar and then do the other on my own. I would not tell the tour company as this would make them angry and bring a lecture about safety, etc.
Luxor is a site that has many interesting features including the Sphinx corridor that used to stretch to Karnak. It also has a Mosque that was built in one of the temples. Several good statues are at Luxor and I listened to the commentary and took photos. We then got the call from Ayman about the tour. It would be $80 to go to Dindar. It was still expensive, but I did not think I could do this myself. I booked this tour and this meant he would pick us up at 6:00 am at the ship in Esna and transfer us to the hotel. He would arrange an early check in for Kim and I would immediately go on the tour at 7:30 am. Kim would get some rest and I would return at about 1:00.
We took the Indians back to the Legend in Luxor. They were moving ships so that they could go to the light show that evening. We then went back to Esna to the ship. This was a ride of about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Kim rested in the van as best as she could. We got her in the room so that she could sleep. She did not go to dinner. I went out to the market to get a couple of items - a scarf for Noel and to replace the perfume bottle that had a bad top. I bought one other bottle because the vendor changed the top without a hassle. I had no problems walking to the bazaar and got back to the ship a little after 8:00. I went to the dining room and Romani was at our table. We talked a little more about the cabs and arrangements for tomorrow. He just told me to be careful and smart. He meant that I needed to ask at the hotel for a good driver, arrange the price in advance, have him wait for me at Karnak, to have his cab number and phone number.
Robert came to dinner. Robert had been outside talking to the locals again and getting used to the culture. He had mentioned that he was interested in the black receptionist at the Basma Hotel. We thought he was just infatuated with her. He had asked Romani about her, but it seemed just curiosity. Wrong. He was really hooked on her. She had given him her cell phone and he had called several times to talk to her. He was talking about coming back to see her and maybe get engaged. We then realized he was trying to get a crash course on the culture. We had a really good meal and conversation. I had tipped Romani earlier in the day. Robert only gave a couple of dollars. Romani told me that the Indians had not tipped him at all. He really expected this from working with them in the past.
The dinner staff sent Kim's food down to her while I ate. I had tomato soup. Kim did say that this was the best meal on the ship. It was also the first meal that was not a buffet. I don't think that is a coincidence. I then got the movie McHale's Navy as the choice at the desk for the evening. I went onto pack us for tomorrow's checkout. I spent time taping the fragrance bottles and getting them stored in the cooler standing up. I also got the camera fitlets cleaned and the memory card downloaded, battery's charged and some catchup on the writing. It was time to go to bed because tomorrow would be an early start and breakfast had been arranged for 5:30 am for us.