Brooklyn in Luxor

When the Third World Aims a Bit too High…

Before we make tracks to the Luxor Museum, we’ve just got to share this special Egyptian anecdote:

Our tour company, smarTours, does an excellent job in finding and providing outstanding accommodations for its travelers. The Sonesta St. George in Luxor looked to be no exception. In fact, at first glance when entering our room, downright ultra-modern and luxurious. Take the bathroom. Yes. Take. The. Bathroom. (And keep it). When we saw the toilet, more like a Pharaoh’s gilded throne, with its huge array of electronics; buttons, switches, nozzles, and information placards…there was no way we would try to use it (even though we needed it) before a long study. It was an electronically controlled toilet/bidet combination with buttons for types of flushes, douche controls, dryer fan settings, and a call button for help if you got sucked in (kidding). I tried it first and found neither of the two “flush” buttons would do anything more than create a bubble and a gurgle.

We called the front desk and they sent up two maintenance people who pushed buttons, rubbed their chins, and cursed in Arabic for ten minutes. Finally, they pointed around the side and back of the monstrosity where two manual push buttons were hidden and told us to use them from now on. They didn’t work well, but they worked.

What you see in the photo above is not a time machine, nor a space capsule, nor an amusement park photo booth. Yes, it’s a “state-of-the-art” shower/tub/spa combo to suit all your personal hygiene needs. It, too, was chock full of electronics, buttons, knobs, handles, nozzles, and ports. I just wanted to turn a knob, adjust the temperature and stand under a shower. But no. For almost five minutes I stood in the machine and never once got a stream of water to come from the shower head above. Instead, I got hit from every other angle by angry jets of cold, then scalding water while I kept stepping on the drain plug that seemed to operate the spa jets as well. I cursed in Arabic, I think, wrapped myself in a towel and went to the hotel info book on the desk. There was a full page in nine point type, with crude diagrams of how to operate the shower/spa. It showed the knob (that I had been trying to turn to operate the overhead shower). To turn it, though, you had to push in the “white” button on the side. Ours was gone. I stuck a pen point into the hole where the white button should have been, turned the knob and had a nice shower. Sometimes utility trumps luxury.

The Luxor Museum

Thutmosis III – Beautifully restored after being considered a hopeless case

The small, beautifully established Luxor Museum is considered by many as the finest museum in all of Egypt. It’s situated about half way between the Luxor and Karnak Temples and houses a well chosen collection of relics from the theban temples and necropolis. The contents were actually arranged by our own Brooklyn Museum in New York.

This seated, legendary scribe, Amenhotep (No. 4), son of Hapu is somewhat unusual in showing an older, not beautiful subject doing important work. He was also responsible for many of Thebes’ greatest buildings. Gives us all hope.

Remnants of the Wall of Akhenaten. A series of sandstone blocks called, talatat (threes), probably because most were about three hand-lengths. The rare depictions show Akhenaten, his wife, Nefertiti, and temple life.

The collection also contains many artifacts found around Thebes dating from the Old Kingdom through the Mamluk period. Examples of functional pottery on the right and canopic jars, designed to house mumified innards.

On the left a small hall with 16 of the 22 statues uncovered in Luxor Temple in 1989, houses magnificent examples of ancient Egyptian sculpture. Marsha contemplating the pride of the lot; a pristine, quartzite statue of a strong Amenhotep in a pleated kilt.

Handsome relief of the god, Amun

We ended our extraordinary visit at the bust of Amenhotep IV with crossed arms holding the symbol for Justice. May it be served now too.

From the Museum back to the Sonesta. Some food. Another fight with modern technology. And some sleep before our flight back to Cairo for our last full day in Egypt. Make ready for the important, extensive collection of ancient artefacts at the Egyptian Museum. And, a final plunge into the Khan El Khalili Bazaar district for a final chance to shop.

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3 Responses to Brooklyn in Luxor

  1. Jolene says:

    Great pictures Joel. Love your comments. Totally agree about the hotel. A royal PIA from the toilet to the shower.
    Just make it workable and simple…..forget the jets in every direction.
    I really enjoy all your daily trip blogs…

  2. Pauline says:

    The third world does try, though you would prefer something that works! Museums look amazing.

  3. Sue Sholtis says:

    I so enjoy your posting. And I loved the hotel in Luxor! Thanks!

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