It's Polling Day!

I'm sure that you've read elsewhere about staying indoors and off the streets during the voting here in Egypt. Well, as the old saying goes in places like Windy Nook 'Shy bairns get nowt'! (Another colloquialism, meaning that if you don't push yourself forward, you'll never get anything, or anywhere.) So off we went, two intrepid reporters, but disguised as ordinary ex-pats; no flashy cameras or microphones for us, just a sharp lookout for anything out of the ordinary. (We were mindful of the 'spies' and TV folk who were reported as being arrested and misused in Cairo.)

But, as we always knew anyway, Luxor isn't Cairo; it's like a different country as far as that sort of thing goes! We jumped the Arabiya on Sharia Karnak, as usual when heading to the southern extremities of Luxor like New Hospital Street and those other foreign places. Strategically placed at junctions and the like were little men shoving leaflets into the hands of those sitting next to the 'bus door, obviously political activists. (You can tell, 'cause they remind you of the same sort of anoraks  [colloquialism: 'anorak' who is obsessed with some passtime or hobby which normal people consider to be unutterably boring] which do similar thankless tasks the world over) The traffic got slower and slower as we wended our way along Ahmed Orabi Street. (Also know as Coffee Street)   

When we got to the end, at Salah El Din Square, we could see the reason why! Voters.....everywhere! There were very long and wide queues all the way along the right hand side of the square, outside the school. Firstly, we saw the men, but as we actually rounded the corner proper, we saw the queue of women. There seemed to be a lot more women waiting than men. There were policemen on the gates to the school, not letting people in (or so it seemed), or maybe they were only letting so many in at a time. On the other side of the Square there stood a really lovely armoured troop carrier, sand coloured and looking brand new! They don't like you taking pictures though. Like most of the army equipment here; it seems as though the new stuff goes to Cairo and is eventually cascaded down to the provinces when it is as ancient as the monuments and in worse condition! Most of the army vehicles which I've come across in the near desert of the West Bank have had smooth tyres, no lights (or only one or two scattered about) and almost non-existent exhaust systems. That's before you look under the bonnet (hood) and find that the big chunky Toyota Landcruiser has a tiny Daihatsu engine floating about inside and that it now has only two wheel drive!.   

The voting is apparently taking place over two days here, as at the last election there were a great many people who didn't get to vote because the polling stations closed while they were still queuing outside. (I remember this also happening in England, another little sign that our 'betters' are trying to turn Great Britain into yet another third world 'basket-case' country which will end up looking to our European 'conquerors' for salvation!)

Note to Myself: Stop going off on personal rants while trying to inform your readers of the current situation in Luxor!!!

Eventually, we made it through the crush without knocking anyone over, and headed out along Salah El Din Street, towards the Iberotel. The school on the left here was also being used as a polling station. I think it's a girl's senior school? Here, the queues were thoroughly mixed, men and women together! But also spilling out all over the road on the other side of the dual carriageway.

There are more policemen about than I've noticed in years! And very smart too, their uniforms looking new, to me. Traffic horrendous everywhere, or so it seemed.

We took a break in Tutti Frutti's and had some well deserved tea, well, Freda had a coffee, as she doesn't care about the expense! It was quite busy in there this morning, mainly ex-pats and longer term regular visitors, but wide ranging and interesting conversation. On leaving, we turned right and made our way along to Medina Street. During the last elections here, the police virtually closed the top end of Medina Street as there is a polling station just farther up and the crowds were very big, and restless. Today, however, I don't think I saw a policeman there at all! We ambled down Medina, picking up bits of shopping as we went, the small bread buns in what we call the 'Little Baker' looked lovely, so we got a pound's worth along with two pieces of their lovely cake. We cut through to TV Street, coming out just a bit further down that Khair Zaman and managed to get on a 'bus in a couple of minutes.

Lo and behold! At the bottom of TV St,. the police had erected barriers across the road and the driver couldn't turn right! Looking along to the right; it soon became perfectly clear why they had done this; you couldn't get moved for queuing voters, they certainly seem to be taking their new found responsibilities seriously. That's got to be a good sign!

Off we went, along Salah El Din Street again. This time we both noticed earnest looking young men near the polling station with laptop computers on the bonnets of cars (for our American readers: hoods of cars). We decided that they must have been conducting 'exit polls' or something.

