From the Colossi of Memnon, our driver took us back to the east bank into Luxor city.It was about 4.00pm. Muhammad al-Gharbawi picked up the microphone and knocked his fingers over it,making the thud!Thud! sound over the PA system.
Muhammad: Okay,everyone listen to me,listen to me.Okay,all can hear me?
Some responded by a low "yeahhh..." but most are exhausted and trying to get a nap for the next 20 minutes ride into the city.
Muhammad: Okay everbody, we are now going to our hotel,our hotel. Its called the Steinberger Nile Palace and its a 5 star hotel. This is what we are going to do,okay! Now listen to me,listen to me. When we reached the hotel, the porters will carry your lugages from the bus to the lobby. You will wait in the lobby and identify your luggages. And then, Angel and I will give you your room keys. After you get the room keys, write your room number on the tag that we will give you,write your room number okay.Then the porter will bring your bags to your room.
Now remember, its up to you if you want t tip the porters Because the tip is included in your accomodation already. But if you want to give its up to you,its up to you. Understand?
He got some mumbling responses from our tired souls.
As we neared the Steinberger,Angel reminded us again: "Okay PARLO group! Remember what Muhammad said just now. Wait for your bags at the lobby and Muhammad and me will check-in and give you the keys. After you got your rooms, take a rest. We will go for dinner at 6.00 pm. We will have our dinner outside,not at the hotel.
Finally we arrived at the Steinberger Nile Palace hotel, its west side facing the Nile and its eat side facing the Khalid El-Walid street.
Steinberger Nile Palace,Luxor
At the hotel's sidewalk most of us gathered there,watching the porters take our luggages into the lobby. And I wonder why we stood there watching? Was it bcoz we are worried that our luggage might be mishandled? Or might get lost from the bus into the lobby(which was less that 20 metres away)? Or was it bcoz we don't trust the porters?For me,I just wanna make sure my luggages did get out of the bus' belly.
Inside the lobby(which is not big but nicely done and you have to pass through a body scanner) some sat on the provided sofa but most had to stand. While Angel and Muhammad was busy at the counter, we took a peek at whats available in the Steinberger. The courtyard is big and dotted with tables and chairs. Right in the middle is a small but attractive fountain.As you go west there are steps leading to the restaurants and bars and the western block of the hotel rooms.
After 20 minutes or so, Angel and Muhammad asked us to gather for our keys. We got room 414, on the east side,facing the Khalid El_Walid street.
Angel: Okay!All have your keys now,right? You can go to your rooms now. The porters will carry your bags,but if you want to take it on you own,its up to you. My room will be 215.215. If there is anything you want or any problem at all,call my room. I will check with you all afterward,okay. And remember, be down here by 5.45pm because we will take the same bus again for our dinner.
Most were eager to be in the rooms. Some have had distended bladders for an hour or so.
We were given an extra bed for Hafiz, but since the room is spacious enough the 3 single beds doesn't hindred our movements. We asked for a sejadah and got the kiblat's bearing. I was informed that maghrib will be at 5.10pm( now this will sure cause a lot of headache to me). We managed to do our solat jamak and qasar for Zuhr and Asr'. My wife was exhausted at lie down(and fell asleep,as usual).Hafiz was busy with his new N73( he bought it 2 days before our trip).
I headed for my favourite place in any hotel,the balcony.Our room is on the 4th floor and the balcony overlooked the main street,Khalid El-Walid St.With a packof Gudang Garam,an ashtray, a Kuka Kula(Coca Cla) and Dean Koontz's Watchers I enjoyed my late noon on the balcony. The street was busy as most of the Luxorians are rushing home in cars, minivan taxis, horse carriages and some on donkeycarts! As a rule, honking was everywhere.Pet pot tit tit they honked each other. And the rhythmic clac!cluc! sounds of the horses' hooves make it like music.
They sky was brightly blue with spots of dense clouds decorating it. As dusk sets in, the visual changes that I witnessed was amazing. From the brightly blue sky it got into darker shades of blue and yellosh to orangish and different range of red before blackness takes over the sky. With it the clouds too produced a spectacular transformation. Its as if you are watching an art piece being drawn on canvas and conpleted within 15 minutes.
By 5.45 pm we went down to the lobby.The bus was there. Muhammad was having a fag with the bus driver.Everyone was eager for dinner,our first proper meal in Egypt.
Muhammad explained to us that he had chosen a restaurant which serves Egyptian food. The ride was about 15 minutes and finally we were at the Kebab Land, Big Boss restaurant.
Looking at the signboard: Big Boss restaurant. Ard al-Kebab, Kebab Land , Egyptian Test.
Certain things came to mind. I wondered if the owner is a fan of Bruce Lee's the Big Boss. Or maybe the boss is big(body size or any of his appendages for that matter). but it was the last line that made me curious. Egyptian Test.
Now what could that mean? We are here to test some Egyptian food or are we here to taste Egyptian food? But realizing that this spelling mistakes are worse in our country( be it in singboards,buntings or subtitles), I assumed it could mean Egyptian taste.
The restaurant was a small one which could 40 ppl at a time. Dinner came in courses( and all our set meals during the trip came in courses). The food was fantastic.
On our way back to the Steinberger, Muhammad briefed us of our programme for tomorrow.
Muhammad:" Okay everbody! How was dinner? Good? Okay, tomorrow, wake-upcall will be at 4.30 am, 4.30 am okay. Be at the lobby by 5.30am. Bring down all your luggages.Don't leave anything behind. We are checking out at 6.00am.
Tomorrow morning we are going to Aswan and we must be with the convoy by 6.30am.if we are late we will miss the first convoy and will have to wait the next convoy at 11.00am.
We will have our breakfast on the bus.The hotel will prepare packed breakfast for us,okay! Understand everybody?
By 8.00pm we were in our room. Mrs TA was tired and sleepy but managed to watch TV( they have many channels too with recent movies and series). Hafiz...what else but his new gadget ,the N73. As usual, the balcony is mine. The street was still bustling with life. I slept at 2.00am that night( and that jumpstarted my recent episode of insomnia)
Next: I will skip the journey to Aswan,but will tell about Karnak and Luxor Temples(which we visited after we returned to Luxor on the cruise). Once I finished with Luxor I will write about Aswan and the cruise.
Peek-a-boo: the beautifully crafted crstal in Aswan:
Kandungan posting mungkin ada kena mengena atau tidak dengan makhluk yang hidup atau yang telah tiada.Kalau sapa-sapa terasa nak buat macamana kan. Sapa makan cabai melaka dia pedaih laa