Tryingto catch you all up on my blogging, we are two days behind! So Sorry! My last day in Luxor (Tuesday) was short but a great way to end my trip there. Several from my hotel also booked the hot air balloon trip, so at 4:30AM they picked us all up and we headed over to the West Bank and the field where the balloons take off. These balloons are some of the largest of thier size (4000 cubic feet??) and only 10 in the world. They have 3 baskets that can hold up to 40 people.
The trip was supposed to take us over the Valley of the Kings, but due to high winds (and they had to cancel the previous day's trip due to a sandstorm) we were limited to just the West and East Banks. But for me never having been up in a hot air balloon before, I still loved it. We got dangerously low at times, still don't know why, but we were able to spend about 55 minutes up in the air. I am hoping to buy a cable in Jerusalem that will allow me to download pics from my sister's camera to my laptop so I can post shortly. We will see.
I was in a basket full of Brits so it was rather fun. I dodged the Americans on the other side of the basket, no reason just like being the token yank sometimes.
After we were dropped off we all had breakfast on the rooftop of our hotels (myself and the other americans I dodged earlier that are also staying that the same place) and found themn extremely nice and found them to very sweet and not the typical yank traveller at all, so I felt a bit guilty. There was a cute couple, kid frm upstate in Syracuse and his Romanian girlfriend, that happened to be taking the same bus to Dahab later that day, so that was nice to have a travelling companion for that leg.
After breakfast I headed out to Luxor Temple to take photos and then Karnak temple by Kaliche (horse and buggy). Karnak temple is a mix of ruined temples, chapels, pylons, othe buildings, notably the Great Temple of Amun, and a massive structure called Sacred Lake started by Ramses II (1350 BC).
Karnak Temple is basicallty a vast open air museum and notably the LARGEST ancient religious site in the world. It takes at least an hour to really view all of what it has to offer, my favorite being the Hypostyle Hall that contains 134 massive columns arranged in 16 rows.
After Luxor I took some final photos of the Sphinx lined path (actually connects Luxor to Karnak I believe) outside of Luxor Temple, as well as the Mosque inside.
Had slight detour then to Souk which is the market in town to buy a dancing,singing stuffed camel for baby and some other small gifts. Picked up the Ramses II lighter also, who knows when it will come in handy.
Then caught the 4:30pm bus with Brendan and Andrea to Dahab. The SCHEDULED arrival time was 9am (so do the math, yes that's 16 1/2 hours. But we are not dealing with normal hours out here, we have Egytian hours. We actually arrived at about 11:15 --- not toooo bad. We were the only foreigners on the bus and I loved the cheeze arabic movies they played although understood nothing. We also stopped about every 2 ours for tea and cigarettes. The bus driver eventally became my friend and always showed me the designated toilet at the stops.
The Suez canal looks just like the Holland Tunnel, except much longer. Other than that, uneventful trip.
Just glad to be finally on the Red Sea Coast and away from the traffic, smog and everyday city hustle. I get enough of that in NYC.