On the way back to the boat after touring the temples, our guide asked if we would be interested in seeing the nightlife of Luxor. Of course, we jumped at the opportunity. We were kind of dragging ass by this time, so we preferred an early evening tour rather than a true ‘late night’ excursion.
After dinner and a nap at the boat, we met him on shore where he had a horse-drawn carriage ready for us. There are hundreds of these carriages in every city that gets tourist traffic. They are cheap and can get you places just as easily as a cab and are easier to find than a cab. The wooden carriages seem to be straight out of photos from the 1800s. The large wheels a have layer of rubber on them to help with the ride on modern streets. And they are ALL DECORATED!! They are covered with buttons and painted flowers and patterns or with cut metal shapes riveted to the sides. Each carriage is a piece of art painstakingly created by the owners. These carriages are their livelihoods and they care about them like pets. The horses look miserable and haggard, but I imagine they are just as well taken care of at the end of the day.
Our guide initially took us through the back streets of Luxor through the old town. Where the oldest buildings are located. Some of these are centuries old and still inhabited. These were also the poorest streets. I felt bad about gawking at their decrepitude, but I also wanted to experience the country, even the ugly side. For the most part, the streets were deserted with few people about. However, we soon saw why, everyone was down at the night market. It turns out that most Egyptians sleep during the day and come out to do their shopping and business at night after the sun has set and it’s cooler. Makes perfect sense!
When we went through, the market was not yet at full stride. It really doesn’t get going till around midnight and runs to till four or five in the morning. The streets through the market area were narrow and crowded. Sheri had been invited up to sit by the driver and steer the horse and, of course, jumped at the chance. She was excited until we got to the crowded streets, then she was all worried about running over someone.
Our guide explained that Egyptian women love fashion as much as anyone else and one of the busiest and most expensive streets in the city was dedicated to women’s fashion stores. He offered to take Sheri there, but by this time we were both exhausted and called it a day.
I would have loved to explore the market on foot and check out the food market. One thing we failed to explore in Egypt was the local food. We usually make a point of it when traveling, but on this trip, we were rarely out and about in town. We ate most meals on the boat which did have some Egyptian-style options, but nothing I would call local. Next time, I want to explore that aspect of the culture more.