BootsnAll Travel Network

Aurgghhh I’m stuck….

After completing my visit of Luxor in a record time of 8 days, I felt it was time to get moving. In pretty much eight days, three and a half days with perhaps 1-3 hours of each day dedicated to visiting the sites, I spent the rest of the time doing pretty much as lazy of stuff as you can imagine. I took cold water baths, which were actually not that easy as the water tanks of the hotel on the roof, all the water is hot. I had to pre-plan and fill the tub and let the airconditioned air cool it off. Watching tv was a large part of the day where as they had one English movie a day and the same re-runs of news throughout the day. Nile TV is how would you say as not to upset anybody… Crap. Even still, I could get into my comatose state fairly easily and while the days away not blinking and drinking coke under the humm of the winter weather maker box (air conditioner). I did set my alarm every day for 9:30am so I would get up in time for my free breakfast and then scurry back to my room so I could go back to sleep. At night time occassionally I would wander along the Corniche and check out the river, but it never lasted long because it was still a bit warm and humid. Not so exciting for the non-traveling masses, but great memories were had in my little three star hotel room.

Okay, Aurgggghh I’m stuck. Needing to get moving I went down to the train station to see about a ticket to Cairo. It was an odd experience as I went to the ticket area and watched and waited three times that day and never once saw a ticket being sold. I mean, there were people working inside the booths, there were people standing in line to buy tickets, however, there were actually no transactions ever transpired. People would stand in one line, then they would all scramble to the next window, then they would walk away in disgust, some would loiter around, and then rush to another window where they just stood there. The guys in the ticket booth just talked to each other and had tea. It was pretty odd. Finally, I went and talked to the Tourist office and asked him how I got a ticket to Cairo since tourists are only allowed on three of the trains per day. He came back and said that first class was booked for one week and second class was booked for eleven days. Okay…. I asked him how exactly do people ever leave Luxor? His answer was simple, the tour agencies have that all arranged for you when you go on their tours. Hmmm. I decided to go hit some agencies to see if possibly they sold seats on those designer buses that are all over the place.
“Sure, just pick a tour package and we’ll get you set up.”
“But, I just want to go to Cairo.”
“No problem, we have a tour where you can stop at X,Y,Z, dinner at A (which includes Belly dancing), and for the second day…”
“No, no, no, I just want a bus to take me to Cairo and that’s it.”
“Oh no, we can’t do that.”
“Okay, how about a train ticket.”
“Oh sure we have plenty of those. Just pick a tour and”
“Uh, thanks, I gotta go now.”

My next option was the public bus company to see if possibly I could go the desert route through the different Oasis. They no longer had direct buses, I had to go up to the next major town about half way to Cairo.
“How do I get there?”
“You take the train of course.”

Back to the train station and the tourist office. I explain the problem and he says that I should just come in the morning and hop on to a train that goes half way to Cairo. Those are not tourist trains, but if I just get on board and buy my ticket from inside the train they can’t throw me off and it would be too late. So I ended up doing that as it was my only way out of town besides the long overnight bus and flying.

The next morning I did as such and was pretty much cruising along until we got closer to (I forgot the name of the town so we’ll just call it Apple.) As we got closer to Apple, more and more people came on board and they all had tickets, so those of us who bought tickets on board got kicked out of our seats and had to stand for most of the way. Once I got into Apple, I ran into another problem.

For those that don’t know Egypt, politicially and socially they have some problems. I believe they are still under classification as a state of emergency due to terrorist uprisings. Even though they are a majority Muslim society, there are extremist Islamic groups that look to overthrow the country and turn it into a strict Islamic state. They did attempt this a few years ago by bombing tourist and government locations. Since then the President has declared a state of emergency and pretty much locked down on the free movement of people. Sure, tourists don’t see much of it as they are quickly let through the border checks, but there are police at every corner and you have to stop pretty much every hundred kilometers or so for checks. Even though the threat has dropped considerably, the security is kept up.

For me, what that meant was that the moment I stepped off the train in Apple, a tourist police was assigned to me. He walked me to the bus station to inquire about the buses, he followed me back to the train station to inquire about the train, he took me to and checked me into a hotel, he went out with me to get me something to eat, he was even called the next morning to escort me to the bus station when I was going to leave, however I made a run for it and took off before he could arrive. It was a bit annoying, but I kinda understood and was only there for the night.

The next morning I finally got a ticket for the second bus of the day and we made the six hour journey through the desert to Cairo.

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