This morning we have hired a car and driver to drive us to Luxor with stops at the Temple of Kom Ombo and the Edfu South Pyramid. After another wonderful breakfast from our host, we caught a ferry to the East side of the river, met our driver, visited an ATM, and then headed out for 7-8 hours of driving including the two stops. For the most part, the trip was uneventful. The stops were okay but not worth an 8-hour drive when we could have done the same distance on faster roads and without the detours in 3 hours.
When we arrived in Luxor, our driver dropped us off at our Airbnb – a 100-year-old Sandal Amira Sudan (a traditional Egyptian boat) parked on the West bank of the Nile, directly across from the Luxor Temple. We thought staying at the hotel in Cairo was on the Nile, then we stayed in the Nubian Guest House in Aswan and assumed we stay closer to the Nile than that. Until today when we found ourselves sleeping on a boat on the Nile.
Our host was a Dutch woman who was visiting a couple years ago. During her two-week visit, she fell in love, bought the boat, bought a house on the Nile, and married an Egyptian tour guide. Really, I am not making this up. It was quite a remarkable thing to listen to her. She kept talking about the “energy” here (a term we have heard a few other times from tourists). She offered to read tarot cards with us but I declined in favor of watching the beautiful sunset and watching the Nile boat traffic instead. For dinner, we stayed on the boat and she had her cook make a “home-cooked” Egyptian meal. It was good. Our host told us how much she barely making ends meet because of her impulsive (my word) behavior. She also offered to have a driver and boat available to shuttle us around to the various sights along with a tour guide. We declined! Instead, we went by small motorbike (Mike and I sitting behind the driver on the same motorbike) to get a SIM card for Mike’s phone. While he was waiting, I was invited to sit on the street corner and meet some folks. A proposition that I accepted. English was a struggle, but better than Arabic when it came to communicating, so we stuck with English with a little help from Google Translate. During the conversation, I ascertained that renting a bike for the day tomorrow would be 75 EGP which seemed like a way better option than all the chauffeuring that our host had offered. In addition, I learned about the passenger ferry shuttling continuously running passengers back and forth across the Nile. This meant we didn’t need the private boat shuttle my host offered. It is a little frustrating that she never mentioned the ferry, especially given that it was only 5-10 min. walk from the Sandal.