Still no new pictures!

Well, young Michael (who has the watch and clock shop on the corner downstairs) has had a look at the camera, taking it as far to bits as he could with his miniature screwdrivers and other watch working tools. But all to no avail, sadly! He's promised to take it to some local camera 'person' today, so keep your fingers crossed for me, please?

I know that doing such things (crossing fingers, or making the sign of the cross) are an anachronism in our modern faithless world. And not only with those who scoff at us Christians, I myself have no real truck with the supposed value of such inanities! However, here in the past (which is where Luxor certainly is) the efficacy of such signmaking is held in high regard, as well as being a sure sign of a living faith!

When I came across Mr Edward (also known as Igor, the surgeon's assistant from the first floor) frantically, and repeatedly, making the sign of the cross at the lock on the surgery door, I was amazed to hear his irritated response to my (probably) patronising and (certainly) quizzical smile, "But I am Christian, Mr Edward; the lock is stuck!" I walked on, feeling quite ashamed. On another occasion, as I passed a paint shop in the souk, I was surprised to see the owner locking up for the night, and making exactly the same repeated cross signs as he placed each bolt in the roller shutters and turned the key in each lock.

Is this what Christianity is actually about? Or would we be exercising our faith more if we didn't bother with locks in the first place; having faith that God would protect our goods and chattels? Or, then again, does God not expect us to take responsibility for looking after whatever is entrusted to us while we are here? Are these musings a worthwhile use of my time?

The answer is a resounding "NO"! I am not a philosopher, nor yet a theologian, and any thoughts that I might have, will already have been thought and recorded and explored and expounded by many more learned and worthy fellows than I. It's not as if I'm like Captain Kirk 'boldly going where no man has gone before', is it?

So, we are always on the lookout for new and exciting places to see or eat, even if we don't make the sign of the cross before we cross their threshold! But in the case of the Elhoot Fish Restaurant, we might have been tempted, just look at the address!

The "House of phosphorus"? Saints preserve us! (No, I'm not Catholic!) Safer to go somewhere where we possibly wouldn't feel quite so near to the 'fires of Hell', maybe. Our latest restaurant outing was on Thursday night, back to the lovely Salahadeen at Mara House. I put the following review on TripAdvisor, so that anyone else might give it a try and find the pleasure and enjoyment which we do every time we go.

The review title is "Stuffed again!"

"I'm sorry about the indelicacy of the title, but that is what happens to me whenever I visit this place!

With the dearth of tourists here at the moment, we were lucky to catch the Salahadeen open last night. It was lovely to again be greeted by the smiling Madam (Mad for short, lol.) Mara. Unlike any 'normal' restaurant, where the food can be prepared quite quickly or re-heated in the microwave, the food at the Salahadeen takes most of the day to prepare freshly, each time the restaurant is open, and therefore Mara won't open unless she has a worthwhile number to cook for. During normal times this isn't really a problem, but customers for any sort of business are very few and far between just now!

Anyway, along with the other diners, we thoroughly enjoyed our Egyptian feast in the beautiful diningroom, with the ornamental fountain gently gurgling away and the barely perceptible background music, after first chatting and sipping our pre-prandial drinks in the comfortable bar.

The lovely and satisfying meal was similar to those we've had here before. Even with the odd variation which Mara makes in some of the mezzes from time to time, it was still all that we were hoping for. The pudding was especially delish; vanilla ice cream and sliced mango, they complimented each other perfectly!

 Freda even took a couple of books across, to swap with some different ones from the Mara House library. (Damn those 'Kindle' things, people just aren't bringing, and leaving, books in hotels any more!)"

Well, I'd better get off now, as Freda wants the computer for something important, she keeps thinking that she'll have an enquiry to deal with, poor deluded girl!



Hello again. It's another lovely day here in Luxor, sunny and quite hot. (And very very quiet, all I can hear is the A/C!)

We were somewhere last night, where I would have liked to have taken a picture or two, but it was not to be! Freda dropped the camera yesterday afternoon (on the tiled floor!) and it's now not very well. But fear not! I've been into my 'Pictures' file, clearing out some of the older ones, and came across one or two which I have taken recently, but not used yet, plus, I've two which came in an email today, which you'll just love.

