I sleep soundly for awhile, rocked to sleep by the motion of the train, but then I awake in the total darkness of very early morning. I spend the rest of the “night” tossing and turning, worrying that my alarm won’t go off, that I won’t awaken in time to disembark at our anticipated arrival time of 5:30 a.m. I imagine having to spend the day touring Luxor in my nightshirt.
As it is, the train is late arriving in Luxor. This is good, not only because it gives me time to wash, dress, and eat a little of the thoroughly unappetizing breakfast provided, but also because it gives me an hour or so to watch the passing scenery.
The land through which we are traveling is lush. Palms punctuate carefully tilled fields of emerald green. At this early hour, few people are about, the agricultural workers just now beginning to lead their donkeys in to the green for the day.
Had we arrived on time, we would have missed this in the darkness.
At Luxor station we say goodbye to our helpful steward and then head off into the city.
From the bus I can see that the ancient past is thoroughly intermingled with the present here, the new city of Luxor built around – even amid – the ruins of the ancient temple.
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