After meeting up with Mr. O, we had some time before our 12:45 flight, so we had tea in the airport and finalized our itinerary, etc. However, even at around 12:15, there was no sign of boarding starting. Would it end up being the original 13:15? The flight was delayed even more than that. The takeoff was finally around 14:00.


I am not in the habit of looking at the scenery from the plane, but on the flight from Cairo to Luxor, I was surprised at how desolate the landscape was. As far as the eye could see, there was desert, no sign of human habitation, and not a tree in sight. Needless to say, without water, humans and other living things cannot survive.


As the city of Luxor came into view and the fields and buildings along the Nile River came into view, the famous saying “Egypt is the gift of the Nile” was truly realized. The delay was disgusting, but the scenery from the window made the flight memorable.


Well, we finally arrived in Luxor. We had decided to take a cab to the hotel, but the first obstacle, negotiating with the cab driver, awaited us. According to the guidebook, the fare from the airport to the hotel (city center) is 150 Egyptian pounds (1 pound is about 7 yen, so about 1,000 yen), but, well, we weren’t going to negotiate that close to the limit. A cab driver, who seemed to be in jokey, approached us. At first, he said the price was too much, so we told him that we would negotiate with another cab driver. He then softened his attitude. Negotiations were concluded at a price we could agree on.


We had decided to charter a car for tomorrow’s Luxor sightseeing tour, and we were able to negotiate a half-day tour at 500 pounds (approx. 3,500 yen). We told him that we also wanted to go hot air balloon in the very early morning, which he was willing to arrange, and he agreed to take us to a balloon tour company that he was familiar with.


We had just met him and there were unknowns as to whether we could trust him, but after discussing it with Mr. O, we concluded that there would be no advantage in him deceiving us, so we went to a balloon tour company in an off-street. The store was far from respectable, but we concluded that we should trust this one too. The price was 500 Egyptian pounds, it may not be the cheapest, but I can say for certain that it was a well-run tour company at a reasonable price. According to the guidebook, the price changes depend on the season.

明日の足も確保でき、気球ツアーの申し込みを終え、いよいよエジプト3大ホテルの一つ、「Winter Palace Hotel」に到着です。これまでリゾートホテルはともかく、市街観光のホテルにはお金をかけてこなかった私にとっては、風格が素晴らしかったです。Nail Viewの部屋も正解だったと思います。

With tomorrow’s taxi arrangements secured, I finished signing up for the balloon tour and finally arrived at the “Winter Palace Hotel,” one of the three major hotels in Egypt. The Nail View room was the right choice for me.


A little later, I headed to Karnak Temple to buy “Luxor Premium Pass”. Karnak Temple is supposed to close at 5PM, so we figured we would somehow get there in time. We used a different cab driver than the one who came to the hotel from the airport to take me to Karnak Palace.


I remember that we arrived at the Karnak Temple around 4:30PM, but the attendant told us that it was already Closed. We had to take into account that the description in the guidebook was incorrect. However, we decided to go to the entrance to get a taste of the atmosphere. The Karnak Temple is very powerful, but it is not as powerful and impressive as it is when seen in a place where you do not pay an admission fee.


The cab is waiting for us because we had negotiated a round trip. However, the cab driver kept trying to increase the cab fare by making various suggestions. We were probably very suspicious of this taxi driver on our first day of sightseeing in Egypt, but now we are glad that we did not use him as our main taxi driver.


We went to a restaurant “Jamboree”, which the guidebook recommended. We were attracted by the phrase, “Unusually for a restaurant in the Souk, they serve beer, wine, and other alcoholic beverages,” and by the restaurant’s “middle class” rating, but they did not have any beer. The description in the guidebook may not have been updated in time.


As we really wanted to drink beer, we asked the waiter if we could buy beer, and it seemed that beer was sold nearby. After leaving the restaurant, I asked further and got our long-awaited beer.


The food was really good, with a good balance of meat and vegetables and spices. However, I don’t think I would have been able to reach that level of satisfaction at all without beer.


Having failed to obtain the Luxor Premium Pass, we decided to go to the “Sound and Light Show” at Karnak Temple, which is not covered by the Premium Pass, instead of the Luxor Museum and Luxor Temple.


Since we had received a phone number, we contacted the driver who took us from the airport to the hotel and he came to pick me up. We entered the Karnak Palace, which I had longed to see, with 300-pound entrance fee. The illuminated Karnak Temple was very impressive. However, as soon as we were seated in the auditorium overlooking the “Sacred Pond” with a view of the West Bank in the distance, we felt a strong urge to sleep. Mr. O also said that he could not overcome the sleepiness.


Thus ended the first day of sightseeing in Luxor, which had a lot going on.


Tomorrow is an early morning balloon tour, a nervous itinerary with a 3:15 a.m. wake-up time.