After battling his way along the Corniche and past the Winter Palace, the driver turned up Sharia Mahatta (Station St) and then cut along a back lane onto Kelopatra (Cleopatra) Street before finding his normal route again, near the railway crossing on Mustafa Kamel Street and eventually dropping us off outside our little alley. By this time, of course, I was gagging for more tea!

So boys and girls, what do you think? I think that today's conclusion is..........that Egyptian elections (at least here in the civilised part of Egypt) are proving to be of no consequence to visitors who might be wandering around the town centre. The crowds which we witnessed were no more threatening than the usual crowds of shoppers in any busy shopping mall or high street. Certainly far less intimidating than the crowds which British people are used coming across after the end of football matches.

It;s probably time for a little snooze now. It's a hard life here on the 'front line' of civil unrest and lawlessness, you know?

Speak soon. 

Succumbed to Temptation!

Now then, those of you who know me will realise that I'm not a man given to weakness in the face of temptation! I studiously ignore the clamourings of the lady in the Luxor Post Office, who is eager for my body. I disdain the sultry, half hidden, eyes which sometimes beckon at me from behind the full veils of young women in the streets. I even refuse the odd cigarette proffered by one addict or another (not very often, mind, but that's another story!) and I always refuse the reefers and opium offered by various of my neighbours!

That's the sort of guy I am! (Just setting the scene for you, you know?)

There's a new lady in town (we'll call her Ann2, to protect the innocent) and we've become quite good friends through emailing and finally meeting her last week when she moved into the Etap while she searched for a flat to rent, long term. She's now found somewhere, and is ensconced there as happy as Larry, or should that be Carrie? Anyway, she suggested that the three of us should go out for lunch together on Sunday. I'm so sorry to disappoint you Dear Reader, but I did succumb to the temptation to go to the famous Tutti Frutti for their well recommended Sunday dinner. As it happened, I was right to give in, it was absolutely lovely!

Lovely, tender, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding! Along with roast and mashed potatoes, carrots and peas, and cauliflower and cabbage, all with a jug of tasty gravy. Scrumptious! My natural sense of decorum and good manners stopped me from pigging out with the gorgeous apple and cinnamon pie for pudding. So at least I did manage to withstand some temptation, didn't I?

How do our guests feel about the 'troubles' and 'hassle' they find in Luxor?

Well, I'm going to stick my neck out again here! From talking to our guests each morning at breakfast; it would seem that they just DON'T find it, as they don't even mention them/it.

Not that I'm one for 'blowing my own trumpet', but I've decided to start and publish the 'Our Luxor' reviews on here, just to let you see some tourist reactions, if any, to the supposed 'hard time' so many people report on, regarding their stays in Luxor.

This one is our latest review on FlipKey (it should appear on our TripAdvisor advert shortly) and is from a lovely American/German couple from Portland in Oregon.

Portland, OR


Left on 11/25/2011 for a stay in November 2011
In our trip to Egypt we stayed in everything from 4- & 5-star hotels to a tent in the desert. And "Our Luxor" was far and away the most comfortable and best-designed (for the comfort, convenience and delight of the guest) of any of them. Edward and Freda have literally thought of everything a traveler could possibly want, and put it in lodgings that make you feel like a pasha. Breakfast on their terrace looking over to the West Luxor mountains is unbeatable, both for the view and the fresh fruit (different every day), fresh lemonade, made-to-order eggs, etc. Freda also makes a great packed breakfast for early departures. And she will even launder your desert-weary clothing for you! She & Edward will give you fascinating insight into the workings of Luxor, which you won't get on the regular "tourist circuit." We would recommend Our Luxor for any travelers with just one caveat - no elevator (but which did not bother us at all, and we're no spring chickens).

See? No mention of anything untoward. I know that the review is only meant to be for the 'Our Luxor Guest Apartment', nevertheless, I'm sure that if Luxor had been particularly unkind to our guests they would have said something about it?

Our latest guests left on Friday, after only three nights here. But.....they had previously been staying (since Saturday) right next to Tahrir Square in Cairo, where (and when) there have been unspeakable horrors reported in the worlds press! When I asked the lady about their experience there; she told me that, at first, they had been naturally apprehensive, but even though their hotel was keeping its doors locked, they went about their sightseeing etc. just about as they had planned. But steering clear of the crowds of demonstrators! She hadn't even been aware of the widely reported tear-gassing of a demonstration in Luxor while they were here! (Mind you, I wouldn't have known about it either, if I hadn't heard it third or fourth hand.)