You know that bloke, I thought he was the richest man in the world, who owns Microsoft? Bill Gates? Well; it transpires that he's not as wealthy as our former President, who is currently clinging to life by the finest of threads, Mr Mubarak. According to Wikipedia, Mr Gates was worth $56,000,000,000 last year, whereas old Hosni topped that with a possible $70,000,000,000.

It seems obvious to me that this is the reason why Bill Gates has expanded his commercial interests into Egypt, I can just see his mind ticking away, and thinking, "This must be where the real money is to be made!" Here's the first sign of Microsoft's burgeoning Egyptian empire:

That's right folks, 'New Windows' potato crisps! No doubt, you'll remember the picture of all the (84 was it?) boxes of crisps outside of the tiny Mohsen Market down on Youseff Hassan Street, which I blogged a while ago? Well, good old Bill is obviously 'on the ball', and not too slow in spotting a potential market. 

Don't forget now; you read it here first! (Actually, I wouldn't be at all surprised if our squillionaire friend didn't get this original 'fortune-increasing-idea' from seeing the picture of Ahmed's many boxes of crisps on this blog!!!!! Maybe I should have a go at putting the bite on him? After all, if got the idea from me, I'm sure he wouldn't complain, eh?)

Meanwhile, back at the Ranch:

Our errant son sent us these two pictures of a road junction near to our home in Windy Nook, where we'll be in less than two weeks time. It's almost tempted us to rethink our holidays!

We desert dwellers aren't exactly used to this sort of thing, you know?

A new President!

I've got to say that I think everyone who goes into politics does so with the best of intentions!

Yes, yes! We’ve all heard off the sleazy politicians (especially in local government) who seem to be there purely to feather their own nests! But I’m sure that even they started off with good intentions, only to be persuaded that it wouldn’t hurt to ‘look after’ themselves (and their mates) in the process.
So, here we are in lovely Egypt, with a new President, the candidate of the Freedom and Justice Party:  Mohamed Mursi. Other than that he’s a ‘five doctors’ (as an Egyptian friend described him) and that he’s a leading light in the much talked and written about ‘Muslim Brotherhood’, that’s all I know. I suppose that the fact of him standing on the Brotherhood’s FJP ticket means that he’s serious about his religion and his responsibilities. After all, he’s now the de facto leader of the world’s most populous Muslim country, so he must be.

Whatever your beliefs (or lack of them) are, we must all accept that Mr Mursi must have the welfare of Egypt, and the Egyptians, at heart. Maybe his ideas of effecting the wellbeing of his people are different to ours; about what that actually means when we get down to the nitty gritty, in a similar manner to Labour and the Conservatives, or the Republicans and Democrats. Like in every other country where the government attempts to govern with the will of the people, the leaders and officers must, at least, start off as people of goodwill!

I’ve met with one of the FJP’s elected men here in Luxor on a couple of occasions, Dr Abdulmagoud Dardery. He seems like a perfect gentleman to me! Educated way beyond what most of the people I know will ever be. He’s obviously concerned about, and determined to represent even us foreigners who don’t have a vote!

We’ll see what the local’s reaction is over the coming days; hopefully it will be like the Christian man whom I spoke to last night. He was happy to think that Mr Mursi would win, because he viewed him as a ‘religious’ man, and as such he expected him to keep his word regarding Egypt’s treatment of the ‘other’ religions represented here.

For the likes of us; I would encourage us all to hope and pray that he is indeed a man of his word. And that he sets his face against those who would cause more disruption in this struggling land, from whichever quarter it might arise! And, that he might do all in his power to reinvigorate and protect the tourism sector here in Upper Egypt, that its people might once again have honest work to do, and enjoy its benefits.
I don’t have many pictures that could accompany this post, but try this one for size!

As this particular blog is purely my own thoughts; I will not publish any comments which might be sent, as they would be wholly inappropriate. Thanks for understanding.


Entrepreneurial Spirit alive and well in Luxor!

A couple of months ago, I noticed that someone had had a good business idea! On the plaza behind the Temple, opposite McDonald's, there appeared a few electric kids cars and quad-bike-like things. Perhaps one of them was even sponsored by a local company?

There were about a half dozen or so, pink girlie ones, police cars, and of course the Memphis Tours tourist car! I suppose that the person who had this bright idea was beginning to make a decent little living. Well done that man!

