Saturday, April 21, 2007

Travel: Looking at Egypt from Cairo to Luxor (
More from Oliver Phillips and his recent trip to Egypt, who gives his impressions not only of the key tourist sites, but of the country that houses them: "Despite the fact nearly all have water and electricity supplies, old habits die hard and some women still sit on the water's edge, washing their eating utensils or clothes in the river, while talking to their neighbours.
Then, at Aswan, I passed a river-taxi and watched open-mouthed as an Egyptian in a suit and tie, scooped up a glassful of the Nile and drank it. The local boatmen informed us they did likewise and were immune to the multitude of bacteria.
Of course the river featured strongly in our visit for 80 per cent of the population live in the valley - a 20-mile wide stretch of fertile land between the arid sandstone mountains on one side and the Sahara on the other.
The crisp definition of fertile and arid was remarkable. We travelled comfortably by train from Cairo to Luxor. It took nine hours, which might seem like hell, but it was fascinating."

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