Caleches or hantour is a horse and carriage in Luxor. There are many drivers who will hassle you into getting into their carriage. Our group had just finished watching the Light and Sound show at Karnak Temple and we were all deciding what to do. One of the ladies wanted to go for a caleches ride but not alone. I decided to go with her. Our tour leader told us to only give him 10LE, no more, as it was the agreed price. When he dropped us off at the hotel he tried to argue with us that it was per person, not per ride. We didn't argue, we didn't give him another 10LE, we walked into the hotel - leaving him to accept he was only getting the 10LE that was agreed to.
A major annoyance in Luxor is the truly astonishing number of street vendors selling knock off 'designer' sunglasses and watches. I personally use neither: I don't like the distortion of colour that sunglass produce, and I don't like bangles, especially those designed to signal affluence. Knock-offs are simply pathetic. IMO. But even if you had a diamond-encrusted Patek Phillipe on each arm, Armani sunglasses over your face and a pair by Versace worn like an Alice band, you would not be safe from these lost souls, whose persistence is truly mind-boggling. The usual technique of 'you gotta walk, don't look back doesn't work: on one occasion, after increasingly vhmant protestations of La Shukran (no thanks), La! (NO!) escalating to MISH!! (enough!) I actually had to confront one person, put my face about 20 cm from his, and say (very softly) If you don't F*** off right now I am going to cut you.
To continue the Peter Tosh theme, I am not like a stepping razor and am not remotely dangerous, and the only knife I carry is the Swiss Army, and could only get away with this because you are rarely more than ten metres away from a member of the Tourist Police in Luxor, but it was a most unpleasant encounter and left me feeling soiled.
Actually I did end up buying some sunglasses. I was hanging out in the cafe where I had established the fact that I was not going to pay full tourist rate for coffee, and got into conversation with a pair of suglass wallahs. Life for them is tough: there is a lot of competition, maybe 150 of them. egoistical I might be, but I have a small head, I bought a charming pair of fluorescent plastic wraparounds designed for a ten year old girl. I had to hack away a lot of plastic to accommodate my nose, and thought they looked very cool. Did the trick, because to an Egyptian eye they made me look barking mad......
If you suffer from low blood pressure as I do then you need to avoid karkade juice at all costs. Karkade (pronounced carkaday) is a popular drink in Egypt. It is made from the hibiscus flower and it lowers the blood pressure. I was given a glass in a restaurant and within 15 minutes I felt the same as I feel if I give blood or go up a high mountain - light headed and sick and about to pass out. In fact I was so bad that I was violently sick without any warning and covered everyone and everything in front of me. The thing is as soon as I started feeling ill the restaurant owner asked if I had low BP and when I said yes he started giving me salted olives and water. If only he'd asked me BEFORE I had the drink!
By the way - it tastes lovely so if you have normal or high blood pressure - drink away.
We took a taxi back to our hotel from Karnak after the Son et Lumière. Everything was fine until our taxi wanted to turn left at the traffic lights. On our right was a big coach also turning left. When the lights turned green both taxi and coach moved forward but the coach cut the corner so much that he scraped the front wing and headlight of our taxi. At this the taxi driver got out and started screaming at the coach driver who just ignored him and set off again - his coach was barely scratched and he probably didn't own the vehicle unlike our taxi driver. Enraged, the taxi man caught up with the coach by traveling on the inside of the road in parallel with the coach driver- in other words on the wrong side of the road. He only just managed to swerve in time before he would have suffered a head on collision with the oncoming car.
The coach driver meanwhile completely ignored all of the ranting and invectives shouted at him by our guy. I was quite glad we didn't understand Arabic at this point.
Eventually our driver calmed down and we arrived back safely at our hotel.
We felt sorry for the guy and gave him a hefty tip for his pains but as he drove off I must say his taxi didn't look very different. It was already pretty beaten up to start with and one more dent was hardly noticeable.
Don't give local kids money or candy. If you give them money they may skip school to spend it.
Instead, give them pencils or ink writing pens. (sounds corny) Pencils and pens are difficult to get in some local schools. Parents will appreciate the fact that their children didn't miss a day of school and are not ruining their teeth with candy
Some of these guys are already married! Egypt is a conservative country and it is illegal to be intimate with a man that you are not married to. Some of these men may say that they want to "marry you". If you hear this they are probably talking about an Ofri Marriage.
