Saturday, January 29, 2011

Banana Island

Luxor is known for being swarmed with careches (horse drawn carriages). So, being in the low season, we haggled a desperate careche driver down to an ultimate price and spent a couple hours taking in the morning heat and dropping our jaws as our careche guided us around the dreamy ruins of the Luxor and Karnak Temples.

Entrance strip to the Luxor Temple

The afternoon found us leisurely rowing a felucca down the Nile, stopping at Banana Island for a delicious banana meal from the island's friendly locals.

A local on the island watering his banana fields

The return journey was of course timed to the sunset - a brilliant ending to a perfect day

Stranded in Coptic Cairo

After our camel adventure, we went off to the nearest train station to book our train beds for a twelve hour overnighter to Luxor. We were horrified to realize that there were no tickets available -with or without beds- for the next three days. This caused a problem, as our hotel was already booked for the next night in Luxor, and we were flying from the Luxor airport to Turkey in two days.

This dilemma led to numerous hours (which overlapped to the next morning) of arguing, arm swinging, prayer and bribery in the filthy third-world train station, in order for us to finally get tickets to our destination. For the full story including all of the intense action, you will have to ask me in person.

Following our triumph in the station, we had a few hours to kill before heading South.

Our driver raced us over to the old Coptic area of Cairo to wander the streets and check out a few old churches.