Sunday, May 4, 2008

Goodbye Cairo, Hello Luxor

On Thursday, I woke up with a terrible stomach ache that wouldn't go away. We were planning on going to the Coptic museum that morning, but we decided to take it easy at the swimming pool and then go in the afternoon if I was up to it. We all ended up taking a really long nap after swimming, though, and we stayed in the room the rest of the day, including a room service dinner.

Friday, we flew to Luxor. The domestic side of the Cairo airport is, well, seedy. Like all the airports we've been to in the Middle East, you have to have your luggage scanned before you even get to the ticket counter. Well, after we got checked in, Brad decided to go get some cash from an ATM. In order to get there, he had to go out of the secure area, but the guard didn't want him to go until he told him what he was doing. When he came back through, the guard wouldn't let him back in--he actually physically stood in his way gesturing and making noises in the Egyptian way--until Brad gave him a little tip. Since he had just come from the ATM, the smallest bill he had was a 50 ($10), and you know that that guard had to know that. When we finally were called to board, 15 minutes after the plane was supposed to take off, we all got on a bus and literally drove across the street to the plane, about 30 feet. Everyone on the bus laughed. It was ridiculous.

The difference between Luxor and Cairo is amazing. If you ever go to Egypt, I recommend a short stay in Cairo (a day or two) just to see the pyramids, and then a long stay in Luxor. There is so much to see there, and it is much more relaxed and beautiful. And, if you don't have children with you, take the Nile Cruise. We heard wonderful things about it all week. But we enjoyed where we were with the kids. The Sofitel Karnak really was a resort, with beautiful landscaping, a large pool, several restaurants, attentive staff, childrens' programs, nightly entertainment, etc. (And we got a good deal on
Here are some pictures in and around the hotel:

Looking back at the poolside restaurant, where Brad was waiting for me:

The Nile:

Catie looking at the Nile:

Some of the beautiful landscaping along the Nile. I knew Brad was waiting for me, so even though I realized after I took the picture that (duh!) the pole was in it, I didn't snap another one. :)More later on our time in Luxor....

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