Sunday, 27 February 2011

NPR Egyptian Town Anxiously Awaits Tourists

Here is a radio report by Corey Flintoff who interviewed me and others about the loss of tourism in Luxor. NPR Luxor: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Egypt Moving Froward - The Event

The event was sponsored by local businesses including Flats in Luxor. We were proud to support the initiative from local Egyptians. It was a really professional do.

Part of the sponsorship deal was some t-shirts so I persuaded the kids to wear them. My mobile sandwich boards. They thought it was a big treat although the smallest size I had was large so these were like dresses lol

Part of the area was devoted to local crafts and goods.

Personally I was pleased to see two young ladies doing the presentation. Egypt isn't just little old ladies in black but articulate, clever and bright young ladies.

Dr Abdel Halim Nur El-Din gave the opening speech. In Arabic, English and Dutch!!

But she was the star of the day

This is a line up of the organisers

Local music opened the acts

And the crowd happily clapped along

There were five sufi dancers or whirling dervish on stage. All their acts were just slightly different.

My step kids were complete mesmerised

the finale

We were very pleased with the turn out

This was the view from MacDonalds, what a fantastic back drop to any event.

What a good natured, friendly and fun event. My step kids summed it up perfectly "That was fun, can we do it again tomorrow".

Party Time - Egypt Moving forward

We are all getting quite excited about tomorrows event at Luxor Temple organised by Egypt Moving Forward group. A big celebration and more planned. I am taking the kids of the family along and we will be wearing out sponsors t-shorts. Yes Flats in Luxor is a sponsor so look out for us and say hellow. We felt it was such a good event for Luxor and as it was organised by local Egyptians it deserved everyone helping.

So be there at Luxor temple at 3pm

Party Time

We are alll getting quite excited about tomorrows event at Luxor Temple organised by Egypt Moving Forward. A big celebreation and more planned. i am taking the kids and we will be wearing out sponsors t-shorts. Yes Falts in Luxor is s a sponser. we felt it was such a good event and organised by local Egyptian

Friday, 25 February 2011

Egyptian Tourism on the BBC

The BBC Radio 4 program You and Yours ran an article about Egypt Moving Forward the event being organised on Saturday to promote tourism in Luxor. It is the first item on the program, there is a trailer at 19 seconds and the main article at 1:25. Also at 24:21 they read out an email I sent in

You and Yours

Breaking News from the Valley of Kings

What is happening in the Valley of Kings this week? Well I was lucky enough to chat to Salima Ikram and she told me that Otto Schaden and herself were working together on commodity pricing. They are investigating the capacity of the jars, BTW her fist is the right size for a standard measurement and others on the team were too big, she is very small in height. So this is quite interesting regarding the size of Egyptians.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Flats in Luxor is proud to support Egypt Moving Forward

Flats in Luxor is one of the sponsors for Egypt Moving Forward: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

A great initiative set up by local Egyptians and helped by local foreigners. Lets support tourism in Luxor

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Karnak Temple Today - Cleaned Khonsu Gate

Believe or not there are parts of Karnak I have not got photos of, taken people there loads of times but not taken photos. So today I spent 3 hours filling my album.

This was my first time going through the new visitors center. it has this great model of the temple.

I had not planned to take any photos of the main tourist path but it was sooooo different because there were only about 10 people on the entire site. To get photos without a tourist in sight was irresistible.

I bumped into Mansour while I was there and he pointed out the cleaned gateway at the Khonsu temple. He said it was now the prettiest gateway in Karnak and I have to say I agree.

It was just as empty when I left, beautiful but sad. Come back tourists.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Hidden Luxor

Thank you to everyone that completed the survey, it was very useful. It seems the things you are most interested in is Hidden Luxor, Arabic and Egyptian Cookery so we are working on putting those courses together. I now need more help from you. I have drafted up a document Hidden Luxor and done one presentation with audio. I am quite prepared to send these to people in return for a review. So please send your email address to and put Hidden Luxor in the subject line. You will get back a PowerPoint presentation and a PDF for review. This will also entitle you to 10% discount on one of our course holidays. This offer only applies to the first 100 responses.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Luxor Museums Reopen

Both Luxor Museum and the Mummification Museum will reopen on Sunday

egypt moving forward

egypt moving forward: "Egypt Moving Forward invites you to join us for an exciting celebration of Egyptian life and culture as we welcome the world to the New Egypt.

