Thursday, January 10, 2008

Jejak al-Misr 7: TheSteinberger Nile Palace

Trio in VOK(infront Ramses III tomb)
foto tomb gatekeeper
BQ



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
tokasid
BQ



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.


Steiberger's courtyard
tokasid BQ


Steinberger: you can go here and there
tokasid BQ



Courtyard : pre-dawn
Hafiz N73



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.

Steinberger Room 414
Hafiz N73

Steinberger's balcony: Luxor skylines
tokasid BQ


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.

Kebab Land: Egyptian Test(shouldn't it be Taste?)
Hafiz N73

Food: the taste of Egyptian Test in Kebab Land
tokasid BQ



Kebab Land's landscape
Hafiz N73

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:
Crystals..reasons for ladies to go Egypt
tokasid BQ



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

28 comments:

de_kerinchi said...

Salam saudara dr. tokasid,

salam maal hijrah...semoga dirahmati Allah s.w.t.

Mat Salo said...

As usual, GREAT descriptive narration bro'. Enjoyed it. Ha-ha, your favorite place in any hotel --the balcony. Gudang Garam time! Bro' takde rokok mesir yang sedap ke?

I say, pergi tour ni hectic kayak nya. Ngak bisa santai, ya' Pak. But enjoyable just the same, I'm sure.

Great Post!

Salaam Ma'al Hijrah, Pak Doc.

Kata Tak Nak said...

I envy you la doc, dapat pi makan angin di negeri firaun tu. I told my wife dah, besides Pakistan, my father's country, I would like to visit Egypt, that is after going for my haj la kan. Waiting for the next installment and for the grand appearance of the belly dancers.

Fauziah Ismail said...

Salam Tokasid
When we were at the Holiday Inn Cairo Citystars, we made the security go bonkers because we were going in and out macam hotel tu mak bapak kita yang punya.
After a while, they just let us through the main door instead of the scanner. At the shopping complex next door, we literally had to empty our pockets before going through the scanner.
A novelty for us especially seeing all these scanners before entering public areas but it is a norm there.
Crystals? Asfour is the place. Did you go there?

tokasid said...

Saudara de_kerinchi:

Ameen ya Rabb, utk saudara jugak begitu.

tokasid said...

Pak MS:

Balcony is the choice coz you can just sit and relax and enjoy a smoke or two without having to worry about your missus going bonkers due to the smoke signals you caused by the Gudang.And you don't pollute the hotel room.

Never tried any Egyptian fag bukan apa dong pak, takut rasanya sama-in kertas koran pak!saya sudah rasa-in rokoknya di negeri Tiongkok dulu, seperti ngisap koran lama pak!

Yes, packaged tour is hectic and compartmentalised to you. You get to spend 2-3 hours here then off you go to another site. So it depends on what you want.If you are a history buff like me, 2 hours at a site is inadequate for you to know about the history of that site. But in view of the limited time available and the so many places to go, what the tour agencies provide is satisfactory.

Makaseh ngunjungi sama aku pak.

tokasid said...

Che'gu:

Tak nak apa nak envy nya che'gu.Aku pun pi pasai wife dok aim bertahun2 dah nak pi sana jadi dia yg kumpoi duit.

Yes, you should go to Pakistan at least once. I have several friends who are 2nd generation Pakistani Malaysian(like you) or memang born and breed in Pakistan yang pernah pergi/balik Pakistan. Their story of their journey in Pakistan always fascinates me and I always think : bila aku nak boleh pi Pakistan.

Only one setback, of late ni banyak sangat volatile political situations di sana.

During the invasion of Afghanistan by the US forces, I was drafted by Mercy to be in the 2nd group of humanitarian help. Unfortunately for some personal and bussiness problems, I can't make it to Pakistan or Afhanistan.

Yes, the haj must be our top priority. Mesir and other places will come after that.

Belly dancers tengah dok tukaq baju che'gu.Sabaq noo...LOL!

tokasid said...

Fauziah:

you are right. I noticed all big hotels and shopping centres and well known tourist related industry will have the body scanning machine at their main entrance. Infact, all the cruise ships on the Nile have that too.So if your ship were stacked to one another you'll have to pass several scanners to go to the shore( I had to pass by 4 other ships' scanner to go out in Luxor(on the belly dance night).

I was told this had become a normal thing after the 1997 incident in Luxor when a radical group took hostage and killed about 48 tourists at the Hatshepsut Temple on the west bank. Since then,most buildings related to tourist and if yu are going anywhere in a group(foreign tourists) you need to go in a convoy.Our trip to Aswan and to Abu Simbel were in convoys.

The crystal photo was from a shop in Aswan, they actually specialised in Perfumes and aromatherapy oils but they have a small workshop in their basement for the crystals.

Asfour, we did went there.I'll write about the goings on in Asfour.

cakapaje said...

Salam Doc,

Lama benar tunggu sambungan ni, letak le selingan next time ye :)

But I enjoyed this one a lot, perhaps because ada cite pasai kebab - dah lama tak makan yang decent benau!

And...minta permisi ambil gambaq ye doc :)

AFRAR YUNUS said...

salam Hijrah Dr
tu dia.. jalan sakan di bumi anbiya. pengalaman tu yg paling best.baguslah , dapat dikongsi bersama.

tokasid said...

