Friday, November 9, 2012

6: Luxor : Hot hot

Running repairs as a puncture occurs just outside Assiut

As we head south the temperature is getting hotter by the day. We have had three good days in the saddle which has brought us to Luxor, dubbed the biggest outdoor museum in the world with an embarrassment of riches from the ancient Egyptian world.
We left Assiut heading for Sohag which we made in a good days cycle of 100km. We found a nice place to stay along the banks of the Nile. From there we got an early start which has been a good choice as the temperature rises the further south we head. Generally we are up at 5am while the air is cooler and cycle in 25,30km slots with a pop stop and continue often done by the early afternoon. Leaving Sohag we had some Police attention but not to much and infact when they did follow us it was right at the end of the day into the town of Naaga Hammaddi, This turned out to be very useful as we had no idea where to stay and they got us a room at the inn. It was a rough town which seemed well off the beaten track. The beaten track here is Cairo, Luxor and Aswan and that's it. We had various guards who came out for dinner to keep an eye out for us or watch the door when we where in bed all of course with weapons down pants or up gowns depending on religious persuasion.
Off again at the crack of dawn cycling the East bank of the Nile this time on our way to Luxor. The road itself on this side seemed quiet and the towns and villages beginning to die out as we went. The major town that we passed was Quena but we didn't linger as the heat was drawing on. Occasionally the Sahara was creeping up towards the road. The day drew on to be very hot and we toiled a little into Luxor after 120km and the heat really got going. We have got a nice place to stay at the Boomerang Hotel in Luxor which very nice rooms, clean, WiFi and a great rooftop bar area all in for a double room three pounds fifty a night.
Everyone seems to be in good shape though and I certainly feel warmed up. A few rubs here and there between the group. My stomach remains as steadfast as ever and I hope that continues throughout the trip, also the butt seems to be in tact. Kitwise the bike seems to be holding out well with no punctures as yet although Dan and Alan have had a couple, Alan has a Shwalbe at the front but not the rear which is where he got one which is proving that the Shwalbe tyres are perhaps the best choice for touring. I certainly find it harder to keep pace as my wheels are smaller and tyres thicker which is something to perhaps change on a longer tour in the future as cruising seems much better with the larger wheel. My bike is not an official touring bike rather a mountain bike with some add ons to make it more efficient. Its certainly heavy with all the gear on and all the sleeping policeman which are perhaps a good idea given its the only thing to slow an Egyptian driver , though care is needed on the bike.
Egrets cooling their toes in an irrigated field

We shall be here for three nights. Luxor has some superb sights to see and I shall put some images up when I have a look around in the next day or two. We are able to sit back a little now as we only have two more days in the saddle in Egypt down to Aswan where we shall get the ferry to Northern Sudan and the desert stage begins in earnest. The ferry is once a week on Monday so we should be on it a week on Monday.
Rest day now and cleaning, an initiative in Assiut although as Lonely Planet mentions this initiative may have been abandoned!