No-one seems to want to believe that these political problems, and the people who are involved in them, are not concerned with foreign tourists. In fact, I don't suppose that the thought of visitors or tourists even enters their heads!!! Let's face it, while you were on the Aldermaston Marches, 'Banning the Bomb', or protesting with Otis Ferry on behalf of the fox hunters in London, or along with the massed 'Anti-capitalists' at a G8 Summit: did foreign tourists ever figure very highly in your mind? Of course not! But if someone had accidentally found themselves in among your crowd and had fallen or been knocked over or whatever; you would have done your best to help them. Just like our Egyptian hosts, anyone with an ounce of humanity would help a stranger in difficulty. After all, most protesters just see themselves as human beings wanting a fair crack of the whip, either for themselves or for someone else!

Let's stop the scaremongering, eh?

Current Situation/Trouble/Unrest in Luxor Nov. 2011

Hi, I've been noticing that people are being directed to my Blog because they're searching for the above. Well, it so happens that I too am searching for the same things as I go about my daily wanderings around our little town!

Other foreigners who live here do the same. After all, we do live here, and we really need to know if there is any significant threat of danger to ourselves and/or our families and friends, and that's before we even take into account our possible, or potential, guests and visitors!

So, there we are, wandering around the places where we would expect tourists and other visitors to normally also wander around, during the day (now that it's more comfortable, temperature wise) and in the evenings too. The most offensive thing we've found so far is that the caleches are parking right outside some of the hotels and causing a very bad smell, through the horses standing there for hours on end and pooing and weeing with no prospect of it being washed away. Phewww!

Mind you; there was a demonstration the other night. Apparently it centred upon the Police Headquarters in the farther reaches of Madina Street, in the more southerly part of town, at 10.30pm ish (or so I'm told). Of course, the security forces (no idea whether it was the Army or the Police or what) took fright and set off some tear gas canisters in order to give the impression that they were actually taking control of the situation. One or two restaurants in the Little Britain area were reported to have closed their doors in case the drifting  tear gas disturbed their diners. I cannot imagine there being all that many people dining at that time of night, but you never know, do you? Likewise, I cannot imagine many tourists being out and about in that area at after 10 at night anyway! I certainly wouldn't expect any guests of ours to be up there at that sort of time in the winter.

So, where does that leave us? Under normal circumstances, we can expect up to 190,000 visitors per month in Luxor at this time of year, that's well over 6000 per day. I just wonder what proportion of them (given normal numbers) might have seen this demonstration, or might have been in one of the restaurants at 10 o'clock at night, or wandering the streets in that area in the cold and dark?

As it happens, tourist numbers are still very low (although they have been slowly improving bit by bit) so I suspect that the actual number of visitors (even very slightly affected by this show of dissatisfaction and/or the over zealous response of the security forces) might have amounted to 15 or so? (A rather generous estimate in my opinion.) Of all the demonstrations which I have seen, (there's only been a half dozen or so) during the revolution and since, none of them have been anything other than overwhelmingly peaceful, even good natured! As I stood by, watching, I was getting smiles along with waved sticks and swords, combined with "Welcome to Luxor! Welcome to Free Egypt"

Which brings us to TripAdvisor and the Luxor Forum! I know that several of my faithful readers are also fans of this forum, and rightly so as it can often give first rate advice and info regarding our adopted home town. Nevertheless, there is a hard core of posters who will just not accept that those of us living here can be objective or, indeed even tell the truth, about what is going on here. Personally, I don't think that the latest demonstration was at all newsworthy! Although ex-pats are often to be found in that area, either shopping, dining or drinking, very few tourists (and even fewer first-timers) are likely to be there later than 8.30 or 9 in the evening. So of what interest would it really be to them, apart from causing them to possibly feel apprehensive about the safety of their up-coming holiday? In the actual event; it would have been of no consequence whatsoever to probably 99% of tourists, and even to the remaining 1% who could have possibly been it the area; they were in no danger at all, and would surely have been assured of such by the restaurateurs etc. As they say, 'One swallow doesn't make a summer'; likewise 'One badly handled demonstration doesn't make a no-go area for tourism'! Unless, of course, you're one of the 'Luxor lovers' who come up with inane statements like "Take off your rose-tinted specs, and see the deterioration of law and order, look at the videos of the violence etc in the demonstrations. It won't stop ME going, but the first timers really need to know what's going on." (Immediately translated by the potential first timer as "You'll be killed if you go to Luxor! You need to find somewhere else.") Don't these people think before they post their ill-advised rubbish? Not only are they consequently adding to depriving a whole region (Upper Egypt) of the means to make a living (yes, including the likes of me, for my sins) but they are also depriving thousands of eager tourists of the holiday of a lifetime!