Beginning at 3:00 PM on February 26th, Luxor Temple Park will come alive with the voices of Luxorians and authentic folkloric entertainment:

Event Itinerary:

Introduction and Welcome from the organizers

Sufi Dancing Performance

Mission Message

Stick Dancing with Mezmar Musical Performance


Rababa Musical Performance and Folkloric Dance


Nubian Music and Dance Performance


British Rock Band

...And More!

Egypt Moving Forward is celebrating culture and unity: coming together, embracing change, and welcoming the world.

Today, Egypt is making new history: a free future for the people. Today, the streets of Egypt are full of newfound liberty, happiness, and the warmth and hospitality the people are famous for. Freedom has brought new life to Egypt.

Egypt Moving Forward is an Egyptian and foreigner collaborative organization committed to the future growth of Egypt. Today, Egypt is in the midst of new and exciting changes. Egypt Moving Forward was founded to embrace these changes and showcase the best of what Egypt has to offer.

Egypt Moving Forward welcomes your support.

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

جمعية رسالة للأعمال الخيرية

I have been asked about charities and am hesitant to recommend as so much disappears in admin. However this one I am comfortable with because it is entirely Egyptian. Use Google translate to understand the website.جمعية رسالة للأعمال الخيرية: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Good News from Egypt and Luxor

Akhenaton Returns
The Egyptian Department of Antiquities has recovered a statue of Akhenaton, one of eight items stolen by looters from the Egyptian Museum on 28 January. It had been returned to the museum by Sabri Abdel-Rahman, a professor at the American University in Cairo, said the department.

The statue was found near a garbage bin in Tahrir Square during the mass pro-democracy protests by Abdel-Rhaman's son. Abdel-Rhaman immediately contacted the Ministry of Antiquities and Tourism.

Egypt moving forward - the event. A group of Egyptian business men in Luxor are planning a big event in Luxor to celebrate the future. Egypt is going to be bigger and better and your holiday experience more fantastic. It is on the 26th February and is going to be big.

On a personal note 30 minutes after the British FCO lifted their erroneous advice about non essential travel to Luxor I got a booking for my flats and they arrive tonight!!

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Egypt travel advice

Egypt travel advice: "However, we no longer advise against non-essential travel to Luxor.

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Holiday Courses in Luxor - What do you think?

I want to run this past all visitors to Luxor, could you complete it and pass it on as well. It is an idea to regenerate business here in Luxor and given work to a lot of Egyptians but I need to know how popular it would be

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Great time to come to Luxor, never seen it so quiet

Sad News | - Zahi Hawass

Sad News | - Zahi Hawass: "Sad News

The staff of the database department at the Egyptian Museum, Cairo have given me their report on the inventory of objects at the museum following the break in. Sadly, they have discovered objects are missing from the museum. The objects missing are as follows:

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

All sites in Upper Egypt are open

Mansour Boraik of the SCA just phoned me to reiterate that ALL sites in Upper Egypt are open and welcome visitors. I explain that the lack of tourists was down to erroneous advice being spouted by the Embassies. Until we got that changed the tour companies can not bring the tourists here. I suggested he get the head of the SCA Dr Zahi Hawass to contact the Ambassadors and get them to change the travel advice. Upper Egypt is completely safe and has been the whole time

Friday, 11 February 2011

Eye Witness Report of Tourist Life in Luxor during the Unrest

About the current situation in Luxor: I am staying in a penthouse at and have been here since 18 January, 2011. Consequently, I have seen how things looked like before and after the disturbances in Cairo and other Egyptian cities and I have to say that there has not been much of a difference in Luxor and vicinity. Beside a (pro-Mubarak) demonstration involving a dozen or so people last week there were no political activities. There is an army presence in front of the major historical sites and museums but it is simply a presence: no active involvement and it is reassuring. I have seen some jewelry and other stores with expensive articles closed shut but most of the stores are open and ATMs in high end hotels give cash without waiting.

However, there are some differences between before and after that are worth noting:

1. The Lonely Planet Guide writes that “Luxor is often considered the hassle capital of Egypt …”. As there are fewer tourists this has intensified. Naturally: people are very dependent on tourism and all of a sudden that source of income is gone. It may be harder to cope with this behavior politely if you do not have the experience.
2. The good news: fewer visitors means that the sites are not crowded as they were before. And these days it is to the extreme: this morning I had the Valley of the Kings essentially to myself. There were only two minibuses and a car on the parking lot but I have not bumped into the other visitors in the tombs I visited. Thus, I was alone with Tutankhamen’s mummy in his tomb as I was also lucky enough to come on a day when his mummy was displayed. And the same in the other tombs and the guardians were accommodating (but I am not supposed to tell).

