Out with the Old?

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Our beloved Governor, Dr. Samir Farag, is still continuing with his re-modelling of Luxor. The lovely old Pasha’s house (above and latterly used by the National Democratic Party) on the Corniche next to my wife’s temple, has lately been another of the Governor’s victims. Since first seeing this building, Freda has wanted to live there so she could keep an eye on her temple, mainly. Too late now!
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In this photo, we could actually say “Out with the Old, and in with the New!” The recently built Susanna Hotel is clearly visible to the left, and behind that are the 60 metre bell towers of the new Egyptian Orthodox Church, (9000 capacity). Although it’s very sad to see some of the older characterful buildings going, it’s also obvious that a living town must experience change and an improvement in facilities and employment opportunities for the local population.
Another slight enigma is the two-masted dahabeya in the foreground of the picture. These boats are relics of a bygone age also. The pioneers of much of what we now call Egyptology, like Giovanni Belzoni, used these vessels to get to Upper Egypt from Cairo. I still re-read Amelia Edwards’ account of her dahabeya journey in the 1800’s (1000 Miles up the Nile) some of her observations of riverside life have hardly changed in these past 160 years! It’s compelling reading. Now the dahabeyas are making a comeback, with new ones being ordered and built. They are now the Nile cruisers of the well heeled; intimate and exclusive. How many of these new explorers will experience that same thrill which drove on the trailblazers of old?

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