Disclaimer: All the names and faces have been changed to protect the innocent…
Bugger that! There were no innocents in this story, we were all as guilty as hell, of having a good time, laughing too much, drinking not enough… you get the picture.
Not being able to go to Spain this year and visit Jose the surly barman and all the others, we decided, after careful thought, to go to Egypt and cruise down the Nile. This started off badly due to the fact that the flight was dry. Egyptair are muslim so no booze! Nevertheless, we survived the trip without a glass of red and arrived at Luxor airport where the process of starting to separate us from our money began. Just 20 quid for the entry visa this time.
On the coach and try and figure out just what the rules of the road are in this country. It seems that after dark it is optional to use headlights, if your vehicle has them. Occasionally, and at random intervals, you will flash your headlights for no apparent reason. Egypt is starting to confuse me!
We reached our cruise ship(?) late at night so didn’t get to see anything of Luxor till sunrise the next morning, but I must admit that the view was stunning.
Having never been out of Europe the baking sun was a bit of a shock to the system, as was the boiled horse that spent most of the day sunbathing, posing, pouting and generally thrusting her sunburnt chest at any man that ventured onto the sun deck of the MS Darakum. I think that she was French, and boy, did she love herself! Strangely, rather than the women on the boat getting bitchy about her it was the men that made more derogatory comments.
From the minute we stepped off the boat we learnt that the locals have one aim in life. And that aim is to separate any tourist and his money. The most used word in Egyptian is ‘baksheesh’ which I think means ‘Hello good sir, would you please empty your pockets of anything of value and give it to me or I will follow you to the ends of the Earth pestering you until you can take no more.’ They will try and sell you papyrus bookmarks, scarab bracelets, scarves, anything that they think a European would want to take home and throw in the bin. If you take a photograph of one of the monuments and they think that they may be in it they want paying. As a tourist your most used phrase will be ‘la shokran’ or no thankyou, even though, after a couple of days you want to say ‘f^<$ off!’
The guy above decided that I would take his photo with Mrs Giant68. He wanted paying for the privilege of course, which I duly did. He had a gun.
Next time I will tell you of the towel animals, the sights and sounds, the food, the waiter that looked like benny from ‘The Mummy’ and the friends we made. But now I am just going to look back through the photos I took and remember the really fantastic holiday that we had cruising down the Nile on the Nile on the MS Darakum.