Haymaking in Luxor.

Well, not really! What I'm actually getting at is that there's more than me 'making hay whilst the sun shines'!

We went to the Nile Palace the other day, no English cake, I'm afraid to say, but they did have some absolutely lovely chocolate swiss roll. It was very dense, and came in three pieces; one sprinkled with coconut, one with finely chopped almonds and the other with some different chopped nuts. Oh, I almost forgot, and a small glass full of very thick and delicious raspberry flavoured 'monkey's blood'. We were so surprised that I forgot to take a picture, typical, eh?

As far as making hay went:

It looks like Mr Gamal is using this rather slack period to make alterations to his hotel. These balconies overlook the central atrium, where the nightly shows take place. To use a phrase that was very popular years ago, "They're knocking doors our of windows", only the phrase then meant that whoever it was applied to had been working extremely well, but in this case it's literal. Or so it seems!

We haven't been altogether idle, either. Do you remember that I'd lined the livingroom wall with expanded polystyrene sheets, to keep out the heat? Well, I did, at the start of the summer, and it's quite effective. I'm really rather chuffed about it, and was contemplating doing the same with the guest apartment. (Colloquialism; chuffed = pleased with oneself.) However, seeing as we don't intend renting during the summer months any more, we're now really wondering if it would be worth the expense and trouble that it would involve? Nevertheless, we had to finish off that which we'd started in our little hovel on the roof.

We got some sculpted wallpaper from Wilkinson's (a chain of cheap shops in England) and brought it over especially for the job. Today was the day! As you might remember, Freda no longer likes to go up ladders and I cannot hang wallpaper to save my life; so we've made a straightforward job seem very difficult this afternoon. It took us the whole of the afternoon to stick 6 lengths of wallpaper on the wall, and even then, it's not all that good. Never mind, we're also making that hay while the sun shines! Tomorrow, we'll be looking for paint (Uuuurrrgh!) so that I can try to mask the poor paperhanging. Here is is, in the process:

It will look better by the time it's painted, don't worry!

After working hard all afternoon, we decided that we couldn't face going out to shop or eat; so I got dressed and went out shopping for some fresh bread, and a pizza. (That's right, yours truly eating pizza. What's the world coming to?) Of course there are still neighbours to whom we haven't had the chance to speak to yet, since we returned. So it transpired that I met Mohamed Gaber (pronounced Jabber, the nephew of old Mr Mohamed, from in the corner) as soon as I stepped out of the building. As he resembled the Wild Man of Borneo, with his unkempt hair and longish beard, I enquired if he had gone over, and become a 'Man with Beard' (M.B. / Muslim Brother). It was nothing of the sort, which I knew anyway, but I hadn't thought (as usual) and of course he was in mourning for his father in Aswan, who had died while we were away in Windy Nook. I could have bitten my tongue off!

I knew his father, as he often visited old Mr Mohamed, along with another of the four brothers, one who lived mostly in Alexandria, Uncle Shekel. The other brother (whose name escapes me for the moment) was the 'responsible' one, who presided over the Viking Holiday, Cruiseboat and Hot Air Balloon empire. Only Mr Mohamed remains, and he really doesn't look too good!!!! Bless him.

When you're haymaking, it's 'up in the morning' isn't it? Well, it's the same with Balloon flying here in Luxor. With tourism running at something like 5% of normal, there aren't a lot of balloons flying at the moment. But Freda was up with the larks the other morning (OK, my fault; snoring again!) and was lucky enough to see a balloon, not one of our Viking friends, but a Sindbad one.

A bit of a lonely, pitiful sight I'm sure you'll agree, Dear Reader. Especially when you think that only a few short years ago, there would have been 20 odd up there, full of happy and excited tourists!

Anyway, to get back to shopping for bread and the pizza; after I finally got away from Mohamed Gaber, I bumped into another neighbour, Abdullah, from  out the back, half brother of Radwan the tour guide. We only chatted for a few minutes, struggling to be heard above the noise emitting from several giant speakers just a few yards away. I thought it must be a wedding celebration beginning, but it was actually a new shop opening; and a baker's at that! How handy is that, a brand new bakery only a few doors away, they'd certainly been making hay whilst the sun shone, as there was no sign of it two days ago!

So, it's not all 'Doom and Gloom' in Luxor at the moment. Even though there are next to no tourists, and the hotels are operating with one or two rooms taken, some of us are taking the opportunity to make improvements and carry out maintenance on our buildings etc. or even setting away brand new businesses altogether!

I've spied such a new venture on the 'Side of the Dead', how about this:

At last, a novel idea in Luxor, even if it is on the West Bank. A fruit juice and cocktail restaurant! We'll be going over with a couple of friends to really give it the once over, reasonably soon. Watch this space!

Before I sign off, I want to share a bit of (possible) good news with you.......
Apparently, the Jarmins (that's how we tend to pronounce 'Germans' in Windy Nook) are relaxing their warnings (or whatever) about travelling to Luxor come the end of the month! Wouldn't that be a good start to the tourist season?


No comments:

Post a Comment