'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!

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