18.12.2011 - 18.12.2011 26 °C
We were able to negotiate a 7:30 start with our guide after he suggested 7:00. This was well received and after another big breakfast we were off to see the Valley of the Kings, on the west bank.
Wow, what a sight. Unfortunately we were not allowed to take cameras in, but wandering through these tombs is quite incredible. The detailed artwork that tells stories about the person and the process of getting to the after-life look as though they were painted yesterday, not 3 - 4,000 years ago. We paid extra to see Tutankhamun's tomb and although it was nowhere near as spectacular as the others, due to the fact he died suddenly and so young, his mummified body sits in the burial chamber. You can get within 2 feet of his tiny body. The tomb of Ramses III is full of color and the corridor in to the burial chamber is quite deep and long.
We then had to visit an alabaster shop where they show you how they make the articles and the difference between fake and genuine products. And golly, are people all over you to sell you their products. At the Valley of the Kings they were like flies, and the moment your eyes make contact with their product, they will follow you for miles. It is possible that your eyes may make contact with their product when they shove it in your face, but I was told that I make eye contact with them too much, I should totally ignore them. Easier said than done. I found the best way was to buy a product early and use this as your Egyptian Aeroguard. Not that saying, "I already have one" is a valid excuse not to buy one from the next guy!
This guy Mahmood, a very good friend of mine, followed me around the place for 30 minutes. I would go down in a tomb and the first thing I would see would be Mahmood saying, "200 pound, 200 pounds" for a book on Egypt....bloody hell he was driving me bonkers, even though he was a very good friend of mine. In the end I got the book for 150 (around $25 of real money), gave him 200 but he didn't have change. He gave me all the books he had and then went running around looking for change. Louisa thought I had bought the pile of books so I decided to reverse the tables and started nagging the vendors to buy a book from me. I asked for 5 pounds and the cheeky blighters haggled me and said "3"!
After we were chased into our cars, we then went to the temple of Deir El-Bahari (1480 BC) and yes, it is another magnificent structure built out of a cliff. This temple was built by Queen Hotchickensoup, who herself is a king and buried in the Valley of the Kings. The fence around it that was built to keep the rabbits out could not be seen.
I know I said yesterday that I had solved the riddle of "How much for the little girl?", but there now appears to be some confusion. Today at the temple, I was offered 2 chickens and 5kg of bananas for Jacinda by a very nice local gentlemen (who by the way, tried to sell me books that I already had in my hand). At first this deal appeared to be out of the market, but the chickens were big and in good health. I couldn't afford to give this deal up (I still had Jessica who could get me a few camels), so I accepted. Jacinda was last seen running in the general direction of Cairo.
We then went to the Valley of the Queens and once again, it was really good, but a tad below the standard set by the kings. We visited 3 tombs and 2 of these were beautifully laid out, one with a mummified feotus! We managed to piss off two local gentlemen who thought they were adding value to our tour by pointing out the bleeding obvious in the paintings or fanning us with a small piece of cardboard. They were actually hindering our experience by constantly talking and dragging us on before we were ready. Of course, when you exit the tomb they put their hand out but we didn't have small change so kept walking. Lucky I know very little Arabic.
Back to the boat and we took off up the Nile at 13:30. Very pleasant to be on our way but Luxor is a very nice spot with some very nice people.