“Templed Out” in Luxor

From Aswan I took a taxi to Luxor that stopped at two famous archaeological sites along the way, the total journey taking about eight hours.  I know what you’re thinking, whoa, Jill taking a taxi?!?  Well, it was a shared ride with three other people and it only cost about $12 each.  Once again, Egypt is cheap and because tourism is down, people are willing to bargain just to get the work.  And by the way, it’s some sort of fad in Egypt to have fur seat covers and a piece of fur lining the dashboard.  Not sure why, but it definitely soaks up the smoke and makes for a very smelly ride.  Anyway, one of the stops was at Kom Ombo temple.  The temple looked pretty similar to the rest I have already seen, but what set this apart was the Crocodile Museum that was included with admission.  This museum was relatively small, but very informative and very interesting.  It’s crazy to me that this tiny out of the way museum had more information than the whole of the world-renowned Egyptian Museum.  But anyway, the Egyptians mummified crocodiles in honor of the crocodile god, Sobek.  As the sign pointed out, they bedazzled the mummified animals.  Unfortunately, I didn’t see any jewels on the mummies, but I can just imagine the tv commercial for the Bedazzler exemplifying their work on the crocodiles sitting next to the decorated jean jackets…

The “thing” to do in Luxor is take a hot air balloon ride over the West Bank (which includes the famous Valley of the Kings), so I felt obliged to take part.  It was worth it; seeing the sunrise over the Nile from the balloon was pretty cool.  I also saw a few temples and some other cool things which I can’t identify…  Word of warning to anyone who goes on a balloon ride in the future, wear a hat.  When they fire up the balloon, which happens throughout the entire ride, you are only a few feet away from a burst of fire and it gets VERY hot.  There were a couple of times I needed to double check that my hair hadn’t been singed.

Luxor consists of the East Bank and the West Bank.  Both of which contain a total of dozens of temples and tombs.  By this point in my journey through Egypt I was “templed” out, with nearly all of them looking the same to my untrained eye.  And because each one has a separate admission fee, I elected to only visit a few of the recommended ones.  Karnak Temple being the most famous, because numerous movies have been filmed there including:  Transfomers, Lara Croft Tomb Raider, The Mummy Returns, and the James Bond movie, The Spy Who Loved Me.  Well, this is according to Wikipedia, I haven’t actually seen any of those movies personally, so I can’t verify that information.  It was a pretty massive complex, only some of which is open to the public.  I wandered around and unfortunately encountered the usual dose of touts offering to “show” you something cool, which I would have undoubtedly found myself, and then demanding a tip in return for their “efforts”.  The frustration of the situation got to me and regrettably I left after not very long.  But I’ll write more about the general culture of Egypt towards tourists later, because believe me, I have plenty to say…

Categories: Middle East | 1 Comment

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One thought on ““Templed Out” in Luxor

  1. Hannah Rhiew

    Jill I love this site! When in the unknown future I decide to overcome my fear of heights and take an adventure on a hot air balloon ride, i’ll remember to bring a hat thanks to your adventures! 🙂

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