Nearly forgot, I haven't really mentioned the "Lawlessness" have I?   Well: relatively speaking (relative to before the revolution, that is) Luxor is becoming a less 'crime-free' town. I cannot (neither would I) deny it! Before the revolution, crime was almost unheard of, as the consequences of getting caught would not be worth it, and would have been quite astonishing to Western sensibilities! Nevertheless, there was the 'odd' common robbery from tourists. I don't have any figures, but I have only heard of a very small number, even in the rumor-mill which is known as Luxor.

Since the revolution there has been a spate of bag-snatchings from tourist and ex-pat women; I believe about 8 or something in the past few months. I only know of one such incident from the 'horse's mouth', so to speak. (The lady in question isn't like a horse, but actually very attractive!) Along with another lady, she was exiting a very well known, ex-pat frequented, eating and drinking establishment and looking for a taxi, at after 1.00 o'clock in the morning, when two young men on a motor bike came past, turned around, and came past again, this second time snatching her bag and dragging her to the ground. Luckily she only suffered relatively minor grazing and bruising, but also the loss of ALL her money, her fancy telephone and a newly purchased bottle of vodka! It was (and they are) absolutely appalling! But, then again, would many of the 190,000 tourists be out drinking at that time of night, and with no return transport arranged?

I'm not, for one minute, advocating that we should only go about in groups, and during daylight or that we shouldn't be able to walk around the streets of Luxor in complete safety, day or night. But the fact remains that you wouldn't do it at home, and most newbies wouldn't think of doing it here either. Yes, times have changed, but comparatively speaking; Luxor is still one of the safest holiday destinations available as far as the tourist goes.

Luxor the rumour-mill! After the beginning of the revolution, there were all sorts of rumours going about. Gangs of newly-released violent prisoners were supposedly roaming around at night and just taking whatever they wanted, they were 'armed and dangerous!' So, our unofficial 'Neighbourhood Watch' was duly set up! Several of our neighbours armed themselves with stout staves and 'fighting sticks' (one or two even produced old scimitars) and would patrol the main street all night, till the danger abated. They even blocked the road with the street's rubbish skips (dumpsters for our American readers). Every person or vehicle which came down our main street was stopped, and ID cards produced before they were allowed to proceed. I suppose it must have been a bit like the road block where that poor Canadian man was shot last week, except that my neighbours didn't have guns to wave about. Anyway, even though the rumours didn't abate, the nightly watch dwindled out after a week or so, and we're all still here, alive and kicking!

It's not all rosy for the Egyptians though! There is a criminal element here (as there is everywhere) and they generally know whom to target. It's not tourists (thank heaven)  but people who are known to carry, or keep, large amounts of cash or jewellery. Sadly, a jeweller was shot and killed in his small shop near the Temple a few months ago, I'm sure that 400,000le was mentioned as the haul. Another jeweller was shot and injured in the leg near to the Emilio Hotel and robbed of his briefcase (full of money, no doubt) just a few weeks ago, again very late at night after closing up his shop. The Egyptians are getting scared of this criminal element. Although we have several VERY wealthy neighbours, they are not stupid enough to (or bent enough to HAVE to) keep their fortunes in the house, they are honest businessmen. However, there are a significant number of wealthy Egyptians who (for one reason or another) do keep their cash in their houses, and the criminals know who they are, through familial connections or whatever! Some of these people are so fearful of the bandits that they have actually armed themselves with guns, and sometimes shoot them off at night, just to warn the burglars that they are ready for them! We can  hear the odd shot or two, late in the evening. Again though, this is hardly likely to impact on any tourist. The worst that a tourist might come up against is the bag-snatchers, or some other opportunist thief who might see a big expensive camera or suchlike, or possibly the note changing slight-of-hand caper. In short; nothing any different from elsewhere in the world, but probably a lot less of it!

