This evening, I have decided to tell the story of an unofficial ‘tour’, on foot, around the back streets of Luxor, Egypt last night together with my wife. We were staying on a Nile cruise ship moored at Luxor and decided to go for an evening stroll. However, we were immediately ‘befriended’ by a local who purported to be a member of the ship’s crew and spoke reasonable English. So, with some trepidation, we were escorted into the back streets, away from the 21st century and the usual tourist traps into a medieval world of unsealed roads, donkeys, local traders, horse drawn vehicles, worshippers at the mosque and local ladies out shopping. This was the real world and slightly scary because we were totally in the hands of a local gentleman who we had never met before. However, we never felt under threat or any way intimidated
We were escorted to a spice trader (see image no 5 below) principally because my wife wanted some sort of essence of coconut. After a considerable amount of haggling and discussions we came away with a substance for which we probably paid well over the odds and didn’t really want, just like an everyday trip to a British supermarket!!
Thankfully, our guide was honourable and escorted us through the maze of back streets back to the boat in the course of which there was a loud bang which proved to be nothing more sinister than a street lamp exploding.
In ancient times Luxor was known as Thebes, capital of the Egyptian kingdom and known for its fabulous wealth. Since sacking of the city in 672 BC the city never recovered its former standing.
As an avid student of prehistory, I was very impressed by the various ancient temples and other historic sites encountered on the Nile cruise. However, memories of this impromptu walking tour of the real world of modern day Luxor will stay with me for a long time. Bear in mind the images below were taken at night. Apparently the shops stay open until around midnight. Fascinating atmosphere.
I am not sure what substance this gentleman is smoking, but it makes him quite happy.
Street trader (literally) selling fish.
Local lady with an efficient way of carrying her shopping. No doubt also good for the deportment.
Street scene with donkey and children at play. We noticed that children we encountered seemed quite happy although living in some degree of poverty (by our standards).
Spice stall selling a wide range of exotic smelling substances.
Another street scene with horse drawn carriage.
Trader specialising in pots, pans and baskets.
In course of the next few days I will be posting more images of our Egypt experience.
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