Back to normal!!!!!!!!

Normality has returned to "Our Luxor"!

Here's a variation of a picture of our recurring waterworks problems, for you. Isn't it just divine, Dear Reader?

That's our plumber friend, young Mr Hany (except when he doesn't turn up, then he's our plumber enemy!) Hany's a rather nice chap, in actual fact, especially as he seems to know what he's about. He's one of the plumbing tribe which owns the buildings between the Egyptian suq and the Sphinx Hotel on Youseff Hassan Street. As he was a tourist bazaar owner before the "troubles" (it's getting like Northern Ireland, isn't it?) of 2011, he speaks very good English. This is a great help to me, obviously, as I can actually explain things to him instead of using sign language of a sort interspersed with speaking loudly, and then shouting!

We've been away for quite a while, and I didn't think that the water filters would take any hurt, as the water was turned off anyway. WRONG! AGAIN! The "activated carbon" filter went wrong, all by itself. For some strange reason, the carbon beeds burst through their containment within the filter bowl and merrily made their way into our water system, blocking up here and there as they went! It seems to be sorted out now, please keep your fingers crossed for us?

We sometimes get to the point where we think, "What can possibly go wrong next?"

As you're aware,  Dear Reader,we do like to share out whatever work we can to the local tradesmen. And so it came to pass that I had two shirts which needed the collars turned, and my last pair of "Blue Harbour" moleskin jeans needed a new pocket, where my English change had worn through during our sojourn in Windy Nook. "Ageeb" the tailor is just up the street. He has a tiny shop with enough room for his sewing machine and a small cutting table, and we've had him do several jobs for us before. He's repaired the trouser pocket with a new piece of nylon to re-make the whole of the bottom of the pocket, a good job! How about the collar turning? See if you can spot the deliberate mistake:


Well, did you spot it? The same mistake on both shirts? Fran Cotton and Ben Sherman won't be too pleased, I can tell you! He's only gone and turned the collars from the wrong seam, so that the buttons and button holes are now in the wrong places!!!!! No matter how he twists, I'm going to have to take them back, even though I am dreading it.

Egypt?

We ventured out to the Nile Palace, for tea, coffee and English cake. You can tell how pleased they were to see us back, by the thickness of the slices of cake:

Doorsteps? We struggled to get them down!  (Well; to be ruthlessly honest, I could probably have managed by myself, if I hadn't had Freda with me.) But enough of that gluttony, it's a sin, you know?

See you soon, Insh'Allah.

Would you Adam and Eve it?

Same old, same old!

We were glad to get away from Windy Nook because of the wind and the rain. Here, it's been sunny and hot, as you would expect in Egypt, I suppose.

Obviously, we've been mainly occupied with cleaning, or being in Egypt, should I call it "The white man's burden", as that is what it seems to be. Whilst the Egyptians flood everything with water, we English put in endless hours with a vacuum cleaner and mop, it's our way to try to preserve our hard-won furniture etc by not having the bone dry wood soaking up water and rotting it all away.

As part of of my initial cleaning routine, I put all of our camel wool rugs and clippy mats out to air, thus:

When I beheld the scene, I thought it looked like a carpet bazaar! In fact, I commented to myself, "It's the Our Luxor open-air carpet showroom!"

We'll be on for a few days yet, before everywhere is really fit for our own occupation, never mind receiving visitors, but it's all part and parcel of living here and keeping up normal standards!

Something that becomes normal here is not being disturbed by the early morning call to prayer, which is amplified from every Mosque. As yet, I haven't become properly re-acclimatised (or even re-acclimated, as our American friends would have it!) to this invasion of my nocturnal privacy!

So, there I was, quietly bobbing between consciousness and oblivion, after being vaguely aware of the mullah's dulcet tones, when, all of a sudden, I could hear heavy rain stotting off our steel-sheeted roof! In no time at all, Freda was shouting, "The carpets, the carpets!" I suddenly found myself running, naked, about the roof terrace, like the proverbial "Wild Man of Borneo", grabbing up rugs and carpets to get them out of the downpour. Not a pretty sight, I can assure you!

As we were properly awake by now, we decided to have some of God's favourite drink, and we sat with our cups of tea watching an episode of the classic 70's British comedy "Going Straight" starring the incomparable Ronnie Barker. Then the power went off!!!!!!!!! IT'S EGYPT! Remember? Of course, us now having a new (to us, anyway) laptop, one where the battery doesn't give up after ten seconds, we were able to keep watching in the dark.

