Saturday, November 24, 2007

Travel: The Nile in even more style

Times Online (Bettany Hughes)

Sunbathing with two sub-machineguns near by is a curious experience. There I was, lazing along the Nile, when our luxurious liner was boarded by armed tourist police. Docked, things got even more exciting. Special operations officers, dressed in black, drove us in convoy, horns blaring, through roadblocks to the Temple of Dendara.

Essential security or showing off? Whichever – the original occupants would have approved: the Pharaohs loved a grand entrance.

I was doing Egypt as I’ve never done it before: expensively. A night beneath the silhouette of the Giza Pyramids in the superlative Mena House Hotel, followed by a week on the new Nile cruiser The Zahra.

Now I’ll confess. Much of this trip indulged every fantasy I’ve ever had. For years I’ve tramped around the Eastern Med and North Africa, so dusty and drenched with sweat that tiny rivulets of mud run from my shoulders to my toes. Back then even a functioning shower was a blessing.

See the above page for the full story.

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