RTW Trip Aswan to Luxor, Egypt Day 58: Getting to the best budget accommodation in Luxor
We were on a high after our felucca trip, and we were quite bummed to say good-bye to Nasser and Mostafa. When we got off the boat, they hailed us a “cab,” or more of a pick-up truck to take us to Komombo train station take us to Luxor.
In my few weeks in Arabic speaking countries, I hate to say I only learned a few words and phrases. We heard these phrases and words a lot:
Alhamdulillah – a phrase they say when they want to give thanks to God.
Insha’Allah – a term used for ‘God willing.’
Moos – little bananas. Vendors were always yelling ‘moos’ on train selling the tasty treats.
La – No.
I knew we made a strong connection with Nasser when I heard him arguing with the driver regarding
the price of our ride. Nasser continually said, “LA, LA, LA!” He was fighting for a better price for us which was super thoughtful. We finally just interjected and just paid what the driver requested.
I actually thought that we would have done what locals do, and ride in the back of the pick-up truck, but we ended squishing in the front. I was seated in the middle of the driver and Greg, probably because I am the short one. The driver was driving manual, and throughout the ride, his hand was on the gear shift, very close to my leg. I had read online that sometimes, women can be harassed when seated next to a male in Egypt, and this was an occasion where Greg should have sat in the middle. I could suddenly feel the driver’s hand rubbing my leg, which made me both shocked and uncomfortable. I quickly deliberately looked at the driver’s hand, and openly told Greg what had happened. The driver immediately let go of the gear shift, and only put his hand on the gear shift when absolutely necessary. I didn’t say anything because it was very early morning, and I just wanted to get to the train station!
When we finally got to the station, we were the only tourists on the entire platform. There were flies everywhere, people sitting on benches, on the platform itself, eating and spitting into the train tracks. The local train finally arrived, and we hopped on with our big, bulky bags. The train was not air-conditioned, and the air was filled with thick humidity, sweat, and food. We struggled to get through the aisles with our bags, and were prepared to stand in the aisles. The train conductor came by, took our payment, and proceeded to force some of the locals to make room for us. I felt bad, because they basically made small children move onto their older sisters’ laps. Every seat on the train was taken. I even saw a teenage boy lay down on the upper luggage rack.
The ride was uncomfortable. It was a humid train with all sorts of smells, vendors hopping on the train selling everything from pants, to placemats, to moos, to dessert in tin foil. The dessert looked like an egg custard, and I guess I showed a lot of curiosity, as a man next to me offered me a bite of his. While very nice of him, I declined. The only thing that made the ride pleasant was the mother and 4 children that sat directly across from us. They were a quiet bunch, with the kids ranging from 5 – 13 years old. This family made room for us large North Americans, while the 5 of them squished onto the two seater bench. As they grew more comfortable being so close to us, we made extra room and gestured that we had extra space for one of the girls. The youngest wasn’t so shy, and sat with us with pleasure. They were also sharing snacks with us which was nice, although I must say, if you can, not to put your backpack on the ground when people are spitting sunflower seeds on the ground. After we left the train, the bottom of my bag was covered with sunflower seed pods and mashed sunflower seeds and spit.
When we arrived in Luxor, we walked to our hotel, Boomerang Hotel. For some reason, Google maps never seems to be correct, so we were walking a bit with our heavy packs before we found it. We were quite happy with this hotel, as we had our own room with TV, fan, a nice shower, great bed, and small deck. It was very clean, and the front desk guy Mohamed, is super nice. One of the nicest guys we met in Egypt! It is run by an Australian Egyptian couple I believe, and so they really know how to care for tourists. There is an excellent rooftop for relaxing and drinking beers. If you are going to Luxor, stay here as you really won’t be disappointed.
We were hot and tired and hungry, and ate some McDonald’s and kushari for lunch and dinner. I promise, this was the last time we ate it in Egypt!
Taxi to Komombo train station 40 LE
Train to Luxor 17 LE
McDonald’s 69 LE
Boomerang Hotel 360 LE
Kushari 10 LE
Beer 15 LE
Total cost: 511 LE /2 = $33.82 per person
What I learned: Use the overhead luggage rack on crowded trains as the floors will get covered in food, garbage, and spit. Trust me, getting half chewed sunflower seeds off the bottom of my backpack was a bit of a challenge!
Actual date of travel: Oct.31, 2014