Overall, the situation in Egypt may add an extra uncertainty and, therefore, stress to traveling here but if you can deal with it the benefits outweigh the costs.

Miro Benda
Seattle (currently in Luxor)

Today in Luxor

It is really hard to give a cohesive view of the situation as so many people have very different views and at different times. There is
1) Mubarak should leave
2) Mubarak and his entire cabinet should leave
3) if there is a vacuum of power the Muslim brotherhood will take over
4) If there is a vacuum of power there will be chaos
5) We need stability I can not feed my family
6) Problem what problem we do not have TV or internet, one of my chickens is sick if it dies we will have a problem
7) We should accept what he says and wait until Septembers elections
8) Mubarak should stay
9) Soliman should take over
10) We have all the concessions we wanted
11) the army should take over

And that is just a few and some people swing from one to another, some have combinations. It is a very confusing time. I just hope it is resolved soon and Egypt remains peaceful.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Mubarak to speak tonight, loads of rumours he will step down

Telephones and the internet are going mad and buzzing with speculation. It looks like this is going to be the big announcement. Could he be handing over to the government or the army?

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Oriental Institute | The Epigraphic Survey

An update from Ray Johnson, there is a lot more if you go to the link. Oriental Institute | The Epigraphic Survey: "Luxor Update February 8, 2011

For those friends and colleagues who are concerned about the well-being of Chicago House and its staff during the events of this last two weeks in Egypt, I am happy to report that we are safe, Luxor is secure, and we have been keeping a normal work schedule on all of our project sites: Luxor Temple, Khonsu Temple Karnak, Medinet Habu, and the tomb of Nefersekheru TT 107. After some relatively minor (compared to Cairo and elsewhere) demonstrations and vandalism of government buildings during the afternoon and evening of Friday, January 28th, order was restored in Luxor the next day, and it has been peaceful here ever since.

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Today in Luxor, my tank picture and the tear gas story

Sorry for not reporting more but honestly there has been so little to report. Today 9th Feb I went over to Luxor to see my dentist again. I also wanted to get some money out of my UK bank account. The first two ATM’s I tried were closed but the one at Banque du Cairo just along from the Winter Palace was working, I was able to get 2000LE no problems and there was no queue. I then went to the dentist. My driver and I were tourist spotting and we think we saw one but he might have been a resident.

After the dentist I went back to the bank as there were no queues and one of my guests had sent me a deposit and I wanted to see if it was there and to pick up the money. Actually I realised I had forgotten my passport at home but because they know me so well they still gave me my money. It was only $150 USD but even so that was nice of them. Then I did something I have been dying to do, Tank photos. I really wanted a photo of me in front of a tank, ok it is a bit silly but that’s me. So I went over to the soldiers in front of HSBC and asked if it was possible, they were so friendly and quite happy for me to take photos and be photographed. I especially love the one of the caleches and the tank, that’s Luxor for you.

If you have ever wondered about being tear gassed my mate who lives on the East Bank tells her story

