Luxor: the unadulterated truth!

Hello everyone, I'm sorry that I haven't been tapping merrily away and writing witty little articles etc for the blog. But I've been a bit downhearted!

No, it has nothing to do with advancing age and infirmity, nor even with our lifelong shortage of cash.

We have had a dissatisfied guest in our apartment!!!!!!

I never thought that the day would come when we had a review on our advert which would be anything other than full of praise. After all, that's what we aim for; with the decoration, the cleanliness, the comfort, the all-in price, the central position and the high standard of service which we hope to deliver.

Although there was no mention of dissatisfaction from the two (very nice) guests while they were here, we were dismayed when we read their review. Yes, the apartment and service did seem to be what they hoped for and expected, but they weren't prepared for the streets of Luxor, even though they had been here before.

It would seem that because they weren't first timers, we hadn't really explained enough about the town, and our immediate area in particular. So, that is why I am going to try to put that right here and now, any future guests should read this posting which I hope will give a clearer insight into Luxor life.

We are, as it says in our adverts, "right in the middle of the old town". We chose to be here. After about eight weeks, over two years, of scouring Luxor and its environs for the property which had the potential we needed; this was it! Nowhere we looked at appealed to us like this place. You've all seen the pictures of the apartment as it is now, it took us two years from buying it to get it into that "liveable" condition. Here's a picture of our little street "Haret Osman" (Osman Alley). Our building entrance is just out of shot to the right, up the three steps which you can see.

That's Freda with her back to the camera, she doesn't like having her picture taken, as I always manage to get her eyes to look like a vampire!! The street crossing the entrance to our alley is Mustafa Kamel Street (stop that giggling at the back!!!!) which is one of the longest streets in Luxor, and incorporates Gold Street, where all the gold workshops and shops are.

Our guests' complaint was that the area was "poor and filthy" and "depressing". I cannot wholly disagree with them regarding the "poor and filthy" part of their assessment, but neither can I fully agree with the idea that it might be any poorer, or filthier, than the rest of Luxor! Egypt is a "poor" country (in comparison with the home countries of most tourists) and generally filthy all round. The filth is a national disgrace, to the sensibilities of us foreigners, but to my utter amazement; my Egyptian friends don't seem to notice it! I'm sorry to say that filth is the order of the day in Luxor and every other Egyptian town or city which I have visited. Litter and rubbish is dropped wherever the litterer stands, or is thrown out of the nearest window, to fall wherever it may. It is no longer the problem or responsibility of the person who discarded it.

Although there are many "Amoun" men sweeping the streets, only the tourist areas around the nice hotels are kept tolerably clean. On our main street (and all the others in town) the Amoun men brush the dust into little piles and leave it. If the wind doesn't blow it away; it gets bigger every day, as more and more dust is swept to the same spot it eventually becomes a speed hump! The smaller sidestreets, like our alley, don't get any "official" attention at all, if we don't clean them: they stay dirty! We prefer to actually pay a man to clean our street. Mr Rashad comes every day (well, he's supposed to, but then; he is Egyptian!) to sweep the stairs and take the rubbish out of the street. So there you have it regarding the filth.

"Poor" is a relative concept at the best of times, but in a society in which wealth is hardly ever shown (showing off being "haram"); it is even more difficult to quantify or distinguish. Yes, as I have indicated, our street and area do look poor to the unaccustomed eye. Nevertheless, the area is far from being without a great deal of wealth, whichever yardstick you care to use! Two of our nearest neighbours are multi-millionaires, having names which are world famous in Egyptian tourism. Land values in our street are very high in comparison with other parts of Luxor, why do you think that all the other rental properties are further away from the centre?

As for being "depressing"; I cannot feel depressed whilst I'm here in Luxor! I see the blue sky and the bright sun every single day, and also the smiles on the faces of children who have very little, other than the love and security of their extended families around them.

Here's another pic, this one taken outside our alley, the entrance of which is just behind and to the right of the first mini-bus, between the shops.

Actually, now that I've got that off my chest, the review doesn't seem all that bad! I suppose that "Our Luxor" really is in the "Nitty Gritty" area of the town, and all the better for it! I'm just sad that our recent guests didn't see it that way when so many of the others have thoroughly enjoyed the experience of stepping out of the door into the mayhem which actually is: LUXOR!


  1. I've read the review on Tripadvisor and the review was definitely complimentary about the apartment. As you rightly say, the standards of cleanliness in the streets are not what us Westerners are used to. Whereever you're located you can't control the rubbish in the streets or the buildings that go up around your home.That is just part and parcel of Luxor. I don't think the review is bad at all and at least the elements about their holiday that they DIDN'T enjoy were things out of your control.

  2. To us, Luxor was a feast for the senses. We couldn't have had a better experience. In our stay we walked the streets from the far side of the Winter Palace all the way to Karnak. Thank goodness it was the end of November, but we tried to soak up as much as we could. The bazaar where the locals shop, was like being on another planet. We came to Luxor to be a part of it whatever it was going to be. From that first evening walkabout around the neighborhood you took us on, to that last hour chat after breakfast. It turned out to be the experience we hoped for.

  3. Hi Mike,
    Welcome to the blog and thanks for your encouragement. As I said, the guests were great and I had thought that they had enjoyed their time with us. Evidently, they did like the apartment but not the environment which IS Luxor.
    I've just been re-reading your review and that's the sort of experience we really want our guests to have, not just so that they'll give us five stars, but to show that they had a great holiday and that we might have contributed towards it in some way.
    Thanks again, and we hope to see you next time.
    Edward and Freda.