Current Situation

Just a quick note to anyone wondering what was happening with Edward and Freda, everything is as normal in Luxor at the moment (as normal as it ever is!), and they are both fine and carrying on as before - as is the majority of the rest of Luxor. I'm sure Edward will resume normal service on here as soon as the restrictions on internet access have been lifted.

Benjamin (their son)

Archaeology, Luxor Style!

While idly chatting to some of the neighbours in Adam's coffee shop this morning, I learned that the excavators on the Kabesh Road (just across from the Emilio Hotel ) had brought up a large box! One chap had actually seen it being lifted out, and reported that it was about a metre square. Of course, to hear them rabbiting on, it was full of gold! But eventually he said that it was taken away unopened.
They are working at full pelt, as the Dear Leader is coming soon to open the Kabesh Road. He's reported to be bringing with him a dozen or so "World Leaders", so they had better get their skates on!

And, they are!!!!

None of your namby-pamby pointing trowel and paint brushes, like the foreigners, for Zahi's men. Get the big hats and the big buckets, it's time for the men to play, real men, Egyptian men!

If you click twice on the first picture, you should be able to pick out the same procedure going on in the distance, between the two tipper trucks.

As a measure of the size of the bucket on the machine: it took six of them to fill this tipper. The machine operator is quite a hand , I stood and watched him deftly work around that two inch cable without damaging it. Very clever. It's a pity he didn't see what was coming next though!

Yes, you got it in one, a water main. A water main of about six inches in diameter, I would judge.

As you will see if you click on the video, the hole in the ground was filling up a lot quicker than it was dug out. I was quite taken aback by the sight of the gaffers, watching the water flow and scratching their heads (and of course, being Egyptian, other parts as well!). No-one seemed to be in the slightest bit bothered!

I kid you not!!!!!

You know when you're glad you picked up your camera before you left the house? Well, that was me today.
Freda had found two lamps which took her fancy in a shop called City Styel, (that's what's on his business card) on Television Street. We went for them today, and while the shopkeeper was seeing to two other customers, I was nosing around at his rather comprehensive stock, from toys to clocks, from lamps to ornaments, from train sets to cosmetics. He really does have quite an array!
But then I found something that I had really NEVER expected to find anywhere, but, this is Luxor. CARRY ON DOWN THE PAGE!

Yes Dear Reader, it's the real, the genuine, never to be found again so buy it while you can! It's even 4 in 1 !!!!!! What more could the ladies ask for?
I wonder if he'll be "run out of town" like they did in the Wild West?

More Stick Dancing in Luxor.

We usually only get to see proper Stick Dancing during the Moulid of Abu El Haggag, but I know that there is some sort of famous Stick Dancing event held here in Luxor other than that. Maybe this is it? I'll ask someone who might know, tomorrow. Meanwhile, enjoy the show! (Double click on the vid to view it full screen)

I got another clip from the other side. I couldn't work from the front because of the lights, they would have blinded the lens. (I don't suppose that's real photographic terminology, but it'll have to do.)

Clever Clogs, with her perfect hearing, first heard the music as we were walking from the Corniche, up the side of the Temple. "I told you there was something going on", crows She! (Is it my fault I'm going deaf at this tender age?) There it was, behind the Temple, where the Squash Court had been the other week. No tiered seating this time, just rows of chairs and a man with a video camera getting in everyone's way.

I don't think it could be described as a "fetish", but I do notice people's feet and footwear, it rather takes the shine off a traditional dance when you see that the dancers are wearing trainers, don't you think? I cannot quite envisage the famous Earsdon Sword Dancers hoisting their intertwined rapper swords while poncing about in trainers, like Jessies, somehow!

Down our Street.

We went to the Etap this evening, before 6pm so we would get the free cake with our tea and coffee. (I know, you don't need to tell me that we're skinflints!) Got to the bottom of Youseff Hassan Street, and was confronted by the "new road" slicing though the spare ground where the Savoy Hotel used to be.
I did notice something going on there a few days ago, but wasn't really taking any notice, just daydreaming as usual! If you look to the left of the road, you can see all the new lamp posts as well. After our visit to the Etap, we walked along the Corniche, to have our usual gaze of envy at the steamship Sudan, and saw that these street lights were actually lit.

Also, across the junction of Youseff Hassan Street and Karnak Street, there are lines of powder spread across the road. On closer inspection it's obvious that they are delineating the lines for the ongoing Kabesh Road excavations. Looking to the right as we crossed the junction, I noticed that they have also marked out the positions (or expected positions) of the next Sphinxes to be uncovered. These markings are in exact alignment with the Easternmost row of Sphinxes, or should I say Sphinkes, like the Egyptians)

I was reading somewhere that the Minister of Culture (or someone important) was coming to see the Sphinx Avenue 'opened' in March this year. I think they had better get their fingers out!

Wedding Anniversary at the Winter Palace!