Then, I noticed one or two of those 'micro scooter' things, and then a real quad-bike, now there's a real  horse there as well, and four different sets of electric cars and other things to ride upon. There's about 35 to 40 of them, and perfectly predictably, nowhere near enough customers; or space for them all to run !

Now, I know that times are hard in Luxor, as they are all over Egypt, but this copying anything that seems to be making a few bob is just plain daft!

As you all know, we live just at the top of Gold Street (yes, it's really called Mustafa Kamel Street, but never mind!) and someone has opened a new shop selling, wait for! The coffeeshop which is just on the main road outside of our alley has been closed for about a year or so, through lack of business.

Here's our oldest  neighbour, Mr Mohamed, (he's about 83!) in his usual morning seat which is on the pavement outside the defunct place.

The entrance to it is about 5 paces from Adams small coffeeshop (opposite us,remember?)

and about 40 metres from the next biggish one across the street, which is just a matter of two doors away from the next, quite large, one. In between, is the Mosque and the young man who makes and sells tea, coffee and shisha pipes right outside the entrance, against the Mosque wall. Well, the owners of the aforementioned coffeeshop have been busy, over the last week or so,  redecorating the whole place. New windows and everything! It looks as if it's going to be on a Nubian theme, with rope wrappings around things and 'dom' fruits hanging from bits of wire etc.

I just wonder why they imagine that it's now going to pay, when it wouldn't a twelvemonth ago? Like the kids electric things and the gold shops, and the telephone shops, the list is endless: the market is now saturated, and no-one is going to make a living. I just hope that their initial investment isn't being made with borrowed money!!!!!     

How bad is it in Luxor, really?

Hiya! I'm sure that most of you know that I frequently post on the 'TripAdvisor' Luxor Forum, under the name of 'ourLuxorflat'. Very original, eh? I don't usually get exasperated with other posters, but on the odd occasion, I certainly do! I have been expecting such an odd occasion for a couple of days now; ever since there was yet another question about 'Is Luxor safe?' zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!  (Check it out here.)

I write what I know to be the truth, but there's always some 'clever clogs', who's been here so many times that he or she knows the current circumstances better than those of us who live here, going about our business, as normal, every day! I actually don't mind that aspect of it quite so much as when they start to question the integrity of myself and other people who offer up reports that don't tally with the Foreign Office's warnings or the 'perceived' troubles ( Click on this link and go about half way down the page to "And yet more demonstrations in Luxor" ) which might have impacted on someone's holiday by them being told by their holiday company rep., or their hotel, that they should stay safe by staying in the hotel. (And, of course, spending all their money there too!)

There is always one poster who immediately imagines that 'small business = shady practice', and extrapolates the fact that I have a tourist apartment, ergo; I will falsify the news and thereby put my guests at risk of life and limb in order that I might make a profit (that dirty word!!!). It's peculiar, isn't it? I tend to wonder if that is the way that they would work, and therefore imagine that everyone else is also that greedy, and stupid?

One poster wrote, "being stuck in Egypt during chaos is no fun", while referring to the time of the revolution. I couldn't remember the 'chaos' being all that much different to the usual type that reigns in Luxor on any ordinary day! But, just to remind me, another kind person posted a link to an 'old thread' . He/she needn't have done, it was another 'he said this and she said that', sadly with very little substance. For example, several posters were quoting the 'curfew' as part of the evidence of the dire straits that reigned in Luxor, when in actual fact there was never a curfew in Luxor! I believe that this curfew was suggested by the central government, and they instructed the Governorates to implement it as they saw need. The 'need' never arose in Luxor, there wasn't even one night when the local service buses stopped running earlier than usual!  

I'm often amused by posters who tell us that their Egyptian friends have told them that Luxor isn't safe! Don't these folk realise that the Luxor natives have never experienced even the sort of crime which we wouldn't bat an eyelid at? Their unregulated system of righting wrongs and straightening out 'bad lads' doesn't count with them as being any sort of 'criminal justice'; it's more like a family thing. So this talk of jail-breaks, and real criminals being on the loose, had them all terrified! It was like a national dose of paranoia! But it didn't mean a thing! Our daft neighbours set up road blocks (with rubbish skips) on our main road for a few nights. They stopped everyone, including police and soldiers, and checked their I.D. cards. The children were no longer allowed to play in the streets! (Probably because their dads were actually playing at 'goodies and baddies' and the children would have spoiled their fun!) It didn't last very long, but the blacksmiths made a killing with all the new security doors and window bars etc., lol. We had two lots of guests in February last year, the first  were in Cairo before they came to us on Feb 2nd. I've been re-reading their reviews, and they don't mention any unrest in Luxor at all, funny? You can check them out for yourself, they are from 'The Quad-Bike Queen' and 'Becky' from London.           

