A Long, Long Time Ago, In A Time Before Trip Advisor…

2 comments
pyramid and sphinx 

Famous Egyptian Monuments

I’d studied Egyptology for a quite a few years. I knew the difference between my Ra and my Bestat. I’d been looking forward to this holiday for a long time.

Our first mistake was the cheap three star hotels. These were the days before Trip Advisor (I know – I’m that old) and we had a habit of going for the bargain-basement hotels in those days (we’re not much better now to be honest, but at least we have ready access to reviews by trusted members of the public in these tech- savvy times…)

Egyptian desert roach  

Egyptian insect – probably not the one that bit my leg – from whatsthatbug.com

The windowless room in Luxor was made more miserable by the sound of a scuttering cockroach in the bathroom. And at least the lack of light meant it was less easy to see the throbbing red sores on my legs (I believe there were around 40 of them in total), caused by those rampaging insects who found me so delectable on the night I sat outside my slightly posher hotel room in a hotel on the outskirts of Cairo. And there was even less light to see the welts by when the electricity packed in (this happened more than once.) Although out in the bright light of a Karnak morning, a lady behind me in the queue was able to see them very well, commenting on “that poor girl’s legs!” I was mortified.

 

Don’t get me wrong, the sight of the pyramids had very nearly reduced me to tears, and some of the not so well known temples that we were taken to by a lady and her taxi driver friend that we ran across completely by accident (she called herself Madame Rosa) were tremendous. Madame Rosa was in Luxor as a scientist, working on the greening of the Egyptian desert while living in the village of Kuna on the banks directly opposite Luxor. She took tourists around who were interested in seeing sights away from the madding tourist crowd as a side-line to her main job.

 

And the Cairo Museum was great – the number and quality of exhibits there was mind-blowing to this amateur Egyptologist. Even the Arthur Daley character who accosted us in the street outside and made us go and see his Papyrus showroom didn’t take the shine off too much. And our trip into the desert by convoy to see Hathor’s temple at Dendera as an experience and a half (this wasn’t long after the bombing at Luxor in 1997). But we never did take to the bargaining for goods (we ended up finding the one shop in Luxor that had set prices) and the baksheesh issue ended up giving us nervous tics.

But for all that, and especially for those more travel-savvy than we were at the time, I couldn’t recommend Egypt enough. And thinking about it, it’s probably one of the holidays that I remember in most detail – which must mean something.

Julie McNamee
Born in Belfast and now living in London, Julie McNamee is involved in internet marketing as a day job and blogging as a hobby. She's interested in all things quirky and Fortean, as well as art, photography and theatre. Her blog Quirky Travel, specializes in London and Paris top tips and off the beaten path information with subjects such as London film locations and unusual Paris museums.
Read More Share

Recent Author Posts

Join Our Community

Connect On Social Media

Most Popular Posts

2 Responses to A Long, Long Time Ago, In A Time Before Trip Advisor…

  1. Barbara January 14, 2012 at 10:16 am #

    What a great story. It brings back memories too since, years ago, I traveled to Egypt on a shoe-string and agreed to stay at a hotel in Alexandria that cost a mere one dollar and fifty cents. (It wasn’t a good idea: the shower and toilet were one and the same, the mattress was literally made of hay.) And yet — Egypt inspires under any and all circumstances. Thanks for the wonderful post!

  2. Julie McNamee January 31, 2012 at 11:52 pm #

    Hi Barbara

    Thanks very much for your lovely comment. Our hotel sounds likes the height of luxury compared to yours! You’re quite right – Egypt certainly does inspire. I’ll have to go back some day.

Leave a Reply

We Blog The World