Yes, it has been our wedding anniversary today, the 8th of January. How I wonder what some of the guests back then would think, to know that we celebrated our 39th by having "High Tea" at the Old Winter Palace in Luxor Egypt? I'm thinking about people like Freda's Mam and Dad, or little Jackie Buckley, who took the photographs, or John Graham the coalman, who lent his car to transport the bride! I think they would be flabbergasted! But, sadly, they're all gone now, so we'll not find out.
If you've not had the High Tea at the OWP then you won't know what we had, will you? Well, it's in the Victoria Lounge (so that's a good start) there's tea, of course, and plenty of it. Then the waiter brings a nice three tier cake stand, laden with sandwiches (sans crusts, of course) on the bottom tier, smoked salmon, egg, chicken and tuna. The next tier has individual English cakes, in the shape of small loaves and with cherries inside, and generous sized buns plus two glasses containing jam and cold custard. The final tier is crowded with small cakes and things, ten in total. Believe it or not, we had to leave a couple of the small bits and pieces, else I might have burst, just like Mr Creosote in the Monty Python sketch! Sorry there are no pics, but the Boss forbade it as being in bad taste in such surroundings. She was probably right, as usual.

On the way there, I got a couple of pics of the foundation work for the new building.

That's a quite big machine down that hole! It's at the back of the Pavilion wing, I hope it's not too noisy in there at the moment.
This one is more to the side of the Pavilion, similar machine loading by stretching the bucket down as far as it will go into the vast hole out of shot, to the right of the picture.
They are certainly getting on with the job. I could say that they were "knocking doors out of windows" or that they were "cooking on gas", both of which terms you would no doubt understand. But I have in my mind a term used by one of my old old customers from many years ago, but in similar circumstances, which was "breaking eggs with sticks". Does anyone else know that expression? Or can anyone shed any light onto its origin?

The Death of the Small Trader!

We were walking up Medina Street last night, when I noticed this shop on a side street. I was dismayed to see it, and to think that a multinational organisation should be muscling in on the Luxor shoe trade.

I think that those of you who are on Facebook should protest, and that is why I'm bringing it to your attention!

Anthony the Stone Man.

Just for you, Dear Reader, I got off the arabeya at the railway station so that I could make sure that the statues were indeed Anthony's. It's only a five minute walk home from there, so it wasn't actually a huge sacrifice!

The first picture, I took with the camera on "Auto", but it seemed rather dark, and covered in spots again.

I cleaned the lens with the cleanest of my two hankies, and tried again on the night time setting. The result was better colour, but blurred with the longer exposure and my unsteady hands! Sorry, but it seems that I just cannot get this photography thing right!!!!!!

Anyway, I had a word with Anthony while I was there, and it seems that he didn't really mind the move and was sure that business would be OK. Let's all hope so.

Catering Wars in the Town Centre.

Eateries are always a matter of personal preference, I know that! So I'm not actually making recommendations here, OK?
This is a shot of the brand new "New Oum Hashim Restaurant" which is just up from the Duty Free shop in town.

It's actually diagonally across the road from the "old" Oum Hashim Restaurant, that's right next to the bakery: the one where you couldn't breath as you walked past! Funny thing is, it was recommended in several guide books!

Never mind, they seem to be going to run them like a two prison sentences: concurrently!

Before this new development they were a respectable distance from Chez Omar (from whence I have been buying take-away kofta for the past 5 years or so), but now they are practically on their doorstep.

As well as being in a more prominent place than their old one, they have also geared up to vastly increase their take-away trade, the targeted opposition here has to be El Zaeem 200 mtrs away on Yousef Hassan Street. El Zaeem (the take-away bit, at least) is always busy, and they've just spent a great deal of money doing the place out after only a couple of years.

I just hope that there's enough business for them all.

By Popular Demand.

Hi all,
I went back to the Etap (El Luxor) corner today and got these snaps. They've certainly made short work of the old shops. Do you remember the one on the corner, with the lovely old carved wood surrounds? It used to be just between the pedestrian and the lamp post, on the picture.

Here's a view from across the corner, and looking along the Corniche past the front of the Etap. There's quite a lot changed, I'm sure you'll agree.

Interesting to look behind where the shops once stood. If this isn't going to be the new entrance to the Etap, I'll eat one of my many hats!!!

Lets hope that Sandra and Mick don't think they're lost when they return, lol.

The Relentless March of Progress!

After the whirlwind the other night, I snapped this picture of the rather dramatic looking Western sky. At the time, I thought it had an "ominous" look about it!

Did I say "ominous"? It certainly seems to have been for the shopkeepers at the Northern side of the Etap, opposite the pharmacy. Along with the demolition crew, there were two small trucks (like the ones which empty the street dumpsters), a 16 ton tipper and a rather large Police contingent. I waited for quite a while before taking this photo, as I became aware that one of the policemen was staring straight at me as soon as I produced my camera! As I didn't fancy a night in the cells, I quickly put it back in my pocket, only producing it again after he was called away. As per usual, I forgot to wipe the camera lens, hence the spots before your eyes (no, it's not the DT's after all).

It seems to me that the fact that this demolition work was being carried out at night, and with a heavy police presence, tells us that there is something not quite right going on in Luxor just now!