But back to today! All the world's press and the various Embassies in Cairo are having a field day; issuing warnings about how Egypt is potentially dangerous, and of course anyone who doesn't know, would figure that Luxor was in the same boat! We've had email warnings from the Embassy, to stay away from crowds, and to be extra vigilant on polling days and stay away from polling stations etc. etc. So, we went out to see for ourselves just how dangerous Luxor was, on this unusually hot polling day evening. Just for you, Dear Reader! (Intrepid, or what?) 

We started off, as usual, by visiting one of our favourite hotels for tea! Of course, this meant travelling on the 'bus; with Egyptians!!! The traffic was diverted away from Salah El Din Square, because of the very large queues of voters which were spreading out over the road. We travelled, instead, along past the Winter Palace to the Iberotel traffic island, where almost everyone got off the bus to go and join the queues of voters. From there we were back on the proper route, and only had two white-uniformed policemen (complete with machine guns) as company till we arrived at the N.P. While we sat and sipped, and watched the newest batch of tourists at the Nile Palace, I rang our little caleche mate Ahmed Badawi. He would come and get us, and ferry us hither and thither.

We used Ahmed because I wanted to cover quite a bit of ground, and get some shopping into the bargain. 'Hotel Row', at Awamaya was pretty dead, including the four currency exchange machines in the vicinity of the N.P. We finally managed to get some changed with the banker in the Sonesta, or else we'd have had to 'tick-on' everywhere! Up to the Isis Hotel to turn around, and then onward to the St Joseph, where we turned right towards Madina Street, and the famous 'burned out' Police Station. (Which was never actually closed, so any fire damage couldn't have been all that serious.) Then along Luxor New Hospital Street to TV Street, turning right onto New TV Street, where there was a..........polling station, right there! Horror of horrors! Luckily, we got past it intact, and carried on up to where Ahmed Hashem has his new plumbers merchant's shop, around the corner on the left. We wanted two new water filters.

Escaping from there, we slowly made our way past the polling station again, and down TV Street to the KZ supermarket, where we filled up with necessities like skimmed milk and Cadbury's chocolate. The traffic was really bad down there as the voters were still all over the road in Salah El Din Square. You cannot turn left at the roundabout, you have to go along to the new Mosque and do a 'u' turn in order to get onto Salah El Din Street, where we passed our fourth polling station.

Even with the current TV campaign here about all foreigners being potential spies, I braved a few clicks at the security forces! This is the best one of the armoured car at Salah El Din Square. I'm sorry it's so dark, but if I use the flash it gets all those spots of dust in the picture.

Here's something that I just love! I snapped it along Salah El Din Street, shortly before the Iberotal traffic island. Now then, we all know what it is, but I'll buy a sugar cane juice for the first person to tell me what's wrong with it.

We trundled along the Corniche, passing the O.W.P.and Freda's temple, without being troubled. When we came upon the Council Offices, we saw these:


Again, I'm sorry about the quality of the pictures, but I was caught by surprise and also on a moving caleche! They were partly obscured by the foliage which separates the Governor's car park from the road, but you can see some of the soldiers in their normal state of razor-sharp readiness!

If you remember, we went out looking for trouble (if you click on this link, then go well down the page) actually during the revolution as well. So we followed the same route, out towards the far flung badlands of Karnak, looking for possible sources of danger! By the time we got as far as the airport turning, my poor old stomach was starting to rumble."What an opportunity" I thought! We weren't all that far away from the Hawawshi man! So we timidly ventured into Karnak, past the huge police place there, with all the dead police trucks lying about on the road, in various forlorn states of disrepair, and past the Karnak Charity place, we were really getting into 'no-man's land' now. But, soon enough, there it was; the Hawawshi cafe!

