One of the managerial types engaged me in conversation this afternoon, and I said that we were happy with the room we had, even though it was a bit on the small side. Immediately, he offered to fix us up with a superior one. Well, what could I say? Really?
So, here we are ensconced in our new room at the Winter Palace, for another two nights. Freda just doesn't want to leave! (Actually, this experience reminds me of once when we stayed at the Emilio Hotel, quite a few years back, with my brother Richard and Number One Son. The manager, Mr Shoucat, had us in 4 different rooms in the one week, and we'd spent two nights aboard a Nile cruiser! We had quite a turn with one of the rooms that he tried to get us into; there were already people in there, and asleep!) This room is a little better than any of the rooms we've had at the Emilio over the years, as you would expect.
It's just lovely! We sat on the balcony for a while earlier; it was a real "balmy" evening, perfect for lovers. (Pity that it's us that are here, I can hear you say!)
Anyway, I'm getting in front of myself. After having a little siesta, we decided to have a slope around downstairs, among the common folk. Again, I got into conversation with another of the 'management' types. (They just seem to home in on me, somehow.) Could I explain this certain English phrase in an invitation which they were handing out to the guests, as he hadn't come across it before and did't want the guests to think that the management were daft. I acquiesced and it was OK. He went on to personally invite us to this "do" which was a Music Festival, to be held tonight! Is the Pope Catholic? Especially when he mentioned that there was to be free food and drink provided as well!
The Music Festival (not a label I would have given) consisted of a horse dancing to the strains of a rabbaba band, followed by a very good (boy) Whirling Dervish. He, in turn, was followed by two enthusiastic young stick dancers, and then a four- man singing troupe with their own two drum accompanists, who were joined by three stilt-walkers, who were amazing! Although I took many pictures and a good few short videos of the various performers, I think that this short clip of the "Grand Finale" will suffice to give you a taste of the thing:
I remember when the Winter Palace Butler (that's him on the left) young Mr Ahmed, first started at the New Winter Palace as a trainee waiter, he learned a lot of his good attitude from Mr Bassem, who was a real Hercule Poirot type of character; waxed moustache and everything, and he was fitted with wheels, I'm sure! Anyway, it meant that we didn't need to buy any dinner, as we'd been well fed.
The evening was rounded off by the appearance of this man in a replica of a 500 year old uniform:
He was something to do with the ceremonial lighting of the foyer candles, I think:
One of the best things about this little holiday is the fact that we aren't having to suffer the consequences of having no electricity during this oppressive heatwave, role on Autumn, when the electricity usage will come down with the temperature and we'll all be happy again.