Africa / Egypt

Uninvited guest to an African event

Uninvited guest to an African event

This is the second part of the Luxor story. If you didn’t read the first one, here you can take a look: Luxor from a different perspective. This is the story of how I accidentally joined an enormous African event in Luxor, Egypt. This gathering included everything from Nile River cruises to visits to notable temples.

Arrival day

The upcoming event

If you read the first part, you already know this, but let me explain it again for clarity. So I was invited to a magnificent island resort in Luxor, Egypt, to assist the film crew with an upcoming competition. The competition would feature students from all throughout Africa. ACPC is the name of the event (Africa and Arab Collegiate Programming Championship). It is one of the oldest and most prestigious problem-solving and programming competitions in African and Arab countries.

Entrance to the event room

Good morning Africa!

Competitors arriving to the resort

So I woke up the next day and headed to the lobby for breakfast, but something was different this time. The place was filled with visitors. The attendees for the event began to arrive, and the noise level suddenly increased. I also spotted competition banners everywhere. Before everyone was settled, the management directed me and a few others to the facilities where the event would be held. So, once again, I had priority access because I was a “member of the camera crew”. I mean, I didn’t even have an actual camera, but I was curious to see how everything turned out.

The conference room for the event

Friday Prayer

There wasn’t much else to do on the first day because it was dedicated to the arrival of the visitors and their settling in. But it was Friday, so everyone flocked to the island mosque at midday. The resort, of course, had its own mosque. It was probably larger than some village mosques in Turkey, and the fact that it was all for one hotel was mind-boggling. Everyone who had just come at the function was also headed to the mosque. That’s why it’s always a great thing to visit Muslim countries to get that sense of community.

Pretty big mosque for a hotel

The German Nomads

Later that day, as I was wandering around the grounds, I overheard two young men speaking German. Of course, I was surprised and inquired what they were doing here. They appeared to be freelancers / digital nomads working for a German IT firm. They opted to spend some time in Egypt because they can work remotely. If you think about it, it’s a dream job. When I told them about my situation, they laughed. They were even a touch jealous when they found out I had gotten the premium room. We spent the evening talking about anything and everything. Meanwhile, the hotel has become extremely busy as a result of the upcoming event.

The night before the event

Event day

Departing to the Nile River

I had no idea what to expect the next day when I got up. Only that I bring my camera was communicated. I returned to the lobby and found that everyone was preparing for something in the patio. It appeared to me to be total chaos. Then I observed something strange. Several boats were parked along the riverbank, ready to depart. I could see what was going to happen now. Everyone boarded the boats, and one of the managers pointed me to a boat that was distinct from the others. I was going to be a part of the camera team…

The teams are boarding the boats

Joining the camera team

So, once everyone was aboard their respective boats, we were ready to sail. I was still taken aback by how quickly everything happened. I presented myself to the camera crew, who were all extremely kind. They didn’t even ask where my camera was or who I was working for. I was relieved to hear that because I felt completely out of place at the time. They were undoubtedly very experienced cameramen with thousands of dollars in equipment. And there I stood, with my teeny-tiny GoPro 🙂

My camera vs. their camera

Magical views from the Nile

Swarm of boats on the Nile

We set sail from the resort island to the north, where the city of Luxor was located. I had no idea where we were going, but I was just enjoying the journey. The sensation of being in a boat on the Nile River is breathtaking. It’s difficult to describe, but there’s a feeling of peace about it. I tried to record all of the boats sailing, but it was difficult with the equipment I had. So I just stood back and saw the professionals at work.

Arrival on Luxor Temple

They eventually told me that we were going to the Luxor Temple. They even informed me that the organization had reserved the entire temple on that particular day specifically for that event. As a result, we had the entire area to ourselves. Another plus was that this was the only sight in Luxor that I had not yet visited. But that wasn’t the end of it. Because I was with the camera team, we arrived early to get a sense of the site. That meant we could explore the structures without being interrupted. There were just some art students attempting to paint the monuments which even added to the experience.

A (nearly) empty Luxor Temple

Return to the resort

Quite a big event as I said

The teams arrived later, visited the temple, and we got a large group photo of them (see above). It was time to head back to the hotel, but not with the boats. So I was wondering how we were going to get back. And it was not the response I was expecting. Everyone was supposed to be escorted back by horse carriages. Except for the management and film crew, of which I was a member. It was nevertheless exciting to see so many horses on the street.

The teams returning to the island

Last time to relax

We had some time to relax and eat lunch once everyone had returned. Because I was not part of the competition, I had the rest of the day to myself while the teams competed. There was a nighttime conference where everyone met, but that was it. To say the least, I had a fantastic time in Luxor and would like to thank everyone who made it possible. I took one more seat in front of the Nile River and watched the Egyptian sunset. I absolutely needed this because the adventure had just begun…

Bye Bye Luxor!

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