Another day in Paradise?

Well, our friend Mr Bahaa had arranged for us to attend the Electricity office with him this morning, to get our electric bill sorted out. Freda didn't want to go, cause she would get annoyed at the stupidity of the system there and end up shouting at the poor man, who was actually doing his best to help us! And seeing as she'd been up early due to my snoring (as usual) I left her doing bit of her own, when I set off at 10:45.

I have to admit that I really didn't want her there either, she can be particularly embarrassing when the mood takes her! In the event, it was just as well. Bahaa and I were passed from pillar to post, coming away empty handed, except for a telephone number for the bill collector, so that I could arrange to meet him at home at 9 in the morning. We weren't allowed to sort out the payment/usage discrepancy until we were up-to-date with all the outstanding invoices, the last one being December. (We weren't actually there at all during December, so no electricity was used, and the office already knows the, estimated as usual, amount; 222le, and also takes payments over the counter. But, for some unknown Pharaonic reason; I have to wait till the man comes to the door tomorrow!!!!!)

After that, I can then get Mr Bahaa to accompany me again to the head office, and hopefully this time, we'll be able to get squared up! Then the next instalment will be to attempt to get a new meter for just our little rooftop hovel. That should be another laugh!

On returning home, I found that Freda had arisen, but wasn't yet ready for lunch; so I went to bed for an hour, why ever not? By the time I got up again and we both got turned around, she was ready for something, but fancied fish and chips at the Nile Palace instead of having something at home. NP fish and chips are usually a meal that I thoroughly enjoy, but not so on this occasion, I'm sorry to say! Freda enjoyed hers, and was quite shirty about the fact that I complained that the fish wasn't up to the usual standard and that neither was the goodbye sauce. (Colloquialisms: shirty = a little short tempered, goodbye sauce = tartare sauce, as in "tata for now!") Don't get me wrong, mind, I still ate it, it was OK.

We've got one of two Film Festivals here just now, I think this first one is the Egyptian and European one, with the African one coming in a few days. So the usual suspect hotels (Winter Palace, Nile Palace and Sonesta St George) are relatively busy. We had our lunch on the terrace in our usual outdoor seats, and watched a few of the guests frollicking in the cold pool:

Several feluccas were out with guests as well, which is also quite encouraging. (You can click on the pictures to see them better.) Another pleasing sight was the "M/S Grand Rose" cruiseboat gliding up the river. Even though we know that "One swallow doesn't make a summer", we're ever hopeful!

Of course, every silver lining has its cloud, and the worst current one in our circle of friends is that one of them (a lovely, quiet caleche man) is really depressed and downhearted as he cannot live with his wife and small son because his landlady has evicted them for not paying the rent! She's also hung onto their bits of rubbishy furniture until she gets it. He is back home with his mother, and the wife with her father. The little boy spends time between them both, but doesn't understand why; it's all very upsetting. They can get a flat near his family home, but it's very old and needs a lot of work to make it habitable. I asked him to try to find out how much it will cost (and also whether his wife will live there with him if it was done!) and he came back today with a rough figure of 8000le! By the time that the back-rent is paid, we're talking almost £1000! He realises that it's a lot of money in anyone's book, but I've told him that I'll do my best to be of some help; the building man will do the necessary work and take half the money, with the rest being paid in instalments.

It's almost three years now, since the intelligentsia of Cairo decided to do away with Hosny Mubarak as President. But they didn't bother to consider the dreadful impact that the consequences would surely have on Upper Egypt! The suffering has been (and still is) terrible. The current government is actually trying to help those stuck in the tourist trade, to some extent. But a lot of what little assistance there is has come too late and really is too little! Many horses which were working caleches have starved to death, most of those that haven't, have only survived because their owners have almost starved themselves to death; you should see the pitiful state of some of these men!  

I think that's more than enough doom and gloom for one night, so I'll just say, "Goodnight and God bless!"

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