I feel sad for Luxor. Said to be the largest open air museum in the world, perhaps the most visited city in Egypt aside from Cairo. Yet on the street I see stationery taxis with groups of drivers sitting idly, hundreds of horse carriages without a passenger. When I walked onto the street, I get swamped by drivers and riders begging for a business, they're like tigers that have been hungry for too long, the moment they spotted a prey, pounced on it at first chance. I had a horse carriage rider abandoned his horse carriage with his child (not more than 4 years old) on it, ran across the street just hoping to strike a RM5 ride. I took the ride, and tipped him three times the price when he offered to receive less than what we agreed on upon reaching our destination. He was so happy, he kissed the money, raised his hand above and thanked Allah. My heart broke a little more.
I had people lie, cheat, and stalked me for an entire street just for a dollar. The amount of available low and high ends hotels (more than any city in Egypt) showed a once thriving town filled with endless tourists, but now feels like a diminishing town with poorly maintained buildings. It was said during its glory, the river Nile once had 300 cruises cruising between Aswan and Luxor has now barely even 30 at any given time, the countless hot air balloons that once filled the sun rise mornings over the Valley of the Kings had but two handfuls this morning we went.
Opening hours of various operations vary, everyone seems to have a say of their thought on the exact time the museum is open. And it changes, from guide books to trip advisor to locals. On the street you see shops with little to no tourists for long period of times. Shop owners would walk out of the shop asking us to purchase a bottle of water, or a bag of chips. It's impossible to walk down the street without someone coming up to you asking for a ride, for a tour, for money, to buy something or to offer you something in exchange for tips when you look as foreign as Asians go on African continent.Have the 2011 revolution and recent ISIS bombings killed a country that survives largely on its tourism? It reeks of desperation (for a business) everywhere I go, but nothing prepared me for the stank that Luxor exudes. It feels eerily quiet as I'm sitting in my hotel room typing this. I had imagined a bustling city of backpackers and tourists when I first arrived. I did not expect this.