Home -> Africa -> Egypt -> Travelogue Egypt -> 11 January 2004
Sunday 11 January, to the Luxormuseum and the mummification museum
A brightly shining sun wakes us and today we are early for breakfast. After the exhausting day, yesterday, we will take it easy today. Every holiday we try to seek a balance between doing things, visiting museums and monuments, walking through the streets and relaxing It is quite clear to me that we easily can spend a whole week, just visiting ancient temples and tombs, but it is also a holiday and we have worked hard enough. What we don't see this time will have to wait for our next visit. And we have already given up hope that we are ever able to see everything in this world.
And therefore we start, like most other days, on the sunny terrace of the Metropolitan restaurant, along the Nile. We are not tempted by the many offers for a taxi, coach or felouka but enjoy our coffee. Still, it is fun to bargain, even for a newspaper one can get the price down. For a Dutch newspaper they start asking 6 Euro, but soon the price is down to € 2.
Quietly we walk along the Nile to the mummification museum on the boulevard opposite of the Luxortemple. This small exposition clearly shows the objects of mummification and the rituals that were used. There is not an overabundance of objects but it gives a coherent and orderly picture of the mummification process.
After that we go to the next reatsaurant for another cup of coffee. We also buy some souvenirs, large papyrusses with beautiful paintings. We start haggling in Egyptian pounds, then we convert the amount into Euro's, round it off and subsequently pay in dollars at which point the price goes down again. Quite convenient that the Euro is so expensive at this moment.
There are lots of feloukas (sailing boats) and many luxurious cruise ships sail away, probably to Aswan. Above the westbank we see one of the airballoons ascending. For € 80 one can make a trip of about one hour. Watching at the Nile is like watching the busyness on a shopping street from a terrace.
Regularly the peace is disturbed by the calls of the muezzin, or rather the tapes with prayers that are played through the speakers of the minarets of the mosques. I like it very much, it reminds me every time that I am in another country with a totally different culture.
Teije wants to show me some of his past favourite places and so we have lunch at Maxime and after that we walk to the Sheraton hotel. After a long discussion with a persistent boy, we have a drink near the swimming pool and walk through the gardens of the hotel. There we spotted this pelican. A tip: the pizzeria here has a very good reputation for more than 20 years. Teiuje has eaten here a lot and others still confirm it is very good.We take a taxi back to the Luxormuseum and Teije promises that we will have another fight about money when we arrive. The driver asks the normal 'tourist-fare' but we know the 'normal fares' so we rerfuse to pay what he asks. And yes, after I get out of the car they have a heated discussion in the front of the car. But every time I am surprised: they seem to have a serious fight but in the end we pay less and they shake hands as if they have become good friends. Probably all parties are happy...
The Luxor museum looks very big from the outside but it isn't on the inside. But there are many magnificient statues and objects, most from this region, among them a few things from the tomb of Tutankhamun. But it is a mess, there is no order, just a few nice items that have been placed in an arbitrary way. Less educational than the mummification museum, despite the gorgeous statues.
Walking back along the Nile we have a few discussions with angry Egyptians who don't want to understand that we are really not interested in whatever they have to offer. We should consider their poverty, they say, but they are probably much richer than the people who don't work with tourists. They boast about their honesty and they are heavily offended when we don't buy anything. Of course we want to buy things, according to them, and it is just tactics to say no, to get a better price and so we exploit them. But whatever one pays for anything in Egypt, one can be sure they exploit the tourists. When not they will never sell!