Famous visitors?

No pictures today, sorry. But you cannot just go and snap at private people and then make fun of them, can you?
We've been to the Steigenberger Nile Palace tonight. I always enjoy it there, they have a slightly more interesting clientele than they get at the Etap. Also, we've got to know the chairman of the Steigenberger Hotel Group, Mr. Gamal, whom we often have a natter with on his frequent visits from Cairo. He's there at the moment, but tonight he was sitting in the atrium of the hotel watching the dancers, along with one of the hotel managers, so we didn't interrupt their conversation.
We sat in our usual seats (we've moved from the long sofa at the back, to the first table as you approach the bar) and began watching in earnest! First we noticed a woman who just has to be Sandie Toksvig's mother, she was an older version of the hilarious writer. What was doubly peculiar, was that she was accompanied by non other than the mother of Worsel Gummidge!!!!! I was quite gobsmacked!
But that wasn't all. Mr. Ayman, the soft handed and well turned out young waiter, had brought our tea and Nescafe, and we were just tucking into out petit-fours; when I was astonished to see two visitors who were obviously from good old Royston Vasey! The gentleman may well have been the brother of Edward (the "Local" shopkeeper) or failing that he certainly modelled himself on that denizen of Local society. His wife (or possibly his "partner") also seemed to model herself on Tubbs, but without the headscarf. She did, though, have a nice dress made of sacking material, in sacking colour as well.
As I'm sure you all remember, the Nile Palace is the best hotel for watching the tourists. They pass in one direction, and then (without coming back) pass again in the same direction! They go up the stairs and then come down in the elevator, and next appear coming up the stairs from the basement restaurant. It can get very confusing, as if the hotel was a warren of secret passageways and hidden doors.
From our new seats, we can also see into the atrium (no, not the dancers thank you, but some of the audience). Tonight we could see several young men wearing vests and shorts and standing on the edge of the fountain (blocking other peoples view) to get photographs of the dancing troupe. My immediate thought was one of utter embarrassment, as I was sure that they would be British. They were still there when we had to pass them to leave and go shopping. You can imagine my delight when I realised that they were foreigners, and not British at all! They were actually Colombian, I knew this because they were there in the company of another friend of ours; Paola the Colombian, who is married to one of the Egyptian family who own and run the Venus Hotel, not far from us. We didn't stop to speak to her, as she was trying to calm them, there were actually about a dozen of them.
It's a bit of a coincidence that another of the Venus brothers is also married to a Paola, but they live in Portugal with their four year old son. They are holidaying in Luxor at the moment, for a month. They stayed with us two years ago, but since then we've been booked when they have wanted to return, so they are currently at the Etap.
Well, that's a bit of "Local" gossip for you. We might find something more interesting before we leave for Windy Nook next week, we'll see!


When I was a boy, I had a wicked elder sister who made me play silly games! Games no-one else had ever heard of, like "Lettles", we also had enemies which were unheard of by those in the "sane" world: the "Caucasses Harrasses"! (That spelling probably isn't right, and even now I can sense her impending wrath from over 2000 miles away!)It was she who introduced me to Sardines, although I cannot actually remember the initiation.
In my relative innocence, I had always imagined that "Squash" would be a variation of our old childhood game. But it isn't! It's a serious game, played by super fit individuals who seem to be trying to give themselves, or each other, (I'm not quite sure which) heart attacks.
It's even reached our little Ancient Egyptian backwater.

For several days we weren't quite sure what was going on behind the Temple. A structure went up which was obviously going to be tiered seating when it was finished, but we couldn't even hazard a guess at what was being erected in front of them. All scaffolding and bits of glass, it seemed to have a screen at the far end!

I keep telling the Moudira that no-one likes a "Clever Dick", but she continues in her Clever Dick fashion to spot the obvious signs that elude us mere mortals. Like "RED BULL INTERNATIONAL SQUASH TOURNAMENT" plastered where ordinary folk wouldn't think to look!
Anyway, here's a view of the old and the new, just to prove that it's nothing like Sardines. I mean, you could get a stack of people in there, couldn't you?

Impressing the Boss?

Is it just me, or are the lights more prolific and brighter on one picture than they are on the other?

Or could it be that because Zahi Hawass is here, they are putting on the best show possible?

It wasn't Terry Thomas after all !

