TUESDAY – ASYUT TO LUXOR We left the hotel at 8:30 and walked across the square to the railway station where we bought two one-way tickets to Luxor which cost us E£14- 80 with our “student” discount. After a while and a bit of asking around we got a consensus of opinion that the train left at 12:30 p.m. from platform 3 so we walked across the tracks and sat down there to wait.
After a while we began to attract a crowd of school kids eager to talk to us and ask the usual questions: “where are you from?”, “ what is your name?”, “what is your job?” and so on. We were quite happy to talk to them but after a while a man came along and shooed them away so that he could practice his English. He talked to us for an hour or so and when he left he was replaced by three more English students from the “faculty of education English department.”
Eventually our train rattled into the station and we squeezed the board with a throng pushing, shoving Egyptians. Our seats were taken by a young man with large dark glasses and his wife with their three young children. The woman held out the baby and put on an expression of great despair but we had paid for our fucking seats and we weren’t going to be done out of it by a family of freeloaders so we just stood and waited until the conductor came and ejected them from the train. It turned out that not only had they taken our seats, they had gotten aboard the train without tickets.
The trip to Aswan was painfully slow: the train stopping every 20 minutes or so to pick up little groups of people gathered by the tracks amid the empty vastness of the desert. When we arrived we were besieged by touts offering all manner of treats to come and stay at their particular slimy hotel. One guy, however, hung back from the horde and when we emerged from the station he approached us and offered us a room at the Grand Hotel where we have been planning to stay anyway. It turned out to be a good choice as the staff were very helpful and there was a notice board in the lobby describing all the different bus routes and costs to various places in Egypt.
We had dinner at Limpies Restaurant (a crude ripoff of the British Wimpy chain) then went back to the hotel and boiled up some eggs for the bus trip the next day. It was a very hot night.
The Nile at Aswan.
(Photo: Google Maps)