Christmas comes to Luxor, with New Shoes for Edward.

Well, we're off to Windy Nook tomorrow, courtesy of Easyjet. It's just not cold enough here to be Christmas time. I mean, it was 27 degrees Centigrade today for heaven's sake!

We called down to the Etap for our last tea and free cake this afternoon and found out that Christmas had indeed arrived:

As we have guests arriving before we actually get back from England, we've had to rope in one of our Luxor friends to look after them till we get here. The lovely Christine (of Tutti Frutti fame) has stepped into the breach, and I'm sure that she'll look after them admirably! Having no shame at all is very useful, we've also roped in one of our Egyptian neighbours (and good friend) Adam Hagagg. I'm sure you'll remember him; he has the little coffeeshop opposite. Our alley is named after his grandfather, Osman.

Adam has agreed to hold the keys for us, just in case anything goes wrong while we're away, and hand them over to Christine when she goes to collect the guests. Isn't it good to have friends?

Talking of friends, some of you know another friend of ours; one Ahmed Badawy, caleche man 'extraordinaire'. He is still suffering from undernourishment, and his chest complaint is getting no better, but we came across his two brothers, Samir and Sayed, and Edward the horse, while we were ambling down to the Etap. This is where the other part of the post title comes from:

Sorry about the picture quality, as usual. I've no idea why they have that misty bit in the middle!

I'll see if there's anything worth Blogging from Windy Nook when I get there.

See ya!

Made inSyria?

I managed to drag Freda out into the cold tonight, to visit the Syrian Market which I reported on the other day.

Thankfully, the giant speakers have been done away with, so we didn't get hearing damage as we went in this time. I took my fancy telescopic camera tripod (a gift from my very kind brother) so that I might be able to get some decent pictures in the poor light. Here they are:

This first one was taken in the far left hand corner from the entrance. (We'd past several stalls before we got here, but they were either too crowded to get a decent look at the goods, or another one of them was a lady's underwear stall with some quite naughty stuff on display!) Made in Syria? I don't think so, unless there's a town in China bearing that name! Lots of the kitchen utensils and fancy goods on display here had Chinese labels on, it was quite disappointing really.

Nearby were some very fancy lady's gowns:

 Carrying on further around the tent, we came across another stall selling sexy lingerie, which I couldn't have photographed because it was chock a block with Egyptian women. I did snap a couple of the outlandish bedspreads, though:

Soon enough, we came upon the lady's nightgowns, to me they look the same as the ones I snapped last April. I shouldn't be surprised if these weren't also of Chinese manufacture. What do you think?

The applique work which we came across next was very nice. Although why the Syrians would produce pharaonic art in applique is a bit of a mystery to me, maybe the Chinese had a hand in it again?

I would say that there were more stalls selling the following beaded stuff than anything else. Some of it is exquisite (and costly) while some looks pretty garish with all the glittery stuff to spoil it. There are wall hangings and table runners, table cloths and cushion covers; all sorts in fact. Many of them were obviously Quranic Texts, but I cannot read Arabic, so cannot help you there!

When we came out of there, we both needed the loo, I think it must be the cold here! So we made our way around to the Winter Palace, where the facilities are always acceptable. Not wanting to be seen as freeloaders, we thought we would treat ourselves to a drink in the Royal Bar while we were there. For about an hour, we had the place to ourselves, four bar staff and a pianist. The service was excellent, we even had a welcome visit from the '1886' manager. (No, he's not an OLD man from the past, he's the manager of the famous '1886' restaurant!)

I love it here in The Royal Bar, look at this picture and see if you can imagine Carter and Caernarvon leaning against there, or tucked away in a corner, "If you can finance just one more seasons digging, my Lord, I'm positive I can come up with a royal tomb which will make all your waiting worthwhile."

Elf 'n' Safety

As you know; we've got no government to speak of here in Egypt. To the Egyptians, that means that they can do whatever they like! 

As I sit here in our livingroom, I can see four building extensions going up without any building permissions or anything, or so it would seem. One the right, looking down Gold Street, there are three buildings having an extra floor stuck on the top of already high buildings. They are all almost next door to each other.

The furthest away one must be a cheap job, as they aren't using any mechanical help. All the sand was carried up ladders in buckets on men's shoulders and tipped into a big pile. Today, there's been about eight men hand batching concrete, carrying it about on their shoulders again, and then shoving it down into the shuttering.