Ahmed just goes and gets them while we wait in the caleche. The bloke always gives us a welcoming wave now, and sometimes comes to shake our hands. I give Ahmed 10le, which gets three, one for him as well. I don't know whether he gives the 1le change as a tip, or pockets it himself, I'm hardly going to ask him for it back! The food is always piping hot, and we usually munch it as we sit on the caleche, burning our fingers and tongues as we go. But tonight we took it home, here it is:

On the left is Freda's 'macarona' with a small pot of tahina. My hawawshi is on the right, it's some sort of lightly spiced and minced meat, sandwiched in some Egyptian flat bread and cooked in a VERY hot oven, in brown greaseproof paper. Absolutely delicious, especially after risking life and limb in getting the facts for you, Dear Reader!


Even though we currently have no government, other than the Egyptian Army, and our Egyptian friends are half raging against Shafique (as being part of the Mubarak legacy) while the other half rage against Mr Mursi (for being one of the dreaded 'Men with Beards' whom they think might destroy tourism altogether) it is still quite possible to range around the town from one end to the other, during polling for the new President and on an uncommonly warm evening (and get a substantial meal for two for 6le) while remaining relatively safe.

I therefore wholeheartedly recommend that anyone reading this should disregard all the Luxor naysayers, and come and enjoy this town with all it's rubbish people and filthy streets, all of it's everyday chaos, and all of it's antiquities and very 'foreign' charm.            

'New for Old', anyone?

Our little area of central Luxor seems to be undergoing what could be referred to as a bit of 'regeneration'!

We had the road resurfacing the other day, the coffeeshop on the main street is now being entirely remodelled (after being closed for about a year or so) and the Sheikh's Tomb in the back street is being all nicely done up.

The back streets between Mustafa Kamel Street and Cleopatra (or Kelopatra, take your pick) Street consist of mainly slums, that's how you might describe them if you're feeling generous, if you're not; they're hovels! But, hidden away there is this tomb (pronounced toom-b, of course) which I've noticed for years but hadn't looked into, either literally or figuratively speaking, until I recently saw it being renovated. If you click on the picture, you can clearly see where the body is supposed to be. I asked several of my Muslim neighbours, and one or two Christians who have businesses nearer to the actual tomb, but no-one had any info other than the obvious "It's a Sheikh's toom-b"

I eventually sought out the 'Oracle', who is better known as Mr Radwan, our near neighbour who is a tour leader for Viking, and studied all things historical regarding Luxor at university. It is the toom-b of Sheikh Mohamed Yemeni! As his name suggests, Sheikh Mohamed was probably from the Yemen, although he is said to have settled in Luxor a couple of hundred years ago, and has become one of those Sheikhs who are revered by the folk who live hereabouts. Apparently, there is some doubt whether the old boy is actually buried there, perhaps the site has become venerated because someone had a vision there which was inspired  by, or in which the Sheikh appeared? Who knows?

That's one of the troubles with not keeping records, facts become myths or legends which no-one can fathom without a great deal of research and probable excavation or exhumation! Anyway, someone has decided to give the old boy's toom-b the once over, and has been soliciting donations from the neighbours to pay for it. It's looking quite good, as you can see. I think the coffin dressings (they'll have a proper name, I'm sure) are all new, as is certainly the wooden window and door. The painting is almost finished, with just the cupola on the roof to coat up. He's even got a new flag!

The stuff in the foreground is the remains of sugar cane which has had the juice squeezed out of it, I'm not quite sure what they do with this, but it's obviously been collected there for a purpose, don't you think? Maybe the old crone in the picture uses it for food to fatten her goats?

Is it him under there? Will we ever know? Does it make any difference either way?  

New Bumps for Old?

You saw the pics of the Tarmac wagon and the Barbour-Green, didn't you? Well, as you probably know, the Egyptian road gangs don't strip any of the old surface off before tarmacking, so that the entrances to many buildings are actually below the level of the road. Well, neither do they make any allowances for manhole covers and the like; straight over the top! When the manholemen come to see to them they have to hammer and chisel their way through the Tarmac to find their covers, then they leave a nice depression in the road which is as least the thickness of the new Tarmac, and often a good bit deeper!

If the locals are very lucky; they sometimes end up with their nice new, flat, road looking like this:

It's only about an inch or two deep, so it's unlikely to tip any vehicle over! But if they aren't so lucky, they have to put up with their new road being like this:

I mean, really! What is the point of having millions of (Egyptian) pounds worth of machinery and using it to lay new roads when some other joker is going to come along, with his hammer and chisel, and do this? The manhole cover in the second picture is about one and a half inches below the surface, but the Tarmac which has been chiselled out is about two inches high in places, and quite well stuck to the road!