Well, Tuttie Fruttie Christine went to the Nile Palace last night (dressed in her finest) to catch a glimpse of her long-time screen idol, Omar Sharif. But she didn't see him!
We did, haha. We wanted to have a squint at him too, after all, he is VERY famous, and also to see Zahi Hawass in the flesh.
I didn't take the camera 'cause I thought it would be bad manners to intrude if we did come across him. Silly me! Other folk didn't have any qualms, and he didn't seem to mind at all.
We were sitting in our usual place when the two of them came past on their way to the lift, Zahi introduced the doorkeeper to Mr Omar, who is surprisingly tall, and then gave us a nod as they went on their way.
We like the Nile Palace as we see all sorts traipsing about there. There was the Chinese man with the two ancient geishas, then Joanna Lumley looking just as lovely in real life, and now Zahi Hawass and his good pal, the even more famous, Omar Sharif. It's a coincidence that Mr Omar was staying at the Winter Palace while we were there on our first visit to Luxor in 1997. All the ladies were in a constant state of swoon, "He smiled at me in the garden" or "He held my hand as I stepped down there". He is very big with all the ladies.
If we get back up there tomorrow, I'll take the camera, who knows?
Watch this space!!!!

Carter's House welcomes the Winter Palace!

Good evening, and welcome. (David Frost used to be good, didn't he?) Here's a strange title for a blog post. As I've said before, and will probably say again, "It's not what you know; it's who you know that really counts!"
Well, we had another invitation from the Winter Palace, this time to the party to celebrate and introduce their new catering venture at the brand new venue of Carter's House on the West Bank!

We gathered with the other VIP's in the Victoria Lounge at the Old Winter Palace for six o'clock, Sofitel were laying on transport for us. Actually, it was a rubbishy motor boat and a few mini-buses once we were on the West Bank. Never mind, we got there safe and sound to be met by a band, of course!

There were a few faces there which I recognised, but they weren't all that photogenic, and anyway the pics I took of them came out all "wobbly" so I deleted them, Haha!
We had an endless supply of drinks and the waiters kept coming around with all sorts of little tasters. Kofta, chicken, veal, giant shrimp things, something Chinese (urgh), battered fish and lovely platters of delightful canapes, eventually two for each table! My favourites were the smoked salmon with caviar.

The band played constantly, but they weren't obtrusive at all, after a while we got the obligatory "Whirling Dervish". He seemed very proficient and made his way around the tables as a photo opportunity for everyone, as well as the "official" cameraman!

Of course, each table had a visit from the different members of the management team, asking our opinions etc. and generally being nice. I was particularly pleased to re-connect with one of the management from the old New Winter Palace, whom we hadn't seen in years.
Anyway, after a while of talking and drinking and eating, we were beckoned to the buffet table. (At this point, I was rather disappointed that I'd had so much of the tasters and canapes!) However, it was only to see a display of the types of snacks etc. which the resident chef would prepare for the visitors on a daily basis, so I was then glad that I'd stuffed myself after all! I've got to say though, it looked absolutely lovely! Here's a few pics:-

All in all, I'd say it was a bold venture, but certainly it will be an exciting dining opportunity for tourists while visiting the Antiquities on the "Side of the Dead"! They open tomorrow, and their normal hours will be 9 till 5, although they will provide a special service for early breakfasts (for hot air ballooners etc.) and for evening meals where the client is prepared to pay for a celebration meal or whatever. I'm sure there will always be some tourists who want to enjoy something a bit special when out and about. This venture deserves to succeed, in my humble opinion!
We joined the Thomson Holidays crew on our journey back across the river, and Freda commented that Carol looked very elegant. Now there's an unexpected compliment!

Just a snippet. (Loose lips sink ships!)

Nothing's been happening around here for a bit, and that's why I've been silent! Life goes on, of course: the "Aluminium People" had a conference at the Sonesta St George last week, I heard it was rivetting, haha. This week it is the turn of the "Cast Iron People", who are having their Symposium at the Nile Palace.(In one of the elevators, if you follow the signs??????????)
Metal Workers of the world: Unite!
During the lull in excitement, I've been carrying on as normal. You know: annoying Freda, cleaning and drinking tea for England. I've also been reading, my most recent one is "A Woman of Cairo" by Noel Barber. Apart from some really quite rude bits, it's a great story and at the moment the narrator is working for British intelligence in Cairo. A bit of a spy, I suppose. It's very exciting!
Talking of spies: I'll bet you didn't know that I had a select team working for me here in Luxor! The latest word, from one of my most trusted sources, is that the Nile Palace is to have two "special" guests this week, Thursday I believe.
So, if you're arriving there on Wednesday, keep a lookout for anyone looking like these two. Keep your distance as one of them has a dangerous gap in his teeth (he may be Terry Thomas in disguise) and the other thinks he is a gun-toting death-defying archeologist!

Terry Thomas.

And Indiana Jones.