After getting our money back from the shady bus-ticket salesman, the rest of the day went great. We rode through the crazy traffic one last time (no lanes, no crosswalks, no stop lights, with random buses stopping wherever, mule wagons, horse carriages, bikes, motorbikes, cars, trucks, vans, etc. turning, diving, weaving, and dodging) before hitting the tourist road on the Nile to Karnak. We kept riding past Karnak, where Luxor showed its poor side again as the city transformed into unfinished buildings, rural checkpoints, dirty strips of stores, and fields of wheat and grass in the shadows of palm trees.
On the way there, we had a bike race with a kid and a friend on their shared bike. They seemed distressed that Laura beat us all (I’m used to her bad-ass biking), but smiled the whole race. Out in the rural concentrations, children ran along with our bikes, yelling “Hello!” and “Welcome to Luxor!” They didn’t grab us this time. I heard birds chirping, donkeys beying, and watched the wind blow shifting patterns in the fields, and felt good to be on a bike in the countryside.