Aswan and the Cataract Hotel

On our recent short break (cruising from Aswan to Luxor on the M.S. Royal Ruby) we had some spare time in Aswan. It being a good few years since we prowled around down there; we had a pleasant walk through the souk and up to the entrance to the Old Cataract. What a surprise!!!!!!!!!
I’ve read in several forums etc. about the refurbishment going on there, and I’m sure that it was due to finish this year, but now it’s extended for another couple of years, is that right? I was shocked to see the present state of the place. It actually looks like they just started a few weeks ago, and it is just awful. The hotel looks desolate, and I cannot imagine it ever again looking as stylish as before they started. Let’s hope I’m wrong, as usual! (Mind you, I think the scaffolding around the New Cataract was an improvement!)

As usual, click on the pictures to make them bigger.

The town, in general, looks a lot nicer and more welcoming than our own Luxor. The streets are cleaner and generally better kept. The souk is much more Egyptian (or at least Middle Eastern) instead of the ridiculous Oriental Pagoda type of thing we have at the entrance to our souk! The shops and stalls have a much wider range of souvenirs, and are better laid out too. In all the time of walking around there, I was only tempted to punch a caleche driver once, but didn’t.

And, while we're on about things looking good: I'm starting to fear for the Aboudis. In the rush to improve the "Tourist Environment" and do away with the supposed ugly parts of Luxor, our "Steamtrain" Governor's men are getting on with business!

I'm almost afraid to walk past here now, as any day I expect to find the shop and all its stock bulldozed into a pile with Uncle Mohamed scratting about for books and his beloved shisha!

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