Monday, October 30, 2006

Fancy Dress

Day 10
We had arrived at Luxor late the previous night, but were staying on the boat for one more night. This was the one morning when we had a lie in, so it was up for lunch (loud clanging noise along the corridor made sure we all knew it was lunchtime!). In the afternoon, we bused it to Karnak Temple. Erm. No reports. Another temple! Actully there were a few interesting things I came away with. Firstly is - how did they build these huge stone structures? They had a kind of scaffolding, which is low-grade mud bricks piled up and removed when it's built. At this temple, because it's unfinished, they have left these structures in place, allowing us to work this out. Also, how do they build these enormous columns? There were unfinished columns here too, and they are effectively a big pile of uneven large stones on top of each other. Only afterwards do they smooth the edges down to all be in line. Finally, Cleopatra's Needle in London came from here. I hadn't realised it's an original obelisk.

Anyway, the evening was time for the Fancy Dress Party. We had been out to a local bazaar to buy some Egyptian clothes. Didn't spend much - mine was 30E£, about £3. For that I received a rather dirty long dressy thing, and a skullcap. The guy I bought it from told me that it was just a bit of dust on the front, and I should bring it back if it didn't wash out. Well it didn't, as it was where the material hadn't been dyed properly. But as he and I both knew, our boat was sailing and there was no way I would be able to bring it back! Git! It's funny walking through the markets, the different tactics they have to latch on to people. The cry of "Welcome to Alaska" is a popular one, which apparently arose from the over-vigorous air-conditioning one finds everywhere (I used this on a local to good effect in the Tex Mex on the final evening!). They also try to guess where one is from - "G'day mate, you from Ozzztraaalia?" "Captain Cook"! I guess the impressive thing is that they have the ability to do this in practically every major language in the world - Japanese, Dutch, French, Spanish, I heard all of these in my time in Egypt. The boat we joined at Aswan previously had a large group of Spanish on board, so all of the touts were helling "Hola, come estas?" etc at us as we went up and down.

So all of us dressed up, and hit the lounge bar. Most people had made the effort to dress up, although with the group of Indians it wasn't clear whether it was fancy dress or their normal gear! The evening started with some games. First up, belly dancing for the girls. One girl picked from every group, and they had to dance individually in front of everyone, and then get scored based on clapping! I wouldn't have liked to do that myself without a large number of beers!

After the party we went aboard to a local shisha café, still dressed in our gear (Shady said it wouldn't be insulting for us to wear it!) before heading back to the boat, up on deck, and chatting away until 3:30am. Worth noting that when the boat was sailing it was quite windy up on deck, and one would need a jumper or blanket to avoid feeling cold with the sun down. During the day on the other hand, the breeze was essential. Would have been roasting without it.

I had left my mosquito repellent in Cairo, and there were plenty of them about, so I was wearing my anti-mozzy wrist and ankle bands that Eunjeong gave me. Unfortunately these became a source of ridicule, particularly as I would be bitten four inches away from them. Anyway, by this stage of the tour, I'm proud to say that I had picked up the nickname Mozzyman! And of course, I couldn't give in and stop wearing them. So mozzy bands were worn for the rest of the trip! Go Mozzyman, go!

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