Happily, the power cut only lasted ten minutes and it didn't rain for long, either, and the thunder and lightning soon abated as well. Before we knew it, there was a balloon in the sky over the "Side of the Dead", and all was right with the world once more!

So there you have it, Dear Reader, our first missive since returning to the land of the Pharaohs, and now I'm going to be tired and grumpy all day!

Insh'Allah !


Yes, Playmates, God willing, we'll be setting off for Luxor on Monday morning. And about time too; I'm becoming disillusioned with our "summer" here in Windy Nook!

Freda and I have packed and re-packed cases until we were blue in the face! It's very difficult trying to balance weight against volume across 4 pieces of luggage. Some articles need to be well padded with soft bulky items for protection, whilst some others need the same sort of packing to protect the hard sides of the cases from being damaged by them! It's all a bit complicated.

Never mind. I've been doing some more repair and modification work on "that stupid thing"! (Freda's latest name for my lovely little melodeon.)

You'll remember (of course?) my "adjustable" thumb strap? Well, even though it was adjustable, I found that the instrument weighed too heavy on my right thumb, and therefore decided to utilise a single strap, like Steve Harrison and Anahata and the like. But where can I find something suitable without spending money? Well, where there's a will, there's a way (as you well know) Dear Reader! I eventually plumped for the shoulder strap from an old computer carrying bag. (One which I acquired, years ago, when I was a rail replacement coach operator, with the name of the main contractor plastered on the covering flap: "Fraser Eagle Management Services".)

Of course, there's no bracket on the instrument on which to fasten such a strap, and it's not of a very robust construction, either. But never fear, Jenninsy is here! (I really should re-style myself as the latest Superhero..........Modification Man!)

A simple angle-bracket (which I'd shoved down the corner of the back stairs carpet, imagining that it would definitely come in for something eventually) strengthened the corner where I decided to fix some sort of attachment for the strap:

I then located an eyebolt amongst the bits and pieces in my "rubbish" tin, which screwed into the drilled hole which I'd just made, thus:

Champion, eh? By the time I'd hunted out the strap and put it on, I was relatively pleased with the job.

The thumb strap was no longer required, so it was next to go the journey. (Colloquialism: Go the journey = disappear, get rid of.)
However, I found that using only one strap (even though the melodeon itself is very light) was too awkward, as it didn't keep the melodeon exactly where I wanted it to be! I further modified my modification by adding a heavy keyring for space to allow the use of a second strap, so that I could adjust them to keep the instrument's row of treble buttons in the centre of my chest.

That's probably enough of the melodeon story for just now, I think.

Last Sunday, we celebrated (early) the birthday of my favourite brother-in-law, folk-singing partner and fellow choir member; Uncle Roy, by taking Afternoon Tea on the historic Tanfield railway. (According to several sources the oldest railway in the world!) Here comes the toot-too:

It wasn't exactly what you would term as "palatial" inside:

Wooden benches for seating, and wide enough for me to get only one cheek of my bottom on, whilst still cramping Freda's eating arrangements next to the window! Never mind though, the food was lovely, even though we had to make do with lots of half cups of tea and coffee in order not to have it spilt in our laps as the ancient carriage jumped and jolted along the equally ancient rails; it was also very noisy!

I know that the pictures of me are VERY unflattering, but that's probably what I really look like, uuugh! Sorry.

We've been keeping in touch with our Luxor friend, Slack Alis, over the past few weeks, and she has assured us that the power cuts haven't been too bad this year. So we're hoping that that will continue till the weather breaks. (Well, till the temperature falls below 40 degrees, anyway!) Good old President El Sisi!

On Monday (us being exclusive "Gold Card" holders) we'll be luxuriating in some executive lounge at Heathrow, while we wait for our connection to Egypt, away from the hoi-poloi. Sorry, but we don't expect to find you in there, Dear Reader!!!! You'll have to wait until we land in Luxor. Then we hope to see all our Internet Friends once again. TTFN.


A new toy!

Dear Reader, you might remember that I sold my concertinas a few years ago. I cannot recall exactly when, but ever since, I've been regretting it!

I bought my 48 key Lachenal English Concertina in my late teens (if I remember correctly) from an old bloke with a baby grand piano at Ponteland in Northumberland, for £18. He'd wanted £20, but I'm almost sure that I knocked him down to £18.


