Journal: Wednesday 13 January 2010
I was up at a reasonable time this morning and finished my packing before going to breakfast because today we were flying down to Luxor. When I got back to my room the cleaners were there so I took my bags out and went down to wait in the lounge. Sam joined me later and we ordered a taxi for 12.30pm. We got our bags loaded onto the taxi and set off for the airport in what should have been plenty of time. We hadn’t however, reckoned on the bad traffic and it took us half an hour just to get out onto the Sharia Rameses to Abbassiya, sitting in the back of the car being nearly asphyxiated by the fumes that hung so thick on the air that we could taste the petrol. By the time we pulled up in front of the airport’s domestic terminal it was 2.0pm and our flight was due to leave at 2.20pm. We rushed through security and dashed over to the check-in desk, but the EgyptAir staff wouldn’t let us on the flight because we had arrived so late. After a lot of haggling we managed to get onto the next flight at 4.00pm but we had to pay for new tickets. Well, it couldn’t be helped but next time we will know to leave much more time for the traffic hold-ups.
Eventually we were airborne and it was a lovely flight down the east bank of the Nile to Luxor. I love this flight that lasts only about 45 minutes. We could see the whole Nile Valley laid out below us. To the east the wadis formed by dried-up river beds made the desert look like the surface of a walnut and the distant line of jagged eastern mountains with their strange shapes were turning red and gold as the sun began to set.
We landed in Luxor and had a very quick and smooth run through the airport. Domestic arrivals is very different from the hassle of international. We were met by a lady from ‘Egypt Property Sales’, who was Sam’s contact when arranging our accommodation. Rashad, who owns the property with his wife, drove us to the ‘Villa Mut’, our home in Luxor for the next couple of weeks.
The villa is very well decorated and very clean and seems to have most of the things we need. It was built in 2008 and probably its main point of favour is the fantastic view from the roof terrace that overlooks the whole of the precinct of the Temple of Mut, which is just to the south of the main part of Karnak Temple. We settled in and soon Abdul arrived with his brand new car that Sam has arranged to drive while we are here and bless him, he went off to do some shopping for us, at least for the basics for breakfast. For many years Abdul has been our driver, Mr Fixit and Sam’s travel partner when she takes groups to Egypt, helping to smooth the way through countless unexpected problems. He is also a good friend. Sam and I didn’t go out to eat as we were very tired, quite strange as we hadn’t really done anything all day except sit around. I tried to connect to the promised internet and although I was picking up the wireless hub I couldn’t get onto the web. Later I phoned home to check how things were and how the weather is in England now. I’m glad I’m here and not still in the big freeze.