Luxoriffic Luxor

Hello Dear Readers!

As is surprising to no one, I’m currently in an airport waiting to start the very long journey to Hong Kong. I’ve got a few things left to tell you guys about Egypt though, so buckle in. Today we’re going to talk about Luxor, where Joni and I spent a whirlwind 2 nights before heading back up to Cairo.

0417A403-540C-476C-9B43-8B6B66ECA45B.jpeg
The gorgeous view from our hotel room.

Now, when I vacation I do it either one of two ways. In one, I get up at the crack of dawn with a full day of activities planned and very little sleep involved. In the other, I arrive to a hotel and literally do not move until check-out, whenever that is.

This was the first type.

So it was that Joni and I rose for the fourth day in a row at 3am, dreaming longingly of sleeping in until 6. Alas, our hot air balloon ride was due for the sunrise, which is ludicrously early in the Middle East.

42AC17E5-043B-4A50-9A80-9C3B1E3FEDFF
We need sleep!

It was so cool!

94F5390A-3F6A-46E2-B565-119FC5FD0B69

We soared over the entirety of Luxor, catching glimpses of the Valley of the Kings (King Tut’s tomb!), the Valley of the Queens, Hatshepsut’s Temple, and throughout it all, the Nile winding its way through the ancient city.

DC8D13A6-F846-48BD-883A-ED7BF18C3CFB

For those of you who don’t know, Luxor is considered one of the best places to go see ancient history, much better than Cairo, and has some of the best preserved tombs in the world.

13FF4E45-214D-4970-BE76-6B2F4449816B.jpeg

So it was that after the hot air balloon ride we met up with our private guide, who spent the entire day showing us around.

A0CFAD57-E084-4A27-905E-66F0348D15C7A492AF4F-74C9-4CAE-9EF9-F3E7759A98390878580D-68B7-4BB3-96F2-EF539C7A7B68C47271B0-B88E-498D-B9C8-42C2F7673614

Ok, so. You guys know that Egypt is cheap, right? I’ve spoken about it enough that it should be old news by now. So when the tourism office at the Valley of the Kings wanted to charge us $15 for the ability to take photos, I flatly declined. I mean come on, our guide for the entire day was only $20. I didn’t need no stinking photos.

Or so I thought. I really underestimated how cool the tombs were- definitely photo worthy. And once we got down there, I saw all kinds of people taking photos. So I thought to myself, “hey, I’m gonna do it anyway. What’s the worst that could happen?”

Well, boys and girls, the worst that can happen is that one of the guards can seize your phone, demand you open it, scroll through your photos, and then try to shake you down for a bribe in order not to report you to the photo police.

I pretended not to understand him and Joni and I ran like hell out of the tomb, afraid that he was chasing us. We stuck to postcards after that.

9D2BCA15-1ABB-4063-B69A-5D86C25F0297
Behold! The Offending Photos!
4781DAA4-B034-430A-9405-EE714B0168B2
They aren’t even any good. 

But it was cool!

-Carissa “Lawless” Rawson

The Pyramids Round Two

Hello Dear Readers!

It’s been an atrociously busy last month, with no end in sight. In a little over a week I head for Vietnam, with a two day stopover in Hong Kong (Disneyland Hong Kong! Dim Sum!). Harrison and I will be spending a total of two weeks in Vietnam, with the first week at a beach resort and the second in Ho Chi Minh, the capital city.

But I digress. First I need to finish telling you guys about Egypt.

Ahh. Egypt. Land of smog and noise and traffic and history and beauty. The locals have written volumes about their love-hate relationship with Cairo, and I have to say after living there for six weeks I completely agree.

Hence, when I got back from my week in Israel, I was dreading the return to the city. Life is so difficult there compared to anywhere else. But Joni was coming to visit so I needed to get back there and get going.

I’ve got to tell you, coming back there and going full tourist was a better experience than just living there. (As I would imagine is true for any city). All told, Joni spent five days with me in Egypt, and we saw many things, including the Pyramids.

CD779D9E-2CF6-4FD3-B8EE-8825D7AC96A7
Here we go again

You guys remember my Pyramid story, right? Well I knew she couldn’t fly all the way from California and not see them, so I reluctantly returned to the scene of the disaster, prepared for the worst. Luckily, in the two weeks since I had last been, the Egyptian government banned solicitors from historic sites in an effort to boost tourism. I thought it was a farce, until we showed up and the aptly named “tourist police” were parked all around the area, ensuring no wayward hawkers made their way past the barriers.

13EA3F46-173C-4F05-8A89-E5779943B9A6.jpeg
Practically empty

It made for a much more pleasant experience. And no, we didn’t go inside. You literally could not pay me to go back in there. But we did ride camels, and I had a nice dicker with the camel owner over the ride in Arabic, which Joni thought was impressive and in reality consisted of about the same five words repeated in Arabic over and over again. (No! 15 guinea! No more! I’m not paying!)

E4FAF9EE-77BD-4BED-A1D3-69440D97A3133B3598F8-E804-4013-91DC-6ACD2A03D322

We also went down to the Sphinx, which I managed to miss the first time around, so I’m glad I got the chance to see it. While there we found a tour guide who took the best photos- enjoy!

-Carissa “Where Do I Even Live?” Rawson