This was about the time that I used to attend Stefan Sobell's weekly folk club at The Barley Mow in Newcastle, where I met the famous concertina man, Neil Wayne. (His address, then, was Neil Wayne, Duffield, Derbyshire, as if he was the only person to live there!) Neil inspired me to start the hunt for a concertina of my own.

Later on, I bought another couple; one was a Wheatstone, another 48 key job, but it was a "Tutor" model, with the notes stamped on the end of the buttons, and in very poor condition, the other was an "Anglo", labelled as if it had been built in Newcastle, but I was assured later that it was, in fact, another Lachenal which was produced to be labelled by retailers.

My 48 key English model gave me untold hours of amusement over the years, but, being naturally lazy, my lack of serious practice never got me to be confident enough to play it in public, even after 40 years or so! This resulted in me selling them all, in order to finance some project or other, in Egypt probably.

As I said, I've regretted it ever since. I don't like not; just having it! Yes, I know, it's not logical but I still feel a sense of loss, I can't help it! Anyway, that mini history lesson has laid the ground, so to speak, for this blog about my newest of toys; a Melodeon!

Although I cannot recall exactly when I first imagined that owning a melodeon might be a good idea, I suppose that I was hugely influenced in my subconscious decision by the superb melodeon playing which I had been exposed to at South Shields Folk Club. The playing of experts like Anahata, Steve Harrison or Vic Gammon cannot fail to enthuse anyone with the slightest interest.

Of course, my main interest in the melodeon is as an instrument to accompany singing voices, which is the main occupation of the playing of the above mentioned people, also.

So; here it is:

A bit of a rough looking little devil, I know. But considering that I won the eBay auction for it at £7.01, I wasn't expecting an instrument of real quality or beauty! Never mind, I love it, especially as it was within my notoriously limited price range!!!!!

As far as I can ascertain, it's in the region of 100 years old, but in better fettle than many of that age, I should think. I've done a good deal of amateur restoration on it so far, mostly using bits and bobs which have been floating around the house. (Cost saving, you know?)

Some spare uphoulstery material, from one of our old sofas, went to make new straps. (Including an adjustable thumb strap!)

A nice soft cleaning cloth, from an old spectacles case, was cut up to re-line the pads which control the airflow, using one piece on top of the other.

Self-adhesive sealer (for windows) substituted for bellows gaskets.

Splits in the bellows were repaired with silver duct tape.

And the stuck-fast stop slide was freed off using a hammer and chisel!








Several of the levers which operate the pads were straightened using ordinary pliers and a small screwdriver in conjunction.

The long ago snapped and disappeared metal clips which hold the bellows closed, were replaced by home-made straps fashioned from some scraps of leather, donated by my crafts-person sister.

So far; so good! I'm having quite an adventure, "Going where no man has gone before" (well, maybe not quite, but certainly no Jennings to my knowledge).

There's still a lot to do to get it into the condition I'll be happy with, but I'll just plod on, as usual.

Here's the work space (little front bedroom) and a selection of the tools used to date.

It's only three weeks, or so, till we're back in Luxor. Hope to see you there. TTFN.



What was that? Pardon me?

Hi, I just thought that I'd update you on the ear trumpet vs hearing aid thing. Dr Groom got me that referral to the Ear, Nose and Throat dept. I attended on June 29th, and had a very thorough hearing test. It was very interesting, and I would recommend it to anyone who's having the slightest problem with their hearing.

The graph which the tests produced showed that my low frequency hearing was normal, but the higher frequencies were half way between normal and profoundly deaf. Quiet a surprise, I can tell you!

Anyway, the next available appointment to have the hearing aids fitted was 10th August, but by being extremely pleasent to one and all, they found me one for three days hence!!!! What could have been a problem, but thankfully wasn't for me, was that the appointment wasn't at our local hospital (the Queen Elizabeth; 7 minutes walk from our house) but at one which was a mile and a half away, centred around an old workhouse!

Freda came with me, and we had a few problems with a broken parking meter in the hospital grounds, and a nonsensical set of notices for Audiology Patients to adhere to. But we eventually overcame these obstacles and I was called into my appointment 15 minutes late. I didn't have the courage to remonstrate with the lady who was assigned to do the business with my aids, as I didn't want to start the session with being antagonistic. I just "zipped it"!

The lady seemed very profficient as she did the various tests and adjustments, in between sipping at her mug of tea. Again, the various procedures were really interesting to watch and partake of. The actual aids were described as the "Rolls-Royce" of hearing aids, and I was told that they cost over £800 each! I was taken aback, to say the least.


