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Balloons and Donkeys

Not so bright but early start to the morning.  Went with Sam and a few others for late dinner last night.  Neat place, not so touristy.  Had Koshary again.  So, got in aroun 11pm which wasn’t so bright for an early start.  Had to be in the lobby at 5:15am.

First rode a tourist bus to the Nile, and then a ferry across followed by another tourist bus.  And the 8 of us gong trekked our way into our balloon.  It was fantastic.  Having never done it, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was incredible.  The views, the sunrise over the Nile and the Valley of The Kings.  Just what the doctor ordered after yesterday’s bad market mood  We were up a bit over a hour and then got souvenir t-shirts and certificates.  I literally took 125 pictures just from the balloon, and that was not the full hour!  I finally put away the camera and just soaked in the view.  All for $80 – fantastic!  Can I say fantastic again?  Look, I just did!

After that, met up with Sam and the rest of the group for our tour of the Valley of the Kings.  I was not so sure what to expect after my not entirely satisfactory but none-the-less once in a lifetime experience with the camel ride.  And I have to say, I gave it the old college try, but never again.

I was not feeling it from the outset.  I had high hopes for something approaching a saddle.  This was less than before, just a lump of blankets with a bump that was all I had to hold onto.  For about 200 feet, this kid was holding the reins and I finally decided I had to try it myself like the rest.

He was never far from behind me.  But I was sort of handling it on flat terrain.  And then the ups and downs as we ascended to the top of the valley…  I managed one up, and one down.  We started up again and the saddle and I just went splat to the side.  I literally just rotated off onto my butt.  Splat.  Glad it was a donkey and not a camel, but it was still no fun.  I know I will feel this in the morning.

Not to admit immediate defeat, I caught up to my donkey after this little pass where everyone had to get off and walk them, and I got on again.  Managed about 15 feet, felt the saddle shift and started saying, “want off, want off, I’ll walk!”

So, I walked up the rest of the way.  We’ll call it practice for the 3,750 steps of repentance at Mount Sinai in a few days.  I was not actually that tired.  I felt way better with the ground under my own feet.  No more donkeys.

At the top, we all said goodbye (or good riddance to the donkeys) and walked into the valley.  Visited four tombs, including King Tuts.  Truly awesome stuff that you have to see for yourself or on the discovery channel.  Literally no pictures since there’s nothing to see outside the tombs but rocks and no photos inside.  So, go for yourself.  But if you’re not sure of riding, take the bus in!

Afterward another Temple.  Awesome.  Again, incredible art.  I do have some photos from the temple to share.  You see some great colors from 1,500 years ago that still survive.  Awesome, awesome place, but I am getting kind of templed out.  We still have Karnac to go…

Then lunch with the guide for the day, Ahmed, at his home.  Nice spread – way too much food for some of us.  Stuffed fast.  And now sleepy.

We took the boat back across and came back to the hotel.  I did my last ATM visit for awhile and got my clothes back from the laundry.  Clean clothes, what a luxury!

Then after I sat down a minute, I realized I really needed to take some aspirin to keep me from seizing up tonight.  So, I ventured down the street and successfully managed to go into a pharmacy, communicate my need for aspirin, purchase and leave!  Yay me!

I bought sinus medicine and stomach medicine.   I’m one of about 4 on the group who have thus far not had an upset tummy from the food.  Keep your fingers crossed for me, but I suspect I’m doomed.  I do not have the cast iron stomach.  If I make it out unscathed, minor miracle, call the pope.

Tonight, we are doing a sound and light show at Karnac’s temple.  It sounds kind of cheesey, but is supposed to be the best in Egypt.  So, you live once and no donkeys this time.  So I may actually live!

Tomorrow morning, a proper visit to Karnac and then on to a stopping point between here and the Red Sea just for the night before moving on.  So, quite possibly nothing again until Cairo.

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