Posted by: Dana | 2010/01/22

From Luxor with Love!!

So, I’m getting ready for bed after spending our first rest day in Luxor, a town on the East Bank of the Nile. We had a beautiful day here in Luxor–and productive, too!  I handwashed my laundry, cleaned and tweaked my bike, changed the saddle, caught up with family and friends via email and skype, overcompensated for several days without chocolate by eating too much of it, reorganized my gear, etc.  Last night, I went to a lecture arranged by the Tour d’Afrique (TDA from here on out) by an Egyptologist who gave us the history of the excavations of the Luxor Temple and the nearby Temples of Karnak and today I visited the sites.  Karnak is a magnificent and expansive complex of sanctuaries, obelisks, and pylons begun in the Middle Kingdom and excavated by crews of international archaeologists.  The Avenue of Sphinxes, which originally consisted of 730 human-headed, lion-bodied statues connects the two sites.  58 of these sphinxes remain and for just a buck, some sketchy guy led me behind the ropes restricting tourists, so I could climb up and sit on one.

The ride to get here is worth describing.  First, the road out of Safaga went straight up.  60km of straight uphill into headwinds and then another 60 or so km once it flattened out.  Another really tough day.  I rode with a faster and stronger group, in tight pacelines, to help one another battle the headwinds.  For those who don’t cycle, this cuts down on wind resistance, so the riders behind the leaders have a slightly easier time–and we simply rotate the leader every few minutes for the entire day.  Yesterday, which was a 90+km ride into Luxor was totally different from our previous days of riding.  We came out of the desert and into the villages in the Nile Valley.  The dry and dusty landscape turned green and lush and before we knew it, we were once again dodging donkeys, tuk-tuks, trucks, police check-points, and children.  I was in the middle of the pack and so by the time I passed, all of the villagers had seen previous riders pass, and all came out to see.  Out of the shacks emerged hundreds of shouting and cheering children.  It was surreal.  Children lined the streets and shouted as we passed.  Some raced us on bikes and others on foot.  It was totally crazy.  My arm almost got knocked off by some eager youngsters giving me high-fives.

So from here, we ride another couple of days in the Nile Valley through Edfu and Aswan before we get on a ferry on Lake Nasser which will take us to the border of Sudan at Wadi Halfa.  I’m not sure exactly why we go this route–on the ferry–but apparently this is what we have to do.  It sounds like the ferry will be miserable–we’ll be on it for two days along with thousands of other people, cargo, livestock, etc.  We’ve been told to bring food and some basic supplies in case we don’t meet up with our TDA trucks for a few days after the ferry.  I guess the trucks could get held up at the border.

We’re still on pavement for a few more days and probably through to Khartoum, actually.  So, while the riding has been long and hard, I don’t think we’ve seen anything yet.  One quick note, the Egyptian men and boys are aggressive.  In just one day here, we saw lots of harrassment for money and even blatant and inappropriate physical contact from young men and boys.  A fellow female rider (who happens to be a cop in Toronto) smacked a boy today as we walked in town after he grabbed her several times.  Go girl.

No clue when I’ll be back online.  And, on the computer front, another rider who is a computer scientist, loaded a new operating system (linux, ubuntu) onto my computer so I have some basic functioning AND most parts from the scrapbook my friends made.  The computer does not have the capabilities it should have, and I’m still frustrated by the technical difficulties, but I am using the netbook to type this (but have to ask a friend to post it) and still have trouble uploading photos.  Stay with me.  I’ll figure it all out.  And, I’ll get some pictures up here soon.   Love from Luxor and I’ll be back in touch from Sudan!!


  1. D,
    Try not to get too close to the “assess” on the ferry!!! Keep up the great job. Sounds so very difficult, but spectacular. I’ll take care of sending you the care package with the things you requested. ILY lots and lots.

  2. Dana, I think your trip now qualifies as a “GAP Scenario”.

  3. Dana,
    Just logging on to your website to catch your updates. Wow…amazing is all I have to say. I remember our US ride and can’t imagine the ‘issues’ you are facing. I think of you daily and will keep up with you on your blog. Ride like the wind!!! Be safe.

  4. HI Dana, i am really enjoying your perspectives & looking at things from external eye, also sorry for any “not so good” experience in Egypt, just keep up the good work & maintain high energy & morale. Woth mentioning next summer I am going for bike ride in Europe to raise awareness & fund for early childhood development in south Egypt where you are now cycling now, finally god bless you & keep the wheel going , GO GO GO 🙂

  5. D, your travels seem great so far, hard, but rewarding. Keep up the great work and maintaining your EFI status! Nice blog so far…peace out sista!

  6. Hey there Dana,
    It’s Patrick from the school in Woodley Park. Wow, I just read your post and I can’t imagine how uplifting it is to ride through those villages and see the happiness you bring tho the faces of those children. Also, I really enjoyed your descriptions of the temples and sites you’ve visited. It sounds as though you’re doing a great job maintaining despite the exhausting daily rides and conditions. I’ll be sure to continue following your blog as you continue the journey. Be strong, be safe, and best of luck!

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