On first putting them in, they seemed extremely uncomfortable, but after a bit of fiddling they were much better. By the end of the day, I hardly realised that I had them in! I took them out before I went to choir practice, as I feared that they might interfere with or distort the voices. I did wear them on Sunday, though, for both chapel and for the folk club; the improvement in the sound was incredible! Fabulous!

If you have any qualms about getting your dodgey hearing seen to, forget them and go as soon as you can. You'll be amazed at the difference that modern, discrete, hearing aids might be able to make. Mine are "Phonak", and I even got a little zippy bag to keep them in, along with a lifetime supply of batteries and a couple of cleaning rods. What more could a man ask for?

Hurrah for the British National Health Service!

Here we go Looby Loo!

The title of this Blog will only mean anything to English people who remember "Watch with Mother", on the telly during their childhood; Looby Loo was the female friend of Andy Pandy, a marionette who wore striped, onesie, pyjamas and a matching night cap. There was the song, too; "Here we go Looby Loo, here we go Looby Light, here we go Looby Loo, all on a Saturday night!"

I'm certain that many of you will know, immediately, what I'm on about here today: The suicide bomber at Karnak! Yet another opportunity for the world's press to hammer Luxor as far as tourism goes.

We've been replying to emails from friends and former guests who've been asking if we are OK. Well, to answer any more well-wishers; yes, we are fine, and thanks for caring. We're actually on our holidays here in Windy Nook, where we have a much greater chance of being murdered, if the local newspapers and TV news is anything to go by!!! Only last month a poor Egyptian man was found in the street (about a half mile away) with "catastrophic head injuries". He was dead, of course, and I haven't heard or seen anything to suggest that the culprits have been caught.

We aren't troubled too much about this one-off occurrence in Luxor. After all; it could happen to anyone at anytime and anywhere! If we cower in the corner in the face of these atrocities, then the terrorists have won; we'll all end up not being able to cross our own threshhold!

Instead, let's ignore the spoilers? We've just taken delivery of a plaque to go on the stair wall between the Our Luxor guest apartment and our own roof-top hovel. It just about sums up our feelings, I think:

So there it is, our invitation to you. "Come and have some tea in the Land of the Pharaohs."

See you soon, Insh'Allah.

What was that? Say again?

I'm going ever so slightly deaf! It's been coming on for a long time, but it is becoming quite a problem. So I determined (long before we came home for the summer) to ask the doctor to refer me to the ENT Department of our local NHS hospital.

To digress, just for a minute; you know, don't you Dear Reader, that I've always had a fancy for old things. (Even my wife is coming into her own, now that she's a pensioner!) Old cars, old songs, old houses, old fashioned clothes, in fact; old ......whatever! Well, it struck me some time ago that an old fashioned ear trumpet might suit me down to the ground. After all, my hearing isn't really that bad, it's more that I have problems distinguishing speech amongst other (background) noise, mainly. And a directional trumpet might actually be as much use as one of these modern electronic mini-gadgets, which just seem to amplify ALL the noise.

Anyway, both of us had appointments with our GP (General Practitioner/family doctor; for the foreigners among you) this morning, and I had a shipping order (Colloquialism; shipping order = a long list) for Dr Groom to deal with, and my appointment was for 08:20, with Freda following directly on at 08:40. So, it was early to bed so as to allow plenty of time for showering, breakfasting and walking to the surgery (clinic).

For some unknown and ridiculous reason, I was awake at 02:30!!!! Tossing and turning, but not getting back to sleep, I finally got up at 04:00, just as one of our neighbours was starting his car as he rushed off to work. What to do at 4 o'clock in the morning? Ahhh! I could look for an ear trumpet on eBay, or anywhere, come to that. After all, I fully expect that when the good doctor does refer me to the hearing clinic, it will entail a wait of months on end; and a trumpet could be a good stop-gap until I was sorted out.

And so I did. eBay brought up several examples, most of which were modern, jokey type of things; with one or two being real antiques, and priced accordingly. Another one looked absolutely ideal! Here it is:

Is that a beauty, or what????

The auction isn't finished for a day or two yet, and the price has started to rise already, so I don't expect to get it. Never mind, it's probably a passing phase, anyway. However..................

After more or less dismissing this particularly enchanting hearing device as unobtainable, I clicked onto the next result on the Google list, and it was the MailOnline! (Before you ask; yes, I am a right-wing reactionary Daily Mail reader!) and all of a sudden, the following headline leapt off the page and smacked me right in the eye!

