I’m at about 20 km from Edfu when I’m ordered by a high ranking police officer – he has eagles on his shoulders – to load the trailer and bicycle at the back of a pick-up and hop in. The night has already fallen and there is no point discussing.
I didn’t make it to Edfu on time because I left Luxor late in the morning and stopped in Tod, a village situated south of Luxor, in which Live is Beautiful is active in a school. Kris and Galal, a member of the organisation, invited me over for tea and introduced me to some of the children they tutor.
The pick-up stops in front of « Paradise Hotel », at the entrance of Edfu. I unload my gear and enter the hotel, not sure if it’s really there I want to stay, as I’m always suspicious when I’m told by someone I have to stay somewhere.
The officer leads me to the office of the hotel manager, sitting behind a desk covered of paperwork piles and an ashtray brimming with cigarette butts. The manager tells me the price of the rooms and I ask to have a look at one of them. On my way, I notice all the dust in the hallway and the construction waste lying on the ground. By the looks of the place, a touch of refreshment wouldn’t hurt indeed. The room I’m presented is filthy. It has a broken window and the curtains are dust grey. The bed sheets are not only dusty but also have big round stains. The bathroom door is broken and is holding only by the lower hinge. The sink and the shower are brownish, while, I suppose, they are supposed to be white. A dirty broken mirror seems ready to fall off the wall, and a nude electrical thread with a flickering bulb is hanging over the shower head. It’s seems like a perfect combination for an electrocution.
No, this is not the place I want to stay at.
When I get down, the policeman tries to seal the deal by asking for my passport for registration in the hotel. I say that I won’t stay here and that I want to see another place first. He puts a surprised look on his face and asks why. I tell him, and he says that Edfu is a small town and that there is only one hotel in town. Good try, but it won’t work with me.
It doesn’t take long before I receive a text message from Kris Huybrechts with the details of another hotel. Super clean and within the same price range. Moreover, it has a small restaurant on a roof terrace!