When we were reaching Luxor, the sun started going down. Time to time, happy, local people were trying to stop us and invite for a common meal. We never used their offer as it wouldn’t be fair. We could eat all day, while them not really. (It seems that during the Ramadan, in some places, local people like together break a fast. They set up tables, chairs just along the road and prepare food and drinks for everyone, who is nearby – especially drivers. Just after sunset everybody can take something to drink and eat and in groups enjoy first meal and beverage before last dawn).
When we finally drove into Luxor it was totally dark. We didn’t have any accommodation planned, so we were just driving around looking for some cheap accommodation. Suddenly our attention was attracted by backlit colonnade. We drove closer and we saw the beautiful Luxor Temple. We parked Rusty near the road and we get off to take some photos of that majestic structure. Few moments later a policeman came and said that we are not allowed leaving our vehicle in the place it was parked. That policeman was actually very nice. He didn’t want to fine us; he just came to warn us. This warning actually turned into seriously nice conversation. The young officer actually was living in Poland for some time, he was studying over there for a while and he knew some polish language. Surpassingly, it was a nice unexpected meeting. He gave us his phone number and told us to call him if we need any help or assistance.
Happy Land Hotel…. No, thank you I will stay away
After that great chat, we seriously started looking for a place to sleep. It was so noisy and overcrowded around that we got lost in our minds. We took our Lonely Planet Guide and looked through their budget accommodation in Luxor. We decided to try “their pick” and set GPS to the Happy Land Hotel…The name of that hotel was so optimistic…, but in real life wasn’t. First of all, we couldn’t find the street or a sign of the place, but someone finally showed us the building. Then, the hotel outside didn’t look interesting, Charlie went inside and stairway wasn’t convincing either. And last part reception – that part looked much better and the oldish guy sitting behind the desk also seemed to be nice.
The conversation started:
Charlie: “Salaam alaikum, I am looking for a cheap room”
The guy: “Yes, we have a nice room, with mini bar and air condition, good price, good price!”
Ch: “How much?”
G: “Good price, 80 Egyptian Pounds…”
Charlie smiled and said to him politely: “ No sir, we don’t need mini bar or air condition, we would like to a really cheap room and only for one night…”
Plus he told him our story about travelling through Africa, travelling on a low budget and so on…
The guy was not interested in listening what Charlie was saying. Suddenly, his attitude changed extremely. He stopped pretending a normal receptionist and became a full of aggression person. He stood up and started yelling half in English half in Arabic. He was PUSHING Charlie OUT OF THE DOOR and in one moment he did what Charlie had never expected. The Egyptian guy SPAT AT HIM and CALLED HIM AN ISRAELI BASTARD.
Charlie didn’t want to spend there any minute longer, and he quickly came back to Rusty. The old man was following him for a little while and the last words we had heard from him, before we drove off were: “….Bastard…You have a car and you want cheap…”
I think I don’t have comment that situation…Well angry, tired and hungry we needed to find another place to stay, but in Luxor after dusk everything looks similar. We couldn’t find any place at logical price. Finally, Charlie asked taxi driver for help. The guy directed us to the cheapest hotel in Luxor and probably even in Egypt!!! We don’t remember the name and street of that place (and Even Google map doesn’t show it), but it was very close to the Luxor train station. (Photo below).
The Cheapest hotel in Luxor…or even in Egypt
The room we got was very, very basic (Shame, we don’t have photos). It had 4 wall, 2 very used beds and a working fan in the ceiling. It had small but nice balcony and old, wooden shutters. The most basic of basics. But what could you expect for 2 USD/ room? Luckily just on the opposite side of the street, there was secured car park and we could leave our Rusty there. Ironically, parking for our van was more expensive than our hotel. The parking was huge, people working there nice and we paid 4 USD/night. The hotel had quite interesting neighborhood , however every day at around 6 or 7 am there was a car driving around the are with gas bottles. To inform other people that gas is available they were hitting those bottles with a stick or something giving extremely annoying noise! That was especially traumatic for Charlie as he got sick.
In the middle of the night he woke me up and asked if he had a fever as he was feeling weird. I checked his head – he was like a radiator! He had to feel horrible. I was doing cold compresses for him and I was giving him pharacetamol to bring down the fever. The other symptoms Charlie had (beside high temperature) were: shivers, lack of appetite, tiredness, vision problem, chest pain, which converted to back pain. We don’t know what that was however, but we called it “3 days virus”. After 3 days Charlie finally felt better and next few days he was recovering.
Luxor was built around 4000 years ago on the site of ancient Thebes. It is a curious mix of provincial country town. Luxor has been characterized as the “world” greatest open air museum – plenty of ruins, monuments, temples and tombs.
It also looks that a fairy large community of Christians live in Luxor and West Bank across the River. We discovered some Christian relics and seen two or three churches on our mini tour around Luxor. Additionally, we met a nice Christian guy, who told us a little bit about Christianity in Egypt.
Because of the fact that Charlie was sick and we both barely managed to walk in that heat we didn’t do lots of sightseeing. Moreover, when we were in Luxor, there was much less tourists than normally (thousands of tourists from all around the world arrive annually to visit this city and its ancient surroundings, contributing a large part towards the economy for the side) and we were stopped on every turn and besieged. We seriously felt hemmed and that is what we heard around: “Where you go? “ “Taxi, cheap, cheap”,” Why you walking, we drive you”, “do you need guide?”,” Don’t go, I just want to practice my English” and more and more.Time to time we were pretending that we didn’t know English and we were answering in polish: “We don’t understand“, “We don’t speak English”…Some of them gave up, but some of them wanted to speak in polish as they knew few words…
Most of what we have seen in Luxor besides two main Temples you will see in the photos, but generally we walked along the Nile and we limited ourselves to East Bank, plus we visited Railway Station (Charlie found that place very interesting).