The Orton's on the Nile - 2005

Lazy Afternoon, stagecoach ride

Lazy Afternoon, stagecoach ride

Having negotiated a good haul of drugs, and loaded up with papyrus on our way back, we safely rejoined the cool of the hotel lobby. We even managed to use a cash machine to get some more dosh for and more cash purchases and joy of joys, we even got some 20p and 50p notes to use for tips.

We had about an hour before the next minibus went over to the pool so we all went up to clean up and get the swimming stuff together. Nice cool beers sitting on the balcony overlooking the Nilee. It was almost too pleasant to bother moving, but experience had taught us the coolest place to be is in the pool, preferably in the shade.

We had seen some sort of straw roofed village from the boat near the temples and had decided to go there before we left Luxor, so it was to be a busy day with all the lounging around in the swimming pool and everything. The minibus delivered us more or less in one piece, driving is something not to be undertaken lightly in Egypt, and we headed for the luxury poolside loungers.

As usual, most of the shade was taken, but that still left plenty of sun beds free and we settled down near to the in pool bar. Regular pattern of life is; sun until you feel yourself fry, quick run over foot burning tiles to pool, lazy swimming for half hour or so then back out for a cool drink and solar drying session. The tiles were hot enough to fry an egg – if only we had an egg left!!!!

Eventually the pace of life caught up with us and it was time to return to the hotel for the evening meal. I expected it to be frog’s legs and snails. Le Mercure is more French than Paris. No big surprise was the fact that the minibus failed to arrive. This gave us an opportunity to experience the horse drawn carriage that the guide warned us were lethal. Well, you only live once and from what we had seen of driving around the town, I for one favoured horse power.

While we were waiting, no need to really, but we saw a wedding procession riding round the town with the Egyptian; flutes, drums and micro cello thing. They ride round the town, whole family and guests, three or four times to celebrate the wedding and it was quite a colourful site. Everyone was cheering as they passed, makes you realise what a miserable bunch of sods we have become in Blighty.

With the precession on it’s forth lap we signalled a likely looking carriage over and climbed aboard the surrey without a fringe on top. Room is very tight in these and you appear to be way up in the air without a safety net. Another experience; “picnicking with Miss Dandraige.” The carriage could have been straight out of Yellow Ribbon.

The driver told Luke he could ride shotgun and off we went into the wacky races that passed for local traffic. When we were on a straight stretch the cabby even let Luke have a go at driving. I guess the horse did not need much in the way of guiding, but it made Adam sit up and pay attention. On the whole, I would consider this the safer of the two choices for transport if the other is local taxi.

Dumped the swimming gear and went for a stroll down to the river side village area. We passed an ancient snake charmer sitting watching two cobras swirl around his feet. Looked so old that he would probably have welcomed a quick end from the venom, but I guess even the snakes feel the heat and they were in no hurry to crawl way or bite anything. Adam wanted to stay, but Annette wanted to look round first so we carried on.

The village setup was basically a permanent tourist market area, with about a dozen shops selling the usual souvenirs, but of a slightly better quality and more reasonable prices, cutting out the need to haggle. Adam fell in love with a set of solid brass dice and some wooden ones that came in their own box. I think he paid over the odds, but it was his own cash and we found the price of the metal dice was well below half the price Games Workshop were asking.

With yet more collective items to pack we strolled back towards the snake charmer hoping for a quick show for 40-45p. Sadly he had packed up and gone off. We strolled back to the hotel to the sounds of; "Told you we should of stopped and watched, but no – YOU wanted to go to the shops first! Now we’ll never get to see the snake charmer."

Last night in Luxor, we had a reasonable late breakfast and a flight over to Sharm El Sheik tomorrow.

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Copyright 2005 D.J.Orton and A.G.Morris