So, like the working classes of so many other countries, when the Egyptian poor feel that they can take no more; they cause problems for the 'rich'. Last year we had the revolution; this year we seem to be having our very own 'Winter of Discontent'. Due to strikes in one sector or another there have been shortages of all sorts of commodities. Fuel, bottled gas (used for cooking in almost every Egyptian household) and many everyday foodstuffs are either just not available or priced so high as to be unobtainable by the vast majority. As even us 'rich folk' know; it's rather difficult to feed our families if there is a lack of food, or gas to cook it with, so how much more difficult must it be to also have no money either?
Since Egypt found its revolutionary feet, the usual general sense of helplessness is turning into a general feeling of "B****r this for a lark! If we cannot manage, then we'll make everyone else suffer too!" So, as well as strikes, we are experiencing small incidents of civil unrest. The current strike by the workers at the Esna Lock has brought the river traffic to a standstill, so the Nile cruisers are all stuck, lying around at Esna like proverbial 'loppy dogs' while travel companies are rushing around trying to find alternative transport to get their clients to the visits at Luxor and Aswan, but which coach operators have fuel? Whole villages, which don't have the necessities of life, and are consequently at their wit's end, are turning out in desperation to block the main railway line, and thus disrupting train services for Egyptians and tourists alike!
Of course, all these problems are being exacerbated by the fact that it is the Egyptian holiday fortnight, and Upper Egypt is awash with rich visitors from Cairo and Middle Egypt who are looking for a bit of warmth too.
As we were making our way home yesterday, I came over all nostalgic as we came across coaches languishing all over the streets around, and not far from, the station:
Of course, it was chaos around the actual station itself. Just next to it, is where some of the long-distance coaches leave from, just to cause a bit more confusion.