Shah CA:

Betul la...lama aku tak buat entry. Next time aku boh selingan. Masaalahnya selingan2 ringan dah ada dalam draft tapi seminggu ni dapat penyakit PL pulak...kuat tidor tu yg selingan pun tak di publish kan.

Aku pun dah lama tak makan Kebab di malaysia kita nih sebab kebab outlet kat Jusco Melaka dah tutup.

Gambar2 tu tak jadi hal syeh.Sapa-sapa pun boleh ambil.Aku bagi open cek...sudah diberi permisi lesen besar pak Shah.

tokasid said...

Saudara Afrar:

lama kita tak singgah menyinggahi noo....

Alhamdulillah jejak Misr banyak membuka mata saya.

Kata Tak Nak said...

Oh terlupa, aku awai2 lagi ambik gambaq yang 3 beranak tu. Jangan marah ya pak. Ooo penyakit PL tu merbahaya, negara buleh lingkup macam tu.

muteaudio said...

Salam doc,
Awat yg serius sgt tu?

tokasid said...

Mute:

Bukan serious tapi tak dan nak ghenyeh gate keeper tu pi tekan shutter dah. Hang tau lepaih tu dia buat apa? Minta duit pasai tolong snap gambaq. terkedu aku di depan pintu Fir'aun.

Zabs said...

Salam TA,
Gambar yang sungguh menarik dan laporan yang amat lengkap.
Kalau tidak diberitahu, akan disangka gambar adik-beradik tu!
Thank you for all the sharing. Take care.

tokasid said...

Pak Zabs:

Banyak lagi yg menarik akan saya storykan lepas ni pak zabs,InsyaALLAH.

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

Steinberger sounds like some german jibberish aint it doc? i imagined their hotels to have more muslim names to it, like, al-Iman ke, al-Unta ke, or something in that line lar...

i may not be the one to experience it but even a 20min short drive to the hotel you need to be on a lookout. its not everyday you get to view egypt's scenery, albeit on the highway. you could miss anything egyptian even with just a 5minute-nap.

oh, and...the book you're reading? should have gotten rid of it, enjoy the view of the street instead!

hehehe..sound harsh doc but just some tips of the dos and donts while traveling. rugi lar buat something that we can always do back home. as the saying goes, while in egypt, dance like the egyptian.

nice piece btw. inofrmative. thanks.

tokasid said...

Kerp:

The hotel's name I guess is like any other parts of the world,will depend on its owner/investors.There lots of non-arabic names in Egypt.Just like here there are the Renaissance, Hiltons, Four Seasons etc. I guess that will attract caucasian guests.

When we took the trip to VOK everyone was awake and absorbing the scenery and happenings on Luxor roads with our oohh..and aahh....Then the VOK really took its toll on us I think. Going into tombs,ascending and descending the tombs made us tired.Thats why most take a nap.Luckily I was still fully awake.

The book was actually to accompany me to the 'banking time' and at night when I can't sleep and the night was too dark to see anything.

Throughout the whole trip I manage to read only 3 pages!A page on the balcony and the rest was on the toilet bowls!LOL.

Raden Galoh said...

Salam bro...I'm lost for words la...you have such a good skill describing a journey.,.. buat saya teringinnnnnnn sangat nak jejak kaki ke Misr tu...

Ehem, Mrs TA tak beli crystal ke?

tokasid said...

Raden:

Kalau tgk gambar saja pun memang teringin nak ke Egypt,sis.

About the crystals, we went to places. The first was in Aswan(where the photo was taken) and another one in Cairo, the well known Asfour.
Beli crystals? Errrr...boleh ke orang perempuan kalau dah nampak crystals yang cantik2 tak beli??LOL!

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Doc!

Im back...Whoa...Looks like you've been busy with your Mesir updates! When I left, you were at 'Jejak al-Misr 4'...

I think...Hehe...


I have a lot of catching up to do! Will start now...

blackpurple @ jowopinter said...

Salam Doc,

Semakin banyak cerita dan gambar. Elok dibukukan ni doc. Hehehe.

Kabab itu macam sedap nampaknya.

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

right on doc. good to know that even books can take the back seat when you travel. contrary to how you managed to only do 2 pages atas jamban, thats the only place that deserve some reading when you're on vacation.

*jadi quadraphlegic ni susah sikit nak membaca while membuang. full concentration needs to be given on the bowel below...hehehhehe

tokasid said...

Daphne;

You've had a long 'disapperance act'.Take your time to read.No hurry and once you are okay,do write again(next posting,new posting)

tokasid said...

Wak Pinter:

Syukran Wak. Saya hanya layak publish di blog sahaja.

Kabab memang sedap. kalau kat KL banyak tempat makanan timur tengah di kawasan Bukit Bintang. Ada Sahara tent di hotel fortuna,ada Tajine dekat McDonald Bkt Bintang,ada Naab(makanan Iran) dan Tarbush(mknan Lebanon) berdepan dgnMarriot Bkt Bintang.

tokasid said...

Kerp:

Yep! that's right bro. Books as a read in jambans.

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