So that's about it, I think. Nowhere is 'entirely safe' from either criminals or political unrest, but I truly believe that you are more likely to be knocked down and killed in your own street than you are to be either deliberately or accidentally killed here in Luxor.

My view, therefore, of the 'Current Situation in Luxor' is that it is certainly safe enough for us to stay here without undue concern, and that ordinary tourists are still very welcome, and not in any significantly more danger than they were pre-revolution.

Well that's that off my chest, it must be time for a cuppa!!!!

More Culture at The Winter Palace.

As many of you will know; public loos in Egypt leave a lot to be desired (generally speaking, of course!). Here in Luxor, there aren't all that many of them anyway. There are some in the Tourist Souk; behind the Oum Kolthoum coffeeshop, where the gaffer tries to get you to go in, even when you just want to walk past. (I think he still yearns after working in a bazaar!) And the ones near the beginning of the Egyptian Souk have been commandeered by the Chez Omar Restaurant for cleaning their vegetables etc. Apart from these, I cannot think of any more near the town centre. Although I'm quite sure that there must be some in the outlying 'foreign parts' like Karnak or Awamaya.

Over the years, we've got to know a few of the hotel workers who keep the toilets clean. This especially applies to me as opposed to Freda, because I'm a soft touch! The man who constantly goes around the Winter Palace, dusting as he goes, used to work in the New Winter Palace tower block, where we first came across him 15 years or so ago. Ever since, every time I go into the gents (even for a minute) he's there when I come to wash my hands, turning on the tap, handing me a towel. He must have a Mr Edward radar!

Anyway, we had cause to make use of their facilities the other night, while having a hike from the Etap to the Omar Market on Madina Street. Fortunately, the doorman didn't try to manhandle Freda back out of the main door, and we made it into the main corridor which leads along to the Victoria Lounge and the bar etc. in which are the two entrances to the Ladies and the Gents, just next to the elevators. We were quite surprised to come across this sign, and the following one of easels with black and white pictures and 'impressionist' type paintings.

Perhaps you can see the names of the Photographer and Artist on the board, if you click to enlarge the picture. The camera bloke was Rudolf Lehnert and the painter; Mathias Buss. Anyway, as I'm well known as a bit of a Philistine; I preferred the photographs, but we spent 10 minutes or so having a look at the exhibition. Very pleasant!

Look out Asda!

Well. I knew it wouldn't be too long before Sir Terry Leahy's underlings set their sights on the lucrative market which is Luxor!

The new shop is opposite the Lotus Hotel, just on the left as you enter "Little Britain Street". As far as I know, there were no planning problems or protests against the shopping giant opening up their newest branch.

It's amazing what we come across on our little wanderings around the town! When we came away from here, we just happened to mosey on down the next street, known as St Joseph Street by dint of the St Joseph Hotel being on the corner. As many of you will already know, this is my favourite street for restaurants.

It starts off with the Tudor Rose, then The Oasis, followed by Tutti Fruitti, A Taste of India and Pizza Roma.

We were very surprised to see the lights on as we approached Tutti Fruitti, as it was almost 9 o'clock and she's usually all locked up by around 7! Never mind, we couldn't pass the door without popping in, could we? I'm so glad we did! Christine was trying out late opening with a different menu. Last night she had made one of her Arabic dishes. (She's been cooking Arabic style for many years before she came to live here in Luxor, and has a good nose and taste for the different, more aromatic, spices and not just the usual chilli and garlic which tends to go into a lot of the unimaginative Egyptian foods.) It was called Chicken Masrousa (or something near enough to that! lol) It was with rice (which as you also know Dear Reader, should only be served with sugar and milk) so I wasn't really fussed on trying it. However, as I've learned over the years that it's no use trying to turn back the tide of the persuasive charms of two women, I did decide to try some. I'm so glad that I did! It was lovely, the spices were light and subtle, not an assault on my delicate taste buds; a whole new experience for yours truly. Even the rice was tolerable! I think I may become a convert to 'foreign muck', after all these years. (It's OK really, 'cause it wasn't PASTA.)

What I was very sad to learn, was that Tutti Fruitti had had two poor reviews on TripAdvisor, which had dropped the cafe down from third to sixth place! It must very difficult to maintain the same high standard day after day after day, when there are so few customers about and staff can become disheartened and just drop the ball now and then. I feel sorry for Christine, and for Irish Lorraine who must feel so bad to have let her down! 

