Safety in Luxor?

Hello again, do any of you keep up-to-date with the lives of the 'celebrities'? I'm asking because I obviously don't, when I see the news headlines on the laptop screen; I haven't a clue who most of the people are. During the American elections, I kept seeing "Palin this, and Palin that" and was dumbfounded to think that my hero was getting involved with American politics, but it actually wasn't Eric Oldfield (with or without a 'lovely shovel') after all, it was some woman!

"Why should he want to know about the inconsequentialness (like that one?) which is the celebrity world?" I can hear you ask. I don't! But I do want to know if there have been reports of David Schwimmer dropping out of the limelight.

You see, he's actually here in Luxor at the moment, it seems that he has taken a position as a Tourist Policeman, and is doing the evening shift at the front entrance to the Etap!!!!!!

But that's not really what I'm writing about here and now. I'm sure he'll make an excellent Tourist Policeman, but he wouldn't help to make me feel or be safe in Luxor.

"What does then?" again, I hear you ask! Well, the fact that I've never felt anything other than safe during all the times I visited and also during the four years that we have now been living here, without once coming across any situation which I found to be at all 'threatening', for a start. Another reason is that, although the locals will bleed you dry while selling you some 'genuine' artifact or providing a 'special' service; they tend to be less likely to actually steel from us or each other than people in most of our home countries (the crime rate being exceedingly low here). As alcohol consumption is reported to be a factor in 75% of criminal activity in Great Britain, and very few Egyptians (in my experience) drink alcohol at all, never mind get anywhere near 'fighting' drunk; that's something else which is not in the equation here. No marauding gangs of hooligans as high as kites on 'Snakebite' or 'Jorney inta Spayce' (Newcastle Brown Ale).

(As you might imagine, I keep up with several forums which centre on Egypt and Luxor in particular. The question of safety has been done to death on these forums over and over again during the past few months, with one or two ex-pats coming up with a similar cry of it actually NOT being safe at all! [I've been struggling with editing the rest of this portion of the post for the past three days. I don't want to upset anyone unnecessarily, but I really believe that the point has to be made!] Of the problems they have reported, I believe that many of them can be attributed to the fact that their lifestyle [in particular, 'overt' displays of sexuality, alcohol consumption and a liberal use of foul language] is grossly offensive to many of the locals, and therefore they are being increasingly treated as undesirables, and with the scorn which many locals believe they amply deserve. I have to stress though, that while their behaviour scandalises the 'ordinary' Egyptians, it is not they who are actually doing the abusing. It's the uneducated [uneducated, that is, except for the rabid indoctrination which they seem to receive in one or two of the Mosques and on the street] youth who have never been disciplined, and with their new found 'FREEDOM' want to rid their country of [what they see as] 'these rubbish people'! I'm not saying that it's right, or fair, but as an objective observer and listener to the opinions of 'typical' Egyptians from different backgrounds, I believe this to be true. Married ex-pats who are more inclined to live a quieter life, and keep themselves to themselves, are judged to be more 'respectable' and therefore do not seem to come across this level of unpleasantness. At least that is how it seems to me, but I'd hate to have to actually define their idea of 'respectable' lol.)

So, now we get to the crux of the matter. The 'burning question of the day'! Is it safe for 'tourists' to come to Egypt or (more importantly as far as I am concerned) to Luxor, that bright star in the Egyptian firmament! The answer is the same as it has always been, YES, YES, YES. As from the other night, the military government have even lifted the curfew! We haven't experienced any animosity towards tourists or tourism here in Luxor, throughout the whole of the revolution! I have heard reports of an increase in criminality in general, but this needs to be looked at comparatively, in my opinion. And it's nothing like that which is apparent in my home town or country.

Our current guests are a family consisting of parents and their grown-up daughter. As usual we took them out for a familiarisation stroll, but were shocked at the reaction of some of the carriage drivers whom we have known (not well, but who know my name and with whom we have a 'nodding' acquaintance) for a long time. "Ah, Mister Edward, you must ask your guests to use my carriage, I have no money, I cannot feed my horse. Please, Mr Edward?" It's very sad to have people pleading with you, and very embarrassing when you cannot do anything to alleviate their distress.

From what I can see, it's all very well for the 'revolutionaries' up in Cairo, with their government or multi-national company jobs in offices and factories etc., but they seem to have forgotten about their lowly Sayidi cousins, 500 miles away here in Luxor, where industry is not allowed and there are few jobs which are not wholly reliant on the tourist dollar in one way or another! Where the children are increasingly going to bed hungry, and where people who are normally like you and me are becoming desperate just for the means to survive!

Everyone can, quite innocently, turn the other way and say that it isn't their problem, and they would be right, of course! It's a problem for the Egyptian people. But for many many people, Luxor has a place in their heart and I would appeal to that love for the place and it's people.
Come back to Luxor, the local people will welcome you with open arms. You know that they don't forget a face, and they will be overjoyed to be able to say "Welcome back!"


  1. If I could insert an applauding smiley I would hear! Brilliant post.

    I have to agree that it seems that people getting comments from the locals seem to be ones that are living lifestyles which many locals find unacceptable.

    I remember shortly after the revolution coming to visit you, walking through the streets of Luxor, on my own in an area where my face wouldn't be particularly known. On the walk from the market to near your home, not one person hassled me or even said anything to me. When I got near your home,I stood near the Mosque waiting for you to meet me and it wasn't until them that anyone started talking to me,men from a mearby coffee shop. But only to check that I was ok, did I need any help and did I feel safe. When I explained that I was waiting for someone and that yes, I was fine, then men sat back down again and carried on with their cups of tea. Where I live in Luxor, an Expat female neighbour was worried at night after the revolution and several of the local farmers stayed up all night outside her gate to make her feel safe.

  2. Woohoo! One of my comments has actually been accepted!

  3. I'm doing what I can to bring more people to Luxor. But due to the need to coordinate everything and convince friends that it is ok, we won't get there until March.