Friday, December 26, 2008

Egypt Day 8 – Cycling on West Bank

Up at 6 am and off to the west bank using the local ferry. We hired bicycles at an astonishing 10 LE a day (£1.25) from Mohamed at the start of the road west to the Colossi, and set off for the Temple of Deir el-Shelweit, four kilometres  beyond Medinet Habu, across a desert road and past Malquata. It’s Ptolmeic and dedicated to isis with a gateway still half standing. Various Roman Emperors are represented and we were surrounded by the usual haggle of children.

We cycled right across the mortuary area to the north end to visit the Seti I temple past the newly excavated canal leading to Hatshetsup’s temple. Then back across on the ferry and back to the hotel and a final meal before heading home. This is a great way to do the West Bank – everything is within cycling distance of the ferry and you get a good feel for the geography of the area.

Although there’s new cars among the Luxor’s blue and white  taxi fleet, the majority remain the old Peugots, which seat seven, but are usually filled with fumes. Our taxi today had no handle on the inside of the door, so the driver had to lean out of the passenger window and open it from the outside. What hasn’t changed is the driving. There’s no real adherence to whatever road rules whatever there are. They drive too fast, tailgate, don’t wear seatbelts and overtake too early, too late, on the inside, through the middle and so on.

Once again, we were sad to leave Egypt and the sun, and wished we were there for another week, but Christmas and family stuff calls. Not to worry, we'll be back next year.


At 10:23 PM, Blogger Norman Lamont said...

Very much enjoyed reading your posts about Egypt, Donald. I lived there as a teacher in 1978 and again in 1982. I watched with astonished Egyptians in a cafe as Sadat spoke at the Knesset. 90% of the people were behind him, weary of war and thinking that now money would flow from defence and arms to fixing the roads and helping the poor. I went back five years later, just after Sadat had been killed; it seemed like it was punishment for breaking that faith. Nothing had changed and corruption had got worse not better. Mubarak ('la vache qui rit') was not expected to last six weeks.

I went back this year for the first time since 82 and renewed my love for the gentle, friendly, long-suffering but kind Egyptian people and just hope desperation doesn't drive them to angry fundamentalists.


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