"Never mind surround sound - get an ear trumpet:"


How is that possible? And..... it was written by my favourite columnist, good old Richard Littlejohn. (Again, for the foreigners among you; he is a man who is almost universally hated for his perceived right-wing, flog-'em and hang-'em, views and style of writing.)

In the words of dear Mr Littlejohn....."You couldn't make it up!"



  

Waking up in Aswan.

On the next morning, we awoke to have a daylight look at the Tombs of the Nobles, nice enough, I suppose, but a bit of a come-down from last night's impression!


We returned to the cabin after breakfast to an unexpected visitor!!! These towel sculptures are really very good, and as I said earlier, they're all (so far) new to me.


Up on the sundeck I had a bit of a wave about with the camera, it's strange what you can find:


Here's a shot of a new hotel which is taking shape right next to where the Royal Viking was moored. And here, below, is one of the shuttering joiners about 8 floors up. I was frightened just watching him!


A little further South, I noticed someone working on another tall building:


I nearly died when I saw a man jump from the right-hand corner of the building!! I stood, in both horror and disbelief, for a few moments, but then he appeared at the base of the wall from which he'd jumped. Phew! What a relief.


We took a stroll along to the Ferial Gardens, a lovely spot near to the famous Old Cataract Hotel. We've sat on the seats there on several occasions before, just gazing over the choppy First Cataract of the Nile, and Kitceher's Island, to the Aga Khan's Mausoleum and towards the Western desert where lies the fascinating Monastery of St Simeon. Not today, though! They've put on an entrance fee, and the robbing beggar wanted 10le, each! While we were down there, I took this rather uninspiring shot of the river, That's the "conning tower", on the left, which used to be the Aswan Oberoi Hotel, I'm not sure which name it goes by, now. 

                     

We walked slowly back through the souks; a very different experience from those in our Luxor.


By the time we got back to the boat, I was worn out. Lunch and sleep took up the afternoon. We didn't re-appear till dinner!

After yet another lovely meal, there was the "Egyptian Show", in the lounge/bar, which entailed the usual whirling dervish and a (single) stick-dancing man, who encouraged one or two of the audience to join in. The boat manager had remembered (two days late) that it was Freda's birthday, and a very acceptable cake was produced. By the time we cut it and shared it around, we only got one piece each, but I think our sharing was appreciated.

On our return to the cabin, we were really surprised to see yet more, equally novel, towel sculptures! They included a nice birthday cake with a great big candle, and toilet-roll streamers spread about the place.




Further cups of tea in our cabin, and a turn around the dack before turning in. The moon just appeared inbetween the wings of the new hotel, as if to wish us, "Goodnight!"


More observations on our Royal Viking Cruise.

After overnighting just on the South side of Esna Lock, we weighed anchor in the early morn. I don't often get to see the sunrise but it's worth getting out of bed for when you're on the Nile!

We're loving our cruise, so far. I hope that nothing will happen to spoil it for us.

Today, we're due to cruise to Edfu and Kom Ombo, where the tourists will disembark for their excursions. We'll see what we come across on the way, shall we?

5:05am and there goes the early train, thundering along the Nile's bank. You can just get a glimpse of it through the palms on the right of the picture. (Click on any of the pictures to get a better look.) It just shows how near the river Egypt lives; the main road is just out there as well.

A little further on, and we come across something which I've never noticed before, although it looks like it's been there for quite some time:

Sadly, the lackadaisical attitude which Egypt seems to have regarding maintenance invariably gives tourists the wrong impression. "HAPPY TRA". Indeed!

As always, the working man has to make his living. Fishermen are ubiquitous on the Nile. "Early to bed and early to rise", and all that:

Not very much further on, we were suddenly faced with (what looked like) a North Sea "haar", as the river ahead and in the distance were enshrouded in mist. It was really rather atmospheric:



I almost sensed the Marie Celeste looming out of the mist!

Back to the daily reality of work, and here are the reed gatherers, filling a Nile barge with their harvest.


Above are the reed beds which they work. It seems a strange occupation to a land-lubber like me.

Heading back to our cabin, for a snooze before breakfast, I took a few snaps around the reception area. (I hope you'll forgive the UFO's, which are actually bits of muck which have managed to worm their way into the lens. The camera is, at this very moment, in the camera shop getting sorted.)

The table really is as stunning as it looks, pity about the jar of sweets amidships.
And how about these for a surprise on a Nile cruise boat?

