Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Here are some kids doing what kids do best: burning stuff in the street. They were out front of my hotel in Luxor all the time (The Happyland Hotel sign is visible down the street a little) looking for stuff to burn and achieving quite a bit of success. Here they've found some plastic pipe, which both burns AND MELTS. Tough to beat. Nobody really minded because most buildings are made of hideous non-burning mud-brick, and kids tend to do what they like anyway. Four-year-olds go shopping and so on. The banners across the buildings are for Ramadan. There's a cheapo plastic lamp up there too, sort of a christmas-light equivalent. Many of those beep out awful tunes: anti-Israeli marching anthems, and, strangely enough, christmas carols.

The view from the bar at The Venus Hotel, which has some issues involving ants, roaches, bedbugs, and other insects. I figure it was a plague sent from the Lord, that being the area for it. The Venus Hotel was on the market street. Canny sellers would move their carts into the middle of the street to obstruct traffic and extort their way to profits. The little van down there goes from town to town. Cheap transport if you know how to negotiate.

This is easily the most impressive piece of technology on display in the streets of Egypt. Pour some goop into the hopper and it streams out of a series of little holes onto a rotating grill, then it gets scoured off by a blade. The result tastes like shredded wheat.

Coming over another hill to Deir El Medina, the ruins of a Christian monastery that surround an Egyptian temple. This is in the area near the Valley of the Kings, another good area for hiking that nobody takes advantage of. Up the mountain to the right is the aforementioned Valley. Sissies take donkeys, and I don't even want to discuss the rubes in the buses.

Hatshepsut's mortuary temple. A wide-angle lens makes this way smaller than it looks...the scale is insane, and a lot of it is carved right out of the mountainside. Also near the Valley of the Kings; just a hop over that mountain there.

Down there is the Valley of the Kings.

Down there to the left is the Valley of the Artisans. That white path is concrete stairs, a fairly punishing climb. Farmland in the distance.

Karnak is a huge temple that was once at the end of a three km road of sphinxes that connected it to the temple in Luxor. The scale is ridiculous. Those high pillars just visible at the vanishing point of the photo originally held up piers for a second floor.

The lotus was the symbol of Egypt; the stem is the Nile, the flower is the Delta. They're washed out in this photo, but the tops of these lotus pillars are painted red and blue.

More bits and pieces of Karnak.

Karnak doesn't end.

Luxor Temple. The locals were so bored with the ruins in the sand that they built a mosque on top of 'em. Now the mosque's too important to be moved. Christians and Moslems both spent a lot of time vandalizing the most amazing things.


Snag said...

I remembered the Luxor as having more of a blackjack emphasis.

Righteous Bubba said...

In fact one night I did something dangerous and caught a ride on a motorcycle to some nameless hovel where ten-year-olds really kicked my ass at dominoes and I lost some money while drinking my free cups of tea. So yes, there is a gambling element involved.

Coaster of the Kings due in 2011.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I recall video poker and hot cocktail waitresses.

Mendacious D said...

That car in the first photo looks like it's got a fitted bedsheet on it.

Or maybe a car cozy?

Righteous Bubba said...

I'm not sure what the deal was there, but maybe it was because there's sand everywhere, or to keep the car cool. I was there in winter so it wasn't as hideous as it could have been, but holy shit it was hot.