The next nearest one is having a bit of money spent! This is where the post title comes in. Last night, up till about midnight, they were working on the roof. No lights, no safety barriers, nothing! I awoke this morning to find this device had been constructed in the hours of darkness:

You can see what it is straight away, can't you? They've hired a concrete mixer (which is blocking Gold St, by the way) and a petrol driven winch to shoot a small skip full of concrete up onto the roof, where it's tipped into a four-man wheel barrow before being laid where they want it. If you look closely, you can see where they've knocked holes in the balcony wall downstairs through which they've shoved some of the supporting timber, what a cheek?

There are another two projects going on which I cannot see from here, I have to go onto the terrace to see them.
Surely, now that the Egyptians have a chance to change their circumstances through the ballot box, they must stop taking advantage of any and every opportunity to do things the wrong, or the snake, way! If they are going to carry on like this; then they'll just never advance and take their place in the modern law abiding world where starvation isn't always just around the corner!

I sometimes despair!!!!!

Return of the Syrians.

Since about a week ago, they've been building a rather large tent behind the Temple, opposite Sindbad's. At first, I imagined that it would be something to do with the election, or one of the political groups at least, but Madame Farida soon realised that it was going to be a bazaar. And so it was!
Yes, the Syrians are among us once again.

 I find it quite unnerving to notice a common factor between some of these young men and my memories of Gypsies, from my childhood. Some have the same wild, romantic (and magnetic) look that I remember in  some of the neckerchiefed swarthy skinned drivers of the bow-topped horse-drawn caravans of a lifetime ago! Maybe that's where the word 'romantic' is derived from 'of the Romany'?. Who knows?  

Anyway, it seems that it will contain the same stalls as last time, although they aren't all there and set up yet. Some of the stuff already on show is quite remarkable; bedspreads like you haven't even imagined!!! I'll get along there in the next few days and take some pictures. (Just an aside: probably the most popular picture on this blog, as far as people finding the Blog via a search which brings them to the particular picture, is that of the fancy ladies (under)wear which I took at the last Syrian Market.)

They'll be there for about the next 18 days or so, so there's plenty of time to go and have a haggle for something which isn't usually available here in Luxor. The biggest problem that I encountered so far is that of getting past the giant speakers at the entrance without my head exploding!

So, there you have it! Anyone who's visiting over the next couple of weeks or so; has a new attraction and an opportunity to buy some stuff in Luxor which actually looks to be of GOOD QUALITY for a change.
But remember what your old Granny used to say: "Don't spend all your money in one shop."

No Sensational Election or Unrest News, Sorry! But a Fabulous Guest at 'Our Luxor'.

Well, the electioneering on the second day of voting didn't provide any sensational news, what can I say? The Freedom and Justice Party were the biggest winners, apparently. So we'll wait and see what happens next.

In the meantime (or should I say, "Meanwhile, back at the ranch," just for us oldies?) we've been carrying on as normal;. Cleaning, shopping, cooking, eating and of course cleaning! Mr Rashad the cleaner hasn't been too conscientious lately, which has left me to struggle on with the stairs by myself most of the time. Mind you, I'll not complain too much, as we are saving his wages at a time when it all counts! In saying that, I must admit that bookings are coming in, even though they are slower than we would have hoped for at this time of year. We aren't having to turn so many away as usual, so that's also a good thing. I hate to have to disappoint people.

Our current guest is a very famous person! (Although I'd never heard of him before.) When his first enquiry came; Freda 'Googled' him, as his name is quite unusual. 'Souhail Kaspar', ring any bells? He's a darbuka virtuoso! (I've heard the name of the drum pronounced darabuka, in the same way as Karnak is pronounced Karanak by the Egyptians.) Here's one, that I didn't make earlier:

Of course this is probably just a tourist version, I should imagine that it wouldn't stand up to the hammering that Souhail gives them when he gets going!  Have a look at him in action here: Souhail Kaspar solo!

You can see a little wickedness in his eye on the video; it's even more evident in real life! He's a super bloke, and we've been ever so pleased to have him here as our guest these past few days, along with his companion.  She has been visiting a world famous Ghawazee dancer here, only a few streets away, would you believe? Here he is, I did ask him if it was OK to 'Blog' him, and after haggling him down from £300 to $300 to 300LE to a 'thank you'; he agreed!  

They're leaving tomorrow, to further their research in another part of Egypt, but I do hope that they'll be back again on their next visit to the 'New Egypt'.