But never mind, worse things happen at sea! I'm sure that the good food and usual good service will soon have Tutti Fruitti back up among the leaders.

My mistake!

Yes, here was I thinking they were just a bunch of daft old ex-pat hippies who were congregated at the Temple yesterday! How wrong can one person be? It turns out that they were actually seriously spiritual people, seeking the Archangel Metatron (apparently the Guardian Angel of Africa) and the Lord Serapis Bey.
Of course, we had no idea of any of this until we came across some people last night wearing T shirts with the logo '' and looked them up on the net; now we know: They are 'The Angel Connection'

Day 12, 11/11/2011
Arrive Luxor. Breakfast and check-out from cruise ship. Transfer to visit Luxor Temple which is a large Ancient Egyptian temple complex located on the east bank of the River Nile in the city today known as Luxor (ancient Thebes). Margi will facilitae a meditation and channeling with Lord Serapis Bey.
Known in the Egyptian language as ipet resyt, or "the southern harem", the temple was dedicated to the Theban Triad of Amun, Mut, and Khonsu and was built during the New Kingdom, the focus of the annual Opet Festival, in which a cult statue of Amun was paraded down the Nile from nearby Karnak Temple (ipet-isut) to stay there for a while, with his consort Mut, in a celebration of fertility – whence its name.
Transfer to and check-in to The Stiegenberger  Nile Palace Hotel. Lunch at hotel, afternoon at leisure. Dinner and overnight at hotel.

The above text and picture are lifted directly from Margi's website ( The tour info goes on to tell us about the hot air balloon trip they are doing this morning.
As we were up (05.40??????) in time to see the balloons this morning, I got this snap:

Now, I know it's not very good, but I took it because I wanted you to see the full moon still there in the sky, which I'm positve would have made the flight all the more special, even auspicious possibly, for these particular passengers.

I'm delighted that all that mystery is now cleared up! It's so good to know that this special group have the wellfare of Egypt on their agenda, don't you think?


Hi Readers, yes it is Remembrance Day 2011. That makes it 11/11/11 in the shortened form.

Apparently, this confluence of 'ones' is somehow significant to some people, and even more so at 11 minutes past 11 o'clock on the 11th day of the 11th month in the 11th year of the second millennium. More of which a little later.

Since as long ago as I can remember, Remembrance Day has had significance for me. All those men (and of course women) who were killed while defending the very idea of freedom from an oppressive ideology. When I was a 'youth' I started to sing with the local chapel choir. It was decided that I should join the 'bass'  line, and I was put between two old codgers, Billy Dance and Billy Watson. Billy Dance used to point to the notes as we sang them, he was a common man and an extraordinary gentleman!  Bill Watson took his singing more seriously, and he would often sing the bass solos when they came up. He was instrumental in impressing upon me the magnitude of what actually happened in the First, or Great, War. He had been there for some of the famous battles, like the morning when 24,000 'Tommys' were killed in the trenches at Passchendaele (I forget now). If he closed his eyes; he was back there, among his dead and dying friends, the filth and blood, the screaming of men in pieces! He had his left bicep blown off and caught 'a touch' of gas at the same time. If I live to be a hundred; I'll never forget the look of such deep sadness on his face when he eventually decided that he could no longer sing the solo parts in the Easter Cantata, because his voice had 'cracked' on one of the higher notes. Both he and Billy Dance are still missed by those that knew them, we'll not see their like again!
I really feel that I owe it to him (and all his comrades who gave their lives or part of themselves for our freedom in one conflict or another) to remember them on this one special day. (By the way, I think it's iniquitous to have changed it to 'Remembrance Sunday!)

Yesterday, I found myself humming away for most of the day, and it's only this morning that I've made the connection with the song. It was Maddy Prior and it went "And it's tie a yellow handkerchief in remembrance of me, wear it around your neck me boy in flash company". Funny eh?

Well, back to the present day here in Luxor! We had been told (by a visiting friend who somehow knows more about what's going on here than we do!) that there was something special happening at Luxor Temple this morning at 11 o'clock. So Madame Farida duly dispatched your roving reporter to check it out!

As I approached the Temple from the town side, I was a bit taken aback at the number of coaches and mini-buses in the coach park Evidently the cruiseboats must be getting busier, Alhamdulillah! (A Luxor, and general Arabic, colloquialism; a bit like Hallelujah or Praise be to God for whatever he brings to us.) I had a squint over the wall by the entrance and everything looked just about normal; tour groups being ushered around by clipboard waving guides etc.