Talk about 'Labour In Vain'? Even friend Bliar couldn't beat these guys!

Yosser Hughes? Are you sure it wasn't 'Yasser'?

Last night neither of us seemed to be able to sleep, so we got up again! That was about 2:15, but the decision was actually made after we had been assaulted by a very loud crashing sound. Wondering what it could possibly have been, I wandered out onto the roof terrace to see if I could hear anything else, or perhaps see something. Nothing, nothing at all! But there was a strong smell. When I told Freda what it was, I was immediately dispatched with camera and tripod to get you all the low-down. (I did drag some clothes on first.)

When I got out of the street door, I wasn't surprised to see little Mustafa (Adam's youngest) in the street, along with almost everyone else! It was very hot, even though there was a nice cool breeze, unusually hot, in fact. I realised why when I rounded the corner, and was confronted with this:  

And this:

Yes, a lovely Mercedes six wheeler tipping red hot asphalt into a Barbour-Green! That's the gaffer on the right, with the stripey shirt.

My first thought was "What will happen to Adam's 'sleeping policeman'?" I did tell you about it, didn't I? Where Adam and one or two of the other neighbours took hammers and chisels and made a small trench across the road, in the middle of the night, to try to slow the traffic down? I'm sure I did, but that's what happened, anyway. When I turned to see, there it was, already filled in before the Barbour-Green even got near! You can see it quite clearly in the first photo. It had been quite successful, actually.

A carnival atmosphere ensued, with different children running back and forth, and getting the black sticky stuff all over their shoes. (I'll bet their mam's were overjoyed to have it tread all over the house when they finally went home.) Everyone was fascinated at the silly khawager (tourist) taking pictures of the workmen in the middle of the night. A seat was soon provided for me (they're very kind, even though they do think I'm a bit touched!) along with offers of tea and 'cigarroes', it was quite the party!

Adam was insistent that his little ones go inside when they got to where we were. The heat was very intense, I braved it though, for you, Dear Reader. Here's the hottest moment, when we were right next to the business end of the tipper truck as it was disgorging some of it's steaming load intothe waiting Barbour-Green:

I took that picture while sitting just outside of the barber shop on one of Adam's seats from the coffeeeshop.
This next one was the last of the load being tipped, where the rake and shovel men would level it out by hand.

I snapped this one just so that you could see where they were up to when I left them to for the night. This morning, I was pleased to see that Adam and the rerst of the boys had persuaded the gaffer of the road gang to make them a proper 'speed hump', before they left.

Now, if you're ever looking for us, you'll just have to look for the hump in Mustafa Kamel Street, and when you find it, all you need to do is ask anybody lying about for Mr Edward!


Luxor's reaction to Hosni Mubarak's sentence.

We are contemplating a little bit re-styling work for the guest apartment, through which case we ended up in Ahmed Hashem's tile and bathroom shop in Madina Street last night. Of course, it's like 'Casey's Court' in there, and trying to get Hashem's sole attention is very difficult. Plus, when you do manage it; it's a very fleeting experience!

I was torn between trying to regain his attention from a group of raucous Egyptians, while at the same time trying to listen to Freda who was wanting me to look at some innovative bathroom appliance, or whatever, in another part of the shop. All of a sudden, up he sprang with all of the Egyptians following him towards the stairs. "Now that they are leaving; I'll get to speak to him again", or that's what my mind was foolishly telling me.

A thousand curses on my dodgy hearing!!!!! They were dashing across the shop floor in order to view the source of the racket coming from down in the street outside. As I resigned myself to waiting a bit longer, I followed them over to the windows, to see what was transpiring. A relatively large group of men and boys were processing up the street towards the 'Police Hotel' (or perhaps the Police Station further up, who knows?) with placards and banners and much chanting. Cameras and camera phones were merrily clicking away, and one protester even took a picture of the onlookers crowded against the first floor windows of Hashem's 'Ideal Standard' shop!

