december 18th : “why are you hurrying?”


Nice morning!  I went for my first run since Thanksgiving Day – from the hotel up to the temple at Karnak.  If not injured, I would have liked to have done more of this : run to a place once, then return with my camera.  It gives me a good sense of a place, and helps me enjoy the time more.  And it felt great to get my legs moving again.  I still have a bit of pain around the top of my left tibia, so this is probably it for a while again.  It wasn’t fast, but I wasn’t sucking wind the whole way either.

I guess they don’t see many runners here.  People stared and some smiling.  There were a couple of boys I ran past on the way back who asked "why are you hurrying?".  A good question indeed.

Anyway the whole thing reminded me why I like running to sightsee.  You can’t carry anything much, you don’t want to buy anything, and people leave you alone when you’re really sweaty and gross.

I spent about an hour or so at the temple, then ran back to the hotel.  I felt great other than the aforementioned small pain in my leg.  Good thing it was all level.

I showered, then took a walk through the Souq (marketplace).  I probably snapped about a hundred pictures – all candid street shots.  I love doing this, but wish I were better at it.  It’s a lot more fun than taking pictures of statues, walls, and etchings.

After walking the length of the Souq, I walked up to the Oasis Café, eager for one of their Turkish coffees.  I also sampled one of their fresh scones … outstanding!  Their dinner menu was underwhelming, but it was very pleasant slurping the turkish, munching the scone, and reading the New Yorker.

Afterwards, I headed back up to the temple at Karnak, getting a lift from a taxi driver who appeared to be about 13 years old!

I spent a long time walking around the temple, snapping many pictures.  I did cause a ruckus when I started to snap a picture of some schoolkids.  The teacher got a bit mad – ostensibly at the kids, but if it were me, I would have been mad at me too.

I hoofed it back to the Luxor Temple afterwards – the only location I revisited here.  It’s just a block from my room and is really something to see.  I snapped more pictures, but my heart wasn’t in it much … I was already looking forward to dinner.

After dropped stuff off at the room, I walked back up to the Souq to do some shopping and eat dinner.  I hadn’t shopped for presents yet, and thought it’d be nice to get the girls some Egyptian shirts, most likely made with sweatshop labor.  Again – the whole rigamarole around finding the right thing (with all of the merchants shouting out to you as you walk by), then haggling over price, just bums me out.  On the one hand, you don’t want to overpay.  On the other hand, you’re arguing about $2.  Owing to the completely random nature of the shops, you get to tell them what you like and don’t like over and over again.  In the end, I bought two dresses for about $17.50 – probably half again as much as I should have paid if I’d been a pro.

Dinner was at the Lotus Restaurant above the Souq, another recommendation from LP.  It was pretty marginal.  I had a couple of gin and tonics at the hotel bar on the way back in.  I amused two young women from London by missing a step as I descended the bar stool, somewhat resembling a piano falling out of a window.


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