The train trip North

November 14th, 2009 at 4:34 pm by David Farrar

I left Luxor Thursday night. The Palace Nile hotel was very good value – only NZ$40 a night for a very good hotel room. Both Turkey and have cheap hotels. Interestingly though the food is not that cheap – for example the dinner would cost more than the accommodation.

I took the sleeper train to Cairo, and then a day train the remainign two hours to Alexandria.

At Luxor train stations I spent several minutes telling various touts no I did not need their assistance. But then as I get to the train track, a Police Officer politely asks what train I am on. I tell him, and he (so I thought) kindly took me down to the right carriage. Just as I am thinking how nice that was, he tells me that I can “reward” him if I am grateful.

I couldn’t believe it – even the effing Police want a tip. And yes of course I gave him one – you don’t generally say no to armed police. I’m not sure if this constitutes my first act of bribery of a public official!

tra1

This is my room. Was pretty reasonable for US$50, when you compare to the cost of flying.

tra2

A typical rural scene. The train windows were very dirty. While the train inside was actually very nice, the exterior looked like it was 50 years old and had never been washed.

tra3

Most areas though are like this. Makes you realise how lucky we are in NZ.

alx1

The hotel in Alexandria is on the Mediterranean Coast, and you can see the Mediterranean Sea in the background.

alx2

And the actual beach is only one minute away. Alexandria is not so much a tourist city (even though there is stuff to see) but a holiday destination for many in the .

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10 Responses to “The train trip North”

  1. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    At Luxor train stations I spent several minutes telling various touts no I did not need their assistance. But then as I get to the train track, a Police Officer politely asks what train I am on. I tell him, and he (so I thought) kindly took me down to the right carriage. Just as I am thinking how nice that was, he tells me that I can “reward” him if I am grateful.
    I couldn’t believe it – even the effing Police want a tip. And yes of course I gave him one …

    So, DPF, you weren’t tempted to tell him his reward would be in heaven?

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  2. Sushi Goblin (419 comments) says:

    The tip would have been worth it if DPF said “Mazel Tov” as he handed the cop his baksheesh.

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  3. Interested Party (61 comments) says:

    I have loved your posts on turkey and Egypt. I found in my extensive travels that the egyptions were the most in your face and slimey hosts to deal with. At least with some other countries they did it with humour. Female travellers have a worst experiance. I recall on a ferry trip from israel to Jordan we had a crowd of men five deep just standing there watching us, they were fascinated with us westerners, especilly the girls amongst is, although this crowd weren’t unfriendly.

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  4. Johnboy (15,390 comments) says:

    Obviously you are not hugely ugly (like their wimmin) and were not wearing the hijab. Same reason murris like raping blondies. A change is as good as a rest! Come in negative karma. :) TRUTH WILL OUT!

    [DPF: That isn't truth but vileness. 50 demerits]

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  5. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    *Pop* goes little Johnny’s cherry.
    (And quite a loud pop it was, too)

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  6. Johnboy (15,390 comments) says:

    Yeh at last.

    Its taken a long time I might add.

    Thank you for your generosity David both in allowing me to go this long without a score and the magnificence of your judgement when the mood took you.

    Have I achieved any sort of record by the way like 1600 without demerit?

    No negative karma yet——-?

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  7. Johnboy (15,390 comments) says:

    “And yes of course I gave him one ”

    Tut tut tut (not Pharoah Tut). Still whatever it takes! :)

    [ 5,000,000 demerits]

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  8. Richard (95 comments) says:

    Yeah .. well I was a tad shocked with this too when I was there

    They I relaised they all earn almost nothing, so they are just trying to make a living. Just keep your tips (baksheesh) to $E 5 or so

    For $E2 you can take pictures in places you are not supposed to, so $E 5 is heaps.

    You do get to the point where you just say “No” to everyone offering you help. I cant remember the word for it, but there is a nice “No thanks, leave me alone” phrase, but I am sure a friendly local will tell you it (for baksheesh of course!)

    Did you get stung as you got off the train? Normally that’s $E 20 – by then we were sick of it … so spent 5 minutes carefully crafting our exit to avoid the conductor (esp since we paid a proper rate of $US 60 for the ride).

    Richard

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  9. Murray M (455 comments) says:

    Yep spent seven days in Cairo once. The Egyptians are the most devious, dishonest, corrupt, horrible little bunch of arabs I have ever had the misfortune to meet. The Turks on the other hand are great.

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  10. David Farrar (1,868 comments) says:

    Most of the people here are wonderful. Several people have helped translate for me, when they could tell I was not being understood. The staff at the hotels are great, and the professional guides have been excellent also.

    The touts are what spoil it somewhat. Can’t blame them for trying to make some money, but they do harm the country overall as it does put you off return visits.

    Turkey had some touts also, but not as bad as Egypt. However again, they are just a minority – I have met and talked to many wonderful people here.

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