Day 12 was planned as a light day, but boy did we need it. Breakfast includes good coffee in a French press. Over fruit, cereal and eggs, Trish and I are surprised at how much the girls retained from the day before, even though the heat made them loopy. Emma talks effortlessly about Egyptian dynasties and Lily explains articulately how the lead tomb excavators would die from inhaling the lethal mold and bacteria in the freshly opened tombs — this being the scientific explanation for the “Pharaoh’s Curse.”
After breakfast, we hang around our room for a few hours, which is a real luxury for us. The kids are happy to watch any American TV they can find, including the now reviled but once cherished, “Barney.” We tease Emma about it.
Around 11 a.m., I haggle for a ride to the Luxor Museum, a mile or so up the road. We almost don’t go inside when the ticket woman wants $60 for the four of us and I don’t have enough cash. But I jog a few blocks to one broken ATM, and another few blocks to a working one to get the money. We were very glad we did it. It’s a brilliantly curated museum, with about 100 or so supurb Egyptian artifacts presented very close to the viewer so the detail is extremely visible.
Many of the larger statues have side boards that show how they were unearthed, repaired and restored. That’s interesting. And it’s the best air-conditioned place in Luxor! Emma keeps saying, “That’s just amazing” with real awe. She got a lot out of it. Lily loved it, but got scared at the mummy. I carried her to it in my arms, but she took one look and buried her head in my shoulder. She whispered, “That looks like nightmares.” She’s right.
So we canceled our next stop, which was going to be the Mummification museum. We promised the girls an afternoon in the pool with pizza and we weren’t going to renege. At least half the people around the pool have pretty bad sunburns. We have been very diligent with sunscreen, and today is no exception. After a few hours of playing in the pool, we order pizza. The olive/onion pizza Trish orders comes with anchovies instead and the calzone has eggs and baloney inside. How or why? We don’t know. It’s just Egypt. The girls really like their cheese pizza, though.
For dinner I consulted the guide book and found a restaurant along the Nile right outside our hotel. The food is pretty good with non-pushy service and very cheap: $30 for the family. We watch the boats come in and the sun set. It was a pleasant evening. At night, we drive up to Temple Karnak, which has the largest ancient religious site in the world, for a sound and light show. These shows are universally described as cheesy, but everyone seems to go and there isn’t much else to do at night for a tourist anyway.
Well, it scares the kids and disappointments the adults. We do get cool views of the amazing Karnak temple lit up at night, but the narration and script are terrible. It does get us excited for tomorrow, when we go early for our real tour of Karnak, the earthly home of the Egyptian gods.
[Photos by Trisha Creekmore]