Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Overnight train to Luxor

It seemed on the surface of things to make a lot of sense. Take the overnight train from Cairo to Luxor. This would mean not having to spend another night at the Hotel Gloria. It would also mean not having to spend a night in the untested and most likely faded comfort of its equivalent in Luxor. In wasn't a bet, but somehow we all figured that putting ourselves in the hands of first class Egyptian rail had to be the best choice. We walked to the station from the hotel. There were lots of bags, and lots of bumps, and it
wasn't as far as I thought, but was further than I would liked to have walked with that much stuff. Getting to the track we handed our tickets to a porter who took us to this room. Soon 2 other guys showed up. One took this first picture. We weren't this happy. As the train pushed along a few hours later a porter came in and whispered in the ears of each man in turn. It was clear that with the donation of a few pounds more they were being taken away so that they could stretch out and sleep. I was not sad to see
them go. With each departure, morsels of delicious space started to open up.

Then there was just 3 of us and this seemed now suddenly right, though not quite perfect. Then the porter came and whispered in my ear. It was late, I was delirious with fatigue, I wanted a bed. I followed the man down the corridor with horizontal heaven whispering to my shattered brain. He took me to a room just like ours. Nobody was in it but there were a

strangers bags on one of the seats. I demanded my money back and walked back several cars to where the boys were. The train decided to punish me. An hour later a strange Egyptian man came into our sleepy room through the open door with a ticket saying he wanted to sit where my feet had been. I grumbled, sat up, and glowered at he who was taking away my peace. Soon he just got up and left his jacket in his place.

Sometime later, and I do no know when, he

came back and took away his coat. I vowed to never take a first class Egyptian train again. The normal cars, with reclining seats even looked more comfortable. At the end of the long night we were met by this scene. The ancient splendor of Luxor suddenly seemed worth the long tiresome journey.

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