Both of us being monolingual dummies, we asked Hashem to tell us exactly what they were parading and protesting about. (Of course we knew that it would be connected with the sentencing of the ousted President.) He explained that the Egyptian people saw his sentence as being far too lenient, in that he would be continuing his life of luxury, and having his family around him etc. etc. in the very plush International Hospital, where he's been under guard during his trial. However, that's not what the news reports are telling us! According to various sources; he will be in prison now, albeit the prison hospital, but even there he will wear prison uniform instead of his favoured designer sportswear. Also, his two sons (Alaa and Gamal) have miraculously been acquitted of corruption, even though they have been re-arrested and are to be charged with 'insider dealing'. People are nowhere hear being happy with this outcome of Mubarak's 10 month long 'show' trial.

Never mind, we really aren't allowed to have a 'position' on all this, as we're not Egyptian, and therefore have no way of affecting anything here. So, after Hashem had shocked us to the marrow with his prices, we made our way down to the 'little' baker on Madina Street and then along past the houses of the late Abu Naggar (the famous desert guide) and Hod Hod Soliman (the even more famous hot-air balloon operator) and Mr Bahaa Sherif (owner of the famous 'underground' household goods shop on TV St.), to Khair Zaman, also on TV Street and opposite the aforementioned 'underground' shop.

After trailing around the supermarket (and again spending more than we should have!) we emerged to find an arabiya ('bus) to ferry us home. Lo and behold, we stumbled straight into the demonstration! They had obviously not been going to the 'Police Hotel' or even the Police Station, they'd marched up Madina, along New Hospital Street, and here they were, part way down TV Street and holding up the traffic; big time!

I parked my three shopping bags on the steps to the shop, and my bottom on the step above, we were surely in for quite a wait! All in all, I would estimate the crowd at about 200, mostly on foot but including about 20 or 30 of the ubiquitous motor cycle brigade following on behind. Among the crush of demonstrators, there were two or three of the three-wheeled motor cycle trucks which have become very popular here over the past few years. (I was told that they cost 9000le [less than £1000] and they are used for everything!) On one of these contraptions, there was a small boy standing and screaming a chant into a microphone; to which the crowd were replying with their own chant. It was a very jolly affair, with, again, cameras and camera phones clicking away everywhere you looked. (At this point, I should apologise! After taking a picture of some tiles in Hashem's shop, my camera batteries went dead! I was now sitting there fuming at my re-visited impotence, which was made more infuriating by the fact that two new batteries were lying at home after being bought the previous day when the 'Low Battery' warning had come on the camera. Typical, eh?)

After just a couple of minutes, the motorbikes at the tail end were past us, and the cars and mini-buses were piling up behind, in a mass of maniacal horn sounding and shouting out of windows. We were soon seated in one of the slow-moving arabiyas, having paid our 1le fare. At this point Freda just happened to comment, "They'll be going down our street, so we'll be stuck behind them all the way!" An old woman, sitting behind us, decided that she would be quicker walking, and got off the 'bus as it stopped for the hundredth time in twenty yards! She hadn't reckoned on the driver using his initiative, (he was Egyptian, after all!) though. He turned off TV Street and into the maze of smaller streets which lie north of TV Street, eventually emerging ahead of the demonstrators at the junction of Ahmed Oraby Street and  Manchiya Street, where the new Mosque is, and heading towards the railway station.

The procession must have turned down Station Street (Sharia Mahatta), because they never past the end of our little Haret Osman., and ended up at Abu El Haggag Square, behind the Temple. Although there were certainly one or two angry faces in the crowd, the protesters were mainly (as is usual in these sort of circumstances in Luxor) of good cheer and seemed to be enjoying the gathering and the opportunity to make even more noise than usual!

So, there you have it, Mateys! I'm sorry to keep disappointing you all with these tales of non-violent and non-intimidatory protest here in Luxor, but that's the way it is here in the far-flung reaches of Upper Egypt. It's too hot to get wound up about these things for very long; they're better discussed quietly over a shisha, in the relative coolness of a balmy evening at your favourite coffeeshop!                        

More Search Keywords.

Hi, here's another bunch of search words which have brought unsuspecting surfers to my Blog! There are a few really queer ones this time: I think that "Man Stuck Inside Another Man Wife Due To Black Magic" has to be the most scary one, would you agree? The person looking for that was from an African county, but I've forgotten which one.

Possibly the most amusing one might be "touching a guys feet while he is drunk", I don't fancy trying that! One of the most surprising is the last one, as I actually know a foreign woman who is married to an 'Omar'. who works at the Winter Palace.

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Well that's it for May, I guess, TTFN.