28/10/91

MONDAY 28 OCTOBER – BACK TO LUXOR  Dawn.  The sun appeared above the horizon of palms and soon it’s warmth began to penetrate the river’s early chill. We set sail at 6:15, warmed up by our first tea of the day, and stopped for breakfast about an hour later. The captain was grumpy, no doubt suffering the after effects of all the hash he had smoked the previous night.

As the heat came into the day we stretched out to sunbathe: reading and resting and watching the ever-changing pattern of life on the river. Snowy white herons stood motionless on the edges of the water watching for fish while native fishermen watched, no less patiently, from their small gaily painted wooden craft. Along the banks of the river oxen and cattle grazed on the coarse grass and floating weeds, and small herds of sheep and goats foraged amongst the rubbish for bits of paper and greener morsels.

We stopped for Cokes on a small sandy beach below a small village with it’s ubiquitous donkeys and squawking children and then,  later on, at a small island for a toilet stop.  The island was composed of silt left by the river and now being reclaimed by it as the ever-shifting currents swirled by.  Lunch consisted of potatoes long past their best with bread long gone stale, washed down with the last of the fresh water and some coffee.

We reached Edfu at 2pm and paid the captain off. He wasn’t too happy not to get any baksheesh [a tip] but we thought fuck him, he doesn’t deserve any after his sullen, unhelpful and drug-fuddled behaviour. Peter and I negotiated with a taxi driver to take us to Luxor for E£30 pounds and so with our packs all tied to the roof of his beaten up Peugeot 504 we headed off down the road leaving the filthy foul-smelling streets of Edfu behind.

An hour later, out in the countryside with fertile farmland on one side and barren rocky mountains on the other, the car got a puncture in one of its tyres. Of course, Egyptian car maintenance being what it is, there was no spare and no jack so the driver had to start flagging down passing cars in order to borrow them. By the time we had gotten a wheel off someone and a couple of jacks off someone else ,we had gathered quite a crowd of onlookers eager to put forward opinions on the state of the tyre. Eventually, after much debate and stuffing around, the wheel was changed and we set off again, arriving in Luxor at 4:30 p.m.

On the way into town we met Fayez from the Nour Home Hotel and he escorted us there and got us ensconced.  Once again we had tea at Limpleys.

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