Dream on, brother; the world doesn't stop because it's cold. Our current guests wanted breakfast at 07:00 this morning, as they were bound for Abydos and Dendera. We were up at six, even before the balloons had taken off I was wiping along the roof terrace handrails.
Mind you, before they would have reached Qena, I was back under the duvet!!! The table was cleared away and the dishes washed in record time, I think. Never mind, the weather is improving from tomorrow, or so Freda tells me.
I had hoped to invite our guests (an Australian couple) to join us in a visit to the hawawshi man at Karnak, but Freda thought they wouldn't come anyway, so off we went this evening with good old Ahmed the caleche man.
We usually park the caleche next to the central reservation of the dual carriageway. It's actually a very wide dual carriageway, and the vast majority of the traffic only uses one side, thus turning it into a single two-way carriageway. They're queer folk these Egyptians, I tell you!
Anyway, we parked there whilst Ahmed went off to get the hawawshi and Freda's macarona. The local gang were congregating in front of us, actually on the central reservation. It started off with a couple of small laddies, about six or seven I think, and a small fire to warm themselves. As the fire was fed with bits of cardboard and odd pieces of expanded polystyrene and broken palm stick crates etc, other slightly older boys arrived. then a three wheeled motorcycle truck arrived with some bigger boys again. They brought with them some sugar cane to chew, they were obviously going to enjoy a good night around their 'central' heating!
We got to the very busy traffic island where the airport road joins Sharia Karnak, and Ahmed just drove straight onto the wrong side of the island, with the traffic haring towards us. Thankfully, no-one was killed today, and we escaped the shouting and yelling drivers as we crossed over the bridge which straddles the Kebash Road, to make our way alongside Sphinxes on the Eastern side.
As we neared the next major junction (beside the Two Brothers Coffeeshop) we came across this strange sight:
It really is one of those "Only in Egypt!" pictures, eh? Heaven only knows what the load comprises! See the boy on the top?
From there, we had to negotiate the road down the side of the new flyover. It's always a tight squeeze, which is made even tighter with the extra stalls selling the usual tat and sugar dollies with which they celebrate the birthday of Muhammad.
Two problems arose at this point; number one, was that we'd be going the really long way around, but number two was potentially more serious. We would be passing one of the blokes from whom Ahmed buys his horse feed, and he still owed him 75le out of the 300le debt which he had built up before Christmas! Stout fellow that he is (actually, isn't) Ahmed sailed on, and brazenly asked for two bags of grain while handing over slightly less than their value. The poor beggar was shouting after us as we pulled away! (Mind you, he was laughing as well as all of us.)
With the Abu Jude crossing being closed; 'our' crossing is having to cope with twice as much traffic, so it's pretty busy, as you can imagine. The other side of the crossing is now also a dual carriageway, running at right-angles to the actual crossing, with gaps where the traffic can make 'U' turns in order to access the level crossing, or the continuation of Mustapha Kamel Street, from either carriageway. Following the flow of the traffic to the right would mean travelling a couple of hundred metres to the gap, whereas the gap to the left is only about 50 metres away. Yes, you've guessed it; straight into an oncoming mass of (what looked like) a thousand cars and mini-buses and donkey carts and motor bikes, cracking his whip as he went, and demanding that he had right of way because he was driving a horse! I love Ahmed to death, but he doesn't half frighten me at times.
More by luck than good management, I'm sure, we eventually got to where I wanted to be, and the business was conducted successfully. We had an uneventful journey home, collapsing into our seats when we finally made it up the stairs! Still in one piece, al hamdulillah!!!!!