1980, Luxor, Egypt
Plate 83, 18x27
I was not able to meet and talk to anyone that ever seemed to understand Egypt, and this station seemed to beg the question. It was quite hot, and yet I just stood for some time trying to decide if I should take the picture; for it would answer nothing but add much to the questions of why Egypt is the way it is. On the train north from Luxor to Cairo, my second class car was so full of large hungry flies that one rail employee, seeing my fight for survival, took one great whack at the whole swarm using a large folder and then went to retrieve a newspaper from some prior wedge of history, which he gave to me to help me fight my battle. There was no cooling, no water or toilet paper, no vision of the countryside because of the dirt on the windows. The last time the windows were washed or even dusted might well have been prior to the arrival of the British.
Our day trip arrived several hours late, to be greeted by the smiling and jubilant Cairo crew. As I pulled myself off the train, I commented to one of the crew members that it seemed odd to have been this many hours off the time of arrival. Even if they just guessed at the arrival time, they should be a bit closer than this! This happy fellow replied with his bit of wisdom that I would have had to spend the time someplace or other, and whether on the train or in the city of Cairo, it was the same time. I felt no better, but I thought back on the picture and the question became even more confusing. Did they need a grand station, and if so was it the first priority? Of all the parts of the trip, the least amount of time I spent was to pick up the ticket and board the train. So most of the help goes where it is least needed, and Egypt goes forever on its own path.