Only two bridges link the west side of Luxor to the city proper, bridges that are clogged with vehicles at this time of day. Because we are running late, Romani is looking for a quicker way to get us back into the city. His answer is to send us across the Nile by boat – and by very cheery-looking boats at that.
The boats are a little tricky to reach via the sandbag gangplank. . .
. . . but, once aboard, the view is wonderful.
We are hurrying back because we are supposed to take a carriage tour of the city, but it is already late in the afternoon. Still, not wanting us to miss out, Romani arranges an abbreviated tour.
I share my carriage with Jess, the youngest member of our group. She is an intelligent, curious, and good-humored teenager. I enjoy this chance to hear her take on the trip and on life in general. She is a cool kid.
The carriages make their way through a chaotic market that spills out of the open shop fronts and into the street.
It is a colorful and exotic place.
But the market also feels a bit threatening, which is why I have mixed feelings about the carriage ride. The carriage is a great way to see the market (and even make purchases, as the sellers are happy to pass merchandise up to carriage passengers willing to pass cash back down). From the ground it would be impossible to get a sense of it all – and I think it would quickly become a claustrophobic and slightly menacing whirl of activity and merchandise. I would be intimidated to enter here on foot, but the carriage lifts us above it all, providing both a bird’s eye view and a level of security. On the other hand, we are a dreadful nuisance to those who must work or shop here, forced to maneuver around the carriages in the crowded streets.
I wish we had time to see more of the city, but it is evening now. . . time to thank our driver and return to ground level once again.
We linger for a lovely sunset over the Nile before returning to the bus.
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