Hawkes Bay NZ Water trail

Monday, April 3, 2017

Are you tourists or archaeologists?

Now that I'm home and sleeping off ferocious jet lag, I find myself mulling over this comment, the parting question from a disappointed guardian in the Valley of the Nobles. Instead of racing through the dusty and claustrophobic tombs in 10 minutes like most tour bus visitors, then quickly pressing a thin and grubby E£5 of baksheesh into the outstretched hand of the attendant, in one particularly richly decorated tomb my daughter and I had spent an hour and a half taking turns to read aloud from our American University of Cairo archaeological guidebook. One of us sat on the stoop of a stone false ba door, reading aloud from the book, while the other studied the wall paintings and hieroglyphics, register by register. Then we switched. It was a fascinating way to visit this archeological treasure. It is the reason why we'd made the long and challenging trip to Egypt in the first place. The attendant was quickly bored, gave up, and disappeared outside for a smoke. Ironically if he'd bothered to come back as we were leaving we'd have given him a tip because he'd been observant enough to realize that hassle-free time was what we wanted and would willingly pay for.
This is the irony of Luxor. Keep out of our face and it's win win. The old ways of aggressive hassle don't work with the ever-shrinking group of western visitors who bring the most needed foreign currency with them. But old ways are so hard to release. What's the definition of insanity? Keep on doing the same thing but expect a different result?

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