OK, so I took another day off. My flight was at 5:00 a.m. and I had been awake all night. Arrived in Luxor just after 6:00 a.m. It was already 78 degrees, well on its way to the forecast of one hundred and three. The sun was rising over the Sahara horizon and there were a few clouds that made it a bit humid.
For eleven dollars I got a cab to the Sheraton Luxor Resort Hotel. For only sixty-one dollars, I got a spacious room in a cabana that looked out onto the pool. Featuring a sitting area, marble floors and a marbled bathroom, I was stylin’.
I have to admit that I was starting to feel really guilty about paying so much for a room. Throughout this expat experience, I have been booking rooms through Airbnb or Booking.com, living the life of a starving author (save for the starving part). Since Luxor was a last minute decision, the Sheraton was the best I could do. Yes, I could have gotten a room for ten dollars a night but I wanted something that would have good internet access and information on the sights I wanted to visit. And I wanted to spoil myself a bit. I’ve been living on a shoestring for the past year. It might seem like this has been an exotic experience–and it has been–but I have still been closely watching my finances. Spending “all this money” for two nights seemed kinda steep.
But then I realized that this is my last big trip before I return to America. Why not splurge just a bit? The hotel is located along the Nile River. There’s two pools, a bar and three restaurants. The bed in my room could easily sleep three people. It’s comfortable.
Perhaps too comfortable because, with no sleep, I was exhausted. After checking into my room, I lay down and zonked out for several hours. When I awoke, it was too late to catch any cabs to the Karnac Museum or the Valley of the Kings.
I do stand out at this facility. I got the last room in the hotel. Upon arrival I found the place full of businessmen. Everyone was wearing suits and I was in my trademarked khaki shorts and tank top. In the restaurant I felt like a mendicant amongst all the professionals. I wanted to yell out, “Hey, I’m a professional, too! Really! I wrote a book!”
But I thought it might be too obtrusive.
So what did I do? I ate. Breakfast was substantial with eggs, hams, cheeses, desserts, omelettes, juices, potatoes and breads. I also opted to do some tanning.
Yes, I tanned by the pool. In 103 degree weather. In the Sahara Desert. There were only three other souls as foolish as I tanning by the pool. Curiously, no one was in the water. I picked a chaise lounge and laid back. The high clouds kept the heat from being too oppressive. But once the clouds left, the sun blazed and within minutes I found my entire body covered in water, sweat pouring into my eyes, down my chest and drenching the cushions on the lounge chair.
The flies loved me. I felt like a rotting horse carcass. If I had only had a tail to swat at them.
But I stuck it out, occasionally walking to the outdoor shower to rinse off and cool down. I would then dip and float on my back the entire length of the pool. It felt decadent, sinful. Almost like I shouldn’t be enjoying such luxury. But why not?
And it’s not like this was the only time I experienced luxury. When I met my brother up near Turin, he had reserved for me a hotel room in a splendiferous hotel that was over one hundred years old. We went out to eat at sumptuous restaurants every night. But that was back in February…
At dinner, I opted to eat outside and gaze at the Nile. The omnipresent plaintive Muslim call to worship wafted over the water. Lights cast a warm glow over the hotel grounds. My two plates of food were sufficient–for the time being.
Since I only have tomorrow left, I will be hitting the pavement big time to see as much as possible. I hate rushing, but I’ve learned that I also have to listen to my body when it says to relax. And it is during these relaxing times that I can also luxuriate in the atmosphere, allow my mind to wander and absorb this grand expatriate experience that is rapidly leading to a close.