They have to belong to the boat, as there were no passengers travelling at the same time as us who might have needed them. A good idea, and a sign of the company's commitment to the needs of their clients.

Like just about all Nile cruise boats, the central staircase is an impressive feature:

Although we have no industry near Luxor (for fear of the resulting pollution damaging the antiquities) there are several factories elsewhere along the Nile. We came upon a steelworks and a sugar factory. Fool that I am, I cannot remember which one these the following pictures are of!

Judging from the number of what look like grain elevators, I would think that this is the sugar factory, but I've been wrong plenty of times before!

These are obviously conveyors for loading river barges. 

See the artic's in the foreground? And this also shows some of the pollution which the government is trying to save Luxor from!

There are some pretty remote hamlets along the Nile; like this one:

The road has swept away, behind the mountains, leaving this well-worn footpath below as seemingly the only access to the dwellings.

After a "turn around the deck" to settle our ample breakfasts, we returned to our cabin to find our first towel sculpture of the trip:

The cleaners must have waked in on some unsuspecting white man like me, to find the ideal model for this one! It's actually the first time I'd seen this particular one, quite impressed.

First stop for the eager tourists was Edfu, where caleches ferry them to the temple. It can be a terrifying trip, as the drivers here don't seem to have much sympathy for their animals, and sometimes gallop them through the streets much to the tourist's chagrin.

I was much more interested in the town's other main form of transport:

Yes, shipmates, it's the humble Tuk-tuk! And I want one! Want one!

I don't know about you, Dear Reader, but I'm in 7th Heaven here! A lovely cruiseboat, beautifully warm weather, a happy spouse, Tuk-tuks galore and scenery like this below. What more could any man ask?

Some things are barely worth commenting on, like the huge size of the electricity pylons supporting the cables where they cross the Nile:

But then........such structures become rather sinister when you realise that in this quiet, hidden, backwater they are actually breeding! I almost missed this "child" pylon, soaking up its much needed nourishment from the world's longest river!!!


Image result for free images of electricity windmills


I'm convinced that there's some sort of correlation here to the aliens which are spreading over England and just biding their time until they make their move and take control of our once proud country!!!!





Perhaps the following couple of pictures might convince you too, Dear Reader, that there is definitely something "going on" here in this cradle of civilisation?

Just some small distance away from the pylon nursery, even your colour blind reporter couldn't have failed to notice these highly coloured patterns on the Nile bank.

It's obvious that they're some sort of signalling thingy! They're multi-coloured plastic parcels!!!!!

See how they are arranged in meaningful sequences? Sinister, I say!

It would seem, from the following picture, that these peculiar goings-on have effected the minds of the local population, wouldn't you agree?

We were about an hour or so North of our next stopping point of Kom Ombo, when we approached the row of piers of a new Nile Bridge:


There's certainly a great deal of concrete reinforcing going into those pillars!

Who needs a floating crane when you have a  barge and a truck mounted one?

Such concerns were pushed to the far reaches of my mind as I contemplated the simple (and primitive) pastoral scene which next glided into view:

My fevered brain was further quieted as we approached the beautiful temple to two gods; Kom Ombo!

Perhaps I had let my imagination run wild, after all?

By the time the tourists had marvelled at the carvings of familiar surgical instruments and seen the mummified crocodiles; and run the gauntlet of the avaricious traders at Kom Ombo, the light was failing. We set sail once again just as the temple lights were switched on.

If only we could have delayed our departure for 15 minutes or so, I could have got you a much more impressive photo'. (That's the same Sonesta cruiseboat in the foreground.)

We sailed away as the Nile was slowly engulfed in the deep black which is the Egyptian night. We knew when we were approaching Aswan, as the contrasting, modern, beauty of the illuminated Aswan Bridge hove into view:

As we docked, right in the middle of Aswan's river frontage, we were presented with this fabulous view of the Nobles Tombs on the West Bank. 

  
OK, it's brash and gaudy, but it makes the lighting of the King's Valley Mountains at Luxor look decidedly amateurish. Perhaps the moon rising over the opposite Nile Bank was meant to show us a more natural type of beauty?

As we entered our cabin, after a sumptuous dinner and more than ready for sleep, we were confronted by a towelling elephant:

Another first, as far as I was concerned, but maybe a reminder that we were now as far South as the Royal Viking would be taking us, and we wouldn't be seeing the real thing on this trip?

What about tomorrow, I wonder?