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One (bad) Day in Luxor

Denver, Colorado
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171 posts
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One (bad) Day in Luxor

When I return to Egpyt, I likely won't go back to Luxor. (Let the flaming begin! Ha!) Our 36 hours in Luxor started out badly and never improved. The sites however (VOK, Karnak, etc,) were breathtaking and awe-inspiring in ways that words cannot describe.

We arrived via Egypt Air from Cairo around 8pm on May 10th. The flight was fairly empty and we disembarked and quickly got our luggage. We were fully prepared for the throng of taxi drivers as we had already spent 4 days in Cairo. What we were not prepared for was their aggressiveness. We were the only ppl on the flight needing a taxi and they clearly knew it. One guy forcefully grabbed my husband's suitcase from his hand and started walking away with it, I smacked the hand of a man who tried the same with me. My husband then went after his suitcase and pulled it away from the man. I had done my research and knew what a fare to the Sheraton should cost, we were quoted LE80 by the drivers but I firmly stuck to the rate we were willing to pay. The drivers surrounded us, there were probably 6-8 of them and started loudly stating that they would not take our fare unless we paid the LE10 parking ticket for the airport lot in addition to the fare we offered. I politely explained that I would not in fact pay the LE10 that is the cost of their doing business and that in the US I have to pay for parking at my job and I am not reimbursed. Most of the men went away at that point but one man got very loud, stepped into my personal space and started yelling "What is 10 pounds to you?!? Just pay it, it is nothing to you!" To whit, I called the Sheraton, and got a driver who would take us to the hotel for the rate we were willing to pay (plus tip of course). The whole 30 minute ordeal nearly had me tears. Not surprisingly when we were dropped off at the airport for our return, the parking sign clearly states (we took a photo) that the parking fee is LE5. Suffice to say that our airport experience was a microcosm of our entire 36 hours in Luxor - rude, aggressive, unfriendly. I know that tourism is bad and the people are hurting for money but that type of behavior isn't conducive to encouraging the tourist trade.

Our Cairo and Dahab legs of the trip were the complete opposite, thank goodness. I understand that each person's trip and experience is their own, in fact we met a lovely Aussie couple at the Luxor airport on our return flight to Sinai who had had a miserable time in Cairo and loved Luxor. So, please don't take this report to be condeming, it was merely our experience.

California
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485 posts
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1. Re: One (bad) Day in Luxor

Will be arriving in Cairo May 22nd... bracing ourselves. Did you arrange a tour guide or do it on your own. We have always traveled independently but are looking at getting a guide in at least Cairo for our trip.

Denver, Colorado
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171 posts
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2. Re: One (bad) Day in Luxor

Gred, I loved Egypt like you can't imagine, despite our less than stellar day in Luxor. We did nearly everything on our own and felt perfectly safe that way. We were out late every night, just walking around the cities (both Luxor and Cairo) and found that we were often in the company of handfuls of young couples strolling. We did hire a guide for a half day of Coptic and Islamic Cairo through our hotel which we found very valuable because he took us to places off the tourist track and was very open and honest with our pestering questions about their culture, religion, history, etc. We too are usually independent travelers and found no difficulty is doing so in Egypt. I'm sure you will have a wonderful time! One tip -- we learned very quickly that the touts do not respond to a "No" or "No thank you" but if you say "La shukran" they usually seemed to be delighted in the Arabic and backed off immediately.

London, United...
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3. Re: One (bad) Day in Luxor

dfeehan,

Sorry to hear of the bad reception you received in Luxor, :-(

So much DOES I think depend on how an individual 'handles' these aggressive sales techniqes, but what you shouldn't do, is to let it spoil your holiday.

Just be firm and assertive and let it be known that you mean what you say, but do it with a smile and that deals with the hassle far more calmly and effectively than if you let it all get to you and make you uptight.

Try to see it as more the 'character of Luxor' and laugh about it, rather than getting annoyed.

And if you found any taxi drivers, Caleshe drivers or traders that took the slightest bit of notice of 'La Shikran' then you were let off VERY easy in my opinion, LoL !

You usually have to resort to some far more 'serious' Arabic expletives before most will get the message that you do not require their services.

Edited: 1:08 pm, May 19, 2011
Staffordshire...
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496 posts
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4. Re: One (bad) Day in Luxor

Sorry to hear about your bad experience with the taxi drivers. I am guessing that with fewer tourists at present, things may be getting a little desperate, as it is usually not that bad outside the airport.

Too many (hungry) drivers chasing too little business... one of the unfortunate side effects of the 'new Egypt' post-revolution.

Edited: 1:10 pm, May 19, 2011
Denver, Colorado
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171 posts
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5. Re: One (bad) Day in Luxor

KV, I could not agree more about not allowing a few badly behaved people to spoil a trip! In Cairo I did have to pull out a couple of choice Arabic phrases at loud volume to throw at a horse wrangler who simply left me no other choice. As soon as he turned around and left I collapsed into laughter. It was a riot!

What I found most bothersome about my Luxor experiences is that there was a much less friendly demeanor with the drivers, the tomb guards, and the ticket booth staffers. In other locations the haggle and the annoyance had a much more good natured undertone. C'est la vie, our trip was amazing to be sure!

Brisbane, Australia
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6. Re: One (bad) Day in Luxor

Arguing for 30 minutes and nearly in tears over $1.66?.. I know you were standing your ground but was it worth your day being ruined?... After just being in Hurghada and seeing no one in the streets whatsover... the Egyptian people are hurting.. desperate times lead to desperate measures... we are only going to see more of this agression as time goes on.... very sad :(

Rolleston on Dove...
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288 posts
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7. Re: One (bad) Day in Luxor

It all comes down to the fact that Luxor relies so heavily on tourism and what with so few tourists, any of us appearing at the airport is more of a walking lottery win to any lucky taxi driver.

Cairo is never quite so bad as tourism isn't the predominant industry.

Will find out myself in a weeks time. :-/

West Country
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8. Re: One (bad) Day in Luxor

Desperate times makes desperate people and with things the way things are I guess people are anxious for every fare that comes their way.

It is regrettable that you were on the receiving end but hassle, even if not to that extreme, is part and parcel of tourism in Luxor and you should (if at all possible) laugh it off and try to keep smiling...you would be surprised how much a smile can help.

Glad you enjoyed the sights of that incredible city though and really, really, really hope it doesn't put you off from returning as that would be a shame.

Bury, United Kingdom
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9. Re: One (bad) Day in Luxor

"Arguing for 30 minutes and nearly in tears over $1.66?.. "

Reading dfeehan's post I think there is more to it than just $1.66, the whole experience sounded appalling.

Bedfordshire
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10. Re: One (bad) Day in Luxor

I tend to pre book transport from the airport so that I don't get any hassle, but the hassle is not only directed at tourist. Our flight was late one year and we had to wait for our transport to arrive, as we were waiting, returning Egyptians came out of the airport some with trolley loads of goods and were mobbed by the taxi drivers, it got so bad that the police had to beat them back to the grass area and 3 were arrested. One trolley load which had a large TV on it fell over as the taxi drivers were fighting over it. As soon as the police disappeared back came the drivers.

Phil