No 'different' groups to be seen here! I carried on along the back of the Temple, peering between the columns etc. here and there, but to no avail. From the 'Plaza' end of the coachpark, you can see the coaches (and a fair number of caleches too) in this pic:

As I made my way around the back of the 'Public Stage', where all the revolutionary gatherings have been taking place this year, I did notice that it was suffering from the usual Egyptian problem of neglect! It's actually showing signs of falling to pieces, how strange?

It wasn't until I got right around to the Corniche side of the Temple, that I saw them, inside the hypostyle hall, at the back side. I would estimate about 100 people gathered? Judge for yourselves:

I thought that I recognised at least one of the people gathered as an 'airy fairy' friend of ours, who happens to be a Reiki Master too, so I got our my mini binoculars to get a better look. The silly lady just wouldn't turn around so that I could see her face! Never mind though, it was a revelation to observe all these ageing hippies etc. at a closer range.

Looking closely, you can make out a number of them in a prayerful (or praising) attitude, I can almost here the collective "Ommmmmm" which this sort of scene prompts me to imagine! I felt a bit conspicuous, standing on the Corniche with my elbows on the Temple railing. watching the proceedings, but I endured it for you, Dear Reader!

As the gathering started to break up, it became apparent that there had been a number who were sitting on the ground, in the middle of the group. I was intrigued by the strange headdresses of some of those congregated there, and by the fact that many of them had had their shoes off? Some ladies were wandering among the crowd, hugging and kissing anyone who would let them, of course the few Egyptians who were there were all for that! The tourists seemed to be bemused by it all as their guides tried to shoo them along to the next point of interest.

I've no idea what they were looking for, or what experience they craved or found, here in the ancient Temple of Luxor (the hippies, I mean) but I hope that they at least remembered that their freedom to congregate and to hold their own beliefs (however strange) was hard won for them by men and women who were prepared to give their all.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Abbeville Communal Cemetery (Courtesy of

Have a nice weekend, everyone.

It's a Legend! (Oh, well Legend 2 anyway)

We bought our first 'Kirby' American vacuum cleaner system about 20 or so years ago. Apart from the fact that the salesman was the son of Freda's cousin and we were his first 'customer', the mattress cleaning trick sold the product! Once you've seen the filth that a Kirby vacuum lifts out of your mattress (and after you've been sick) then you just buy one, it's as simple as that.
Of course at £1000 including the finance, it was a lot of money but because I was running coaches at the time I could buy it through the business. It was a whiz at cleaning the coach seats etc. even though it was a bit bulky to handle in the confined space.
The man used to come and service it once a year, and fit a new belt. Other than that, it's been very little trouble. While our latest model (which drives itself !!!) stays at our house in England, we have the old one here in Luxor, where the bags don't last very long because the dust is soooo fine.

In all those years, I've never tried out the carpet washing facility. Well, I have now, and I have to say that the washing proved to be as effective as the vacuuming!  It's a bit of a clart on to change the bits and bobs about, so while I was on a roll, I thought I'd just keep going!  After doing the outside doormat from downstairs, I carried on and did our doormat from upstairs and a rag rug which lives on the terrace. There they all are in the picture, the downstairs mat looks cleaner now than it did when it was new!
We actually brought the Kirby to Luxor when we first moved here, one: because we wanted our very expensive carpet in the guest apartment to last as long as possible, and two: because we wanted to be SURE that our guest' mattresses were clean. It has behaved very well up till now, but there is a problem developing  with (I think) wear on the belt drive shaft. As I think it's also the main shaft of the motor; it could be rather expensive to fix, so we'll just have to wait and see.
I don't think they have an agent in Luxor, but you never know?

Etap Progress.

Hi, I just thought that you might like to see the new entrance for the El Luxor Hotel. They aren't using it yet, but by the looks of the progress; it may be in use quite soon.

Maybe I should have gone around during the day and been able to get a better picture, but that would be unusual, wouldn't it? If you click on the picture you'll get a bigger view, click again on 'Show Original', and then back onto the picture and it will  come up very big. (I hope.)

It really does look nice, but there seems to be no seating area for those sad people who like to sit with a cuppa and watch the new people arriving! A big mistake in my opinion. Anyway, we'll see soon enough, I suppose.

See you later, Alligator!