Journal: Sunday 5 October 1997
Another long and tiring journey to Egypt and less than three months since I was last here. I just couldn’t stay away. It was early October 1997 and I had come to Luxor again with two of my regular travelling companions, Robin and Lucy. We landed at Luxor airport at 4.30pm and after negotiating the free-for-all in the terminal we looked for a taxi into Luxor. This was not as easy as it sounds – when we left the airport building we were confronted with dozens of hopeful taxi drivers who tried to take our bags and rush us off to their cabs. We had managed to hang onto them so far, the porters already tried to grab the luggage and even though we had refused to let go were now asking for baksheesh and calling out to taxi drivers. But eventually we found a taxi and negotiated a reasonable price of LE20 for the drive to Luxor. The sun was setting over the Theban Hills as we drove into town and along the Corniche. I was in paradise!
The three of us had booked rooms in the Etap Hotel, now known as the Mercure, right on the Corniche opposite the Nile, with wonderful views across the river from the balcony. It was quite a big tourist hotel and very smart and the rooms were beautifully clean. The evening temperature outside was still warm at 90 degrees F. so we quickly dropped our bags and went out to the Amoun Restaurant near the bazaar for something to eat. The restaurant staff were full of smiles and welcomes, Luxor was buzzing with life and once more I felt like I had come home.