The temperature when we went to bed at about a half past midnight was still over 35c, but I didn't want to have the A/C on all night just yet. Big mistake! The bedroom was quite cool from having the new unit blasting away for a couple of hours before bedtime, and I (at least) was soon asleep. However, it was a fitful sleep as the room didn't stay cool for long. I awake violently at 04.16, it was raining, and hard enough for me to hear it stotting off the roof!
I panic at the sound of rain, as all I can think of is (a) having to repaint the flat, and (b) what can I do to stop all the furniture getting wet? I was out of bed in a trice. As my hand touched the wall to steady myself, there were sparks! I'm having this problem of static electricity at the moment and I keep giving Freda shocks when I touch her. (It's a good bit of fun, actually, as she's been doing it to me for years!)
Anyway, back to the point of this. Brought all the cushions in from outside, and the line of dry washing, of course. And then went and sat in the shaded bit of the roof terrace, willing the rain to stay light and to stop shortly. (Shades of King Cnut, eh?) The big nasty black clouds which were dispensing the rain were moving north easterly, and I could see little bits of night sky here and there. Then came the lightning. (I'm always reminded of scripture when I see the lightning: "As the lightning flashes from the east to the west; so shall the coming of the Son of Man be!" As quick as that.)
It seemed to ease off, so I came indoors and .... made a cup of tea, of course! It soon started again but after a while of being on and off, it now seems to have stopped altogether.
Now that we are wide awake it's no use going back to bed, so Freda is on with her absolutely favourite task, ironing, and I'm about to try and do something with the roof terrace, as our current guests are expecting breakfast out there at 08.00.
I'm just waiting for it to dry before I get the vacuum out. The dust was blown up just before we retired for the night. The wind has been coming and going as well, lately, but I suppose it is the season for the Khamsseen Winds from the Sudan.
Never mind, it'll be sunny again tomorrow!
I noticed, the other day, that one of the "Referring URLs" (where people are referred from to my blog) was actually a hardcore porn site! You could nave knocked me down with a feather. For a while now, I have been recording some of the search keywords which also direct viewers to the blog, I thought that they might give you a little amusement. So here they are............
Search Keywords for blog
love note for secretary 27/04/2011
wedding winter palace 27/04/2011
pictrure of practical chemistry 20/04/2011
reinforced cement concrete 19/04/2011
strange tank transporter 17/04/2011
Escort girl 14/04/2011
rent a flat in belzoni house Luxor 13/04/2011
luxor color civilian camera 12/04/2011
apartments in sardines 10/04/2011
luxor dish 20/03/2011
mr. ramadan Luxor 2010
I can see the connection in some of them but some of the others are really beyond me. What do you think? There had been one or two, previously, which were utter nonsense, but for the life of me I cannot recall them now, it's so frustrating!!!
One of them (again, I cannot remember now which one) I typed into the search engine and found something like 25000 results. Thinking that most people won't go looking at more than two or three pages; I decided to try and find the reference to "Discover Our Luxor Apartment". Well, after scanning 900 results, I gave up. Who is daft enough to trawl through all those (and obviously more) pages? (If you're going to say "Daft Edward" Don't!!!!)
Here in Egypt it's "Sniffing the Breeze", a custom which has been celebrated since at least 2700BC, apparently. All Egyptians, whether Muslim, Christian or "other" celebrate the renewal which spring brings by having a picnic! The usual fare is salt fish and onions, coloured eggs are also part of the festivities. I cannot back up this claim with references, but I should imagine that most civilisations have some history regarding appeasing the gods at this time of year, and using the symbol of the egg as a sign of new birth is common all over.
Luxor residents tend to congregate wherever there is a small piece of grass on which to spread their blanket. If there's no grass; then any space will suffice! The Corniche will be heaving with mothers and children, some fathers too. The paved area behind the Temple will be jamb-packed. But.....remember what I wrote yesterday about litter and rubbish? Well, tonight and tomorrow will demonstrate just how messy Luxor can get for the poor Amoun men!
Spring being in the air here (it's absolutely gorgeous here, by the way) some of the mad English people residing on the "Side of the Dead" intend to have their own Mayday celebration over there at the Sheherezade Hotel on Sunday! Yes, Maypole, May Queen and the works. I'll just have to get over to see it all. According to my source, it starts at around 4pm and people attending should wear flowers of some description. The Sheherazade is only a ten minute walk from the ferry, I might see you there!
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!
Freda's lists are ongoing, as you know. Lists of things for me to do, her to do, things to get now and things to get and do if and when the money becomes available. Well, we've conquered the A/C problems for the moment, but the new one in our bedroom is rather unsightly on the outside.
Solution? Get Edward the carpenter to box it in with some "Islamic" patterned board stuff (like pretend meshrabeya). That's been my job for most of the day today, but it isn't finished yet. When it is, I'll let you see the pictures I've taken as I have been going along.
I'd actually forgotten that I'd snapped these the other day, until I was loading some other pictures onto the laptop. The balloon looks as if it is showing its occupants the Avenue of Sphinxes, from very close up!
It must have landed actually on the Avenue, I cannot think of where else it could possibly be!
The Main Event!
The exciting part of today was to come this evening. KV Explorer (of TripAdvisor fame) had invited Freda and I to join himself and his wife, and Suziesooze (of the same ilk) and her Mam for an evening celebratory meal at the cafe at Carter's House, over on the Side of the Dead!
It was Mrs KV's birthday, and KV certainly pushed the boat out. I was delighted to see an old friend there, the manager used to be at the New Winter Palace and had always been very welcoming and attentive when we used to either stay there or when we used to go and tourist watch when we first had our own property here. Needless to say (as most Egyptians do) he remembered me straight away, very gratifying!
There were three tables set together, with balloons draped around the four stout pillars surrounding the tables. Mrs KV was very excited, especially as we were the very first diners to book an evening meal at this very special venue. Can you imagine it? The very house where the famous Howard Carter, the discoverer of the tomb and fabulous treasures of Tutankhamun, the boy king. And no-one on earth has had this privilege before us, and for her birthday celebration!
The food was as you might expect food to be which has been prepared by the chefs of the Luxor Winter Palace, and the service was also what you might expect from one of the finest hotels in Egypt. The first course was a platter of four mezzes each, a beautiful creamy tahina, some aubergine with shredded carrot, Baladi salad, and some cucumber in yogurt, all with different dressings. With them came baskets of four different breads, and a small serving each of warm spring rolls. Utterly enchanting!
The main course was fish in a mouthwatering butter sauce, with a picturesque rice pyramid and all the trimmings.
The crowning glory of the evening, though, was the jaw-dropping birthday cake, not a mixture of different gateaux from Twinkies, oh no! It was a pastry chef's masterpiece from the head pastry chef at the OWP.
Yes, I'm sorry to have to tell you that they are indeed fresh strawberries all around the cake, and yes also that the statue of King Tut is made entirely of chocolate. We all had a substantial slice of cake, but there was still enough left to feed an army. Here's my slice, I had to manfully struggle to get it down!
Seeing as it's my birthday next week, I shared Mrs KV's party (and all at KV's expense!). As well as this treat, he also brought me a present of a box of assorted screws, from tiny lickle baby ones to BIG NASTY DADDY ONES! Plus, a mini Surform. We both appreciate tools, but KV's birthday girl doesn't share our passion, so I chose the following song for her birthday............
Have a listen, I hope you'll enjoy it.
Just before I go: I should tell you a quickie! When people find my blog, it tells me where they found it. Today, some one typed into their search box "luxor color civilian camera", and found this blog! Queer, or what? Goodnight.