Orfi is a simple piece of paper that is signed by the man , you and 1-2 witnesses. It is not a legal marriage, but this piece of paper will keep the authorities from giving you heat if you are ever caught alone together. If this man is really serious, he will be willing to get to know you, it will not be about what you can buy him, give him, or do for him.
Well, this is something the most of you already know. Avoid any contact with a tap water. No ice, no veg or fruits if you can't peal or cook them..
But if you get sic follow this advice please!!!
First day when you arrive in Egypt go to any pharmacy and buy ENTOCID ( pronounce- entoseed ) tablets. The pack of 8 costs only 2 LE . On the first sighn of sicknes drink at once 2 tablets and after take them for few days, one in the morning and one in the evening. (although the problems are most likely to stop in few hours after first two)
Belive me it is working. The advice was given to us from Serbian guide who lives there for last 8 years.
I have to put this tip on all of my Egypt pages.
Frst of all, they are maniacs on the road ! The lucky thing is that they usually drive very old cars so they can't mannage the very high speed, but still.....
Now, how to use taxi all over the Egypt:
1.Agree the deal before entering the vhiacle
3.Pay trough the window after leaving the car
4.If they still complain, just walk away
5.In extreme cases just tell you are going to call tourist police (this one will surely help)
I dont like repiting the tips but I have to put this one on every of my Egypt pages
It may seem obvious, but be very careful what you eat and drink.
We thought we were safe as as only ate in our hotel, but almost everyone succumbed to tummy bugs and sickness at sometime over the week. Hygiene is just not part of daily life over there, so you need to take precautions.
Basically don't eat anything that is not hot and freshly cooked. Salad is dangerous, and never ever have ice in drinks. Only bottled water with the seal unbroken.
It has seemed unusual to me the attitude of the team of our boat and Egyptians in general to luggage and things of tourists. Our bags and suitcases have been unloaded from the bus by porters and carried to the hall of our ship through decks of the several ships standing at the mooring.
The luggage waited for us there several hours while we had dinner and went on our excursion to the Western bank of the Nile. I instinctively was looking out some times around my bag among other bags and suitcases, being afraid of loosing it. The idea that somebody can steal the bag was coming to me several times, but the next days I have understood, that in this Islamic country the larceny or do not exist in general, or practically is not widespread.
In Egypt there aren't steals! Being on a deck and sunbathing or bathing, I left my camera and video camera, phone and hours on a couch. Coming back, I always found them in safety.
It's not a danger but more of a warning...where ever you go in Egypt make sure you take some toilet paper. ;) I guess around half of the places we went didn't have any toilet paper...some (mostly where you paid to enter) did have toilet paper though. Don't expect too much of the toilets in Egypt and you won't be grossed out... ;)
Just so you are aware...you cannot take photos inside most temples and if you try, you could get caught...we saw plenty of people having their cameras taken off them for trying to take photos inside. They were kicked out of the temple and handed back the cameras outside.
We asked our doctors about vaccinations for our trip to Egypt. We were told that we would need Hep A, Hep B, Typhoid, Polio, Diptheria and Tetanus vaccinations as well as Malaria tablets (mostly because we were also going to Thailand).
Make sure you see your doctor very early (at least six months before travelling) because some shots require more than one dose...
When you visit the Valley of the Kings don't try to take photos inside the tombs...you almost certainly will be caught! If you do get caught you will loose your camera (until you get out of the tomb at least) and either the film could be pulled from your camera or you could have to pay a 'fine' (or tip - whichever way you see it...hehe). We saw a guy who had his camera taken off him...he didn't look too happy...
Im sure youve heard this expression before and may expect its inevitable. Please be aware and careful what you eat and drink at all times. I stayed on 5 star cruise/hotel. Everyone on board came down but I was laid up for a week with acute Bacillus Dysentry, believe me very very unpleasant. Heed the warnings and act swiftly.
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Exiting the train station in Luxor, I took a long walk to the hotel I chose few days before, took me...more