My tear gas story

I had gone to the Sheraton on Friday 28th to try to find my tourists because text messages were not working and I could not contact them. I knew they would probably be in the bar for happy hour lol.
I went with Elizabeth and Diana, who had been at the boat with me earlier for a cuppa, together with Harry (ex Cosmos, now in Cairo).
We left the Corniche around 5.30pm and arrived at the Sheraton shortly after, and installed ourselves on the terrace. I then rang the room of one of the girls. No answer, so we ordered a drink and decided to wait a little and then try again. Half an hour later, I rang again and they were just about to leave the room to come to the bar.
So by just after 6pm, we were all sitting happily chatting and having a laugh. 4 women from Hull, Elizabeth, Diana and me.
It must have been about half an hour later when we heard some shouting, but it sounded no more than the felucca or taxi guys outside the Sheraton gates having a yelling session. Then Elizabeth said she thought she heard popping sounds. We thought no more of it.
However, shortly after, not sure how long, we all felt this stinging sensation in our noses, a bit like sniffing pepper and our eyes started to smart a bit.
At that point, one of the girls said "bloody hell, that’s tear gas" (they all worked for the Home Office and she had spent many years working abroad in trouble spots). On her advice, we moved indoors, "just in case, although the tear gas is not strong enough to be very close to us". The Sheraton did close the doors, and there were lots of "suits" in reception and an increased security presence on the door. No-one was allowed to leave until it cleared, and there were a few tourists coming in with streaming eyes, but no-one seemed to have been badly affected.
After about an hour, there was no tear gas to be detected outside and we wanted to leave, but they still would not let us. So we called Saeed, who came with a motor boat and we headed out of the back door and onto the boat. There was no trace of any tear gas.
We had heard nothing out of the ordinary, except for Vanessa's popping noises, and it was only her who heard that.
We then walked back from the Corniche (Winter Palace), the streets were quiet and no shops were open, but we saw and heard nothing out of the ordinary.
Lol, and I have no idea where the Cornish lifeboat man who was reported in the paper was, but I can assure everyone that the tear gas was simply the remnants of tear gas downriver, drifting in the wind, and none of us saw or heard rockets being fired. He will live off that story for the rest of his life!

And...... on Saturday night, just in case you want to do anything with this....... Mohammed and I were walking back from the river, having spent a full day on the river with the tourists. The town was quiet, most shops again were closed. We walked up the street where Cash and Carry supermarket is, towards Medina and Mohammed commented that there were police at the top of the street.
Yes, there were, riot police, and there were probably about 10 strung across Medina Street, all leaning on their shields nonchalantly. A few groups of men were standing around, and I do have to admit to being a bit nervous at that point. But we just walked through and headed home.

That is pretty much the extent of what I have actually seen myself.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Travel Insurance to Luxor

Regarding travel insurance. Please check with your individual insurance company, as a visitor just found out they are covered as the advice on the website is NOT against all travel but only against non essential travel. This was the advice given to one traveller
“Our insurance will cover us for travel to Luxor as long as the tour operator is still sending people there. As we have no tour operator but have just booked flights then we are covered as long as they (easyjet)are still flying into Luxor. We are covered for all the normal things that an insurance policy covers. However we are not covered for anything that occurs as a result of the protests. “

So those of you that were worried about insurance should actually contact your company and confirm the situation.

The original post is here

Monday, 7 February 2011

Getting back to normal

Well things are definitely getting back to normal as I just had my internet cut for non payment of the bill that was due 1st Feb. Had to rush over to Luxor and pay it. Apart from that there has been little to report, we continue to monitor the news to hear what is happening in Cairo.

I spoke to Miriam Seco who is working on the Tuthmosis III temple dig who has just returned to Luxor, there are a few digs still working.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Update from Karnak temple

I just spoke to the Director of Karnak. Today they had 35 visitors, normal levels are 6000-8000 with occasional 9000. Some of the French team working there have left and some have stayed. Karnak has remained secure.

Luxor Update

Just spoke to Mr Gaddis, the Honorary British Consul in Luxor. He confirmed that there is no curfew in Luxor and has never been and that he has recommended to the Vice Consul this morning, that the travel advice for Luxor be down graded.

The sites are open, feluccas are sailing, balloons are flying, guides are guiding and drivers driving. Several digs are operating but most have gone home.

Obviously there are still political issues but these are not affecting foreigners.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Demonstration outside Luxor Temple, Egypt

Just had the scariest, most terrifying and painful experience of my life over in Luxor City, Cleopatra Street. It lasted at least 20 minutes but it seemed like much, much longer. I went over to Luxor City from the West Bank, crossed the bridge and went into the city centre. There was this demo in support of President Mubarak, THAT WAS FINE I will tell you about it in a moment. The scary experience was having root canal treatment at the dentist, which I wasn’t expecting at all.

Well I hope I have got your attention, all the media outlets, news, TV because that is the kind of sensational reporting you are doing. I wish you would report on Luxor properly so the FCO etc would down grade the travel advice for us. Now let’s have a little non sensational reporting of facts from Luxor.

Back to demo so we are driving along going to the dentist and at the bottom of Station Street, just in front of Luxor temple. There were a maximum of 100 people, some in cars, some on foot. I did not feel at all intimidated and was quite obvious filming on my mobile. They were shouting in support of Mubarak saying “if you go you leave us to burn” and “ElBarade is with the Americans”. If you speak Arabic I think you can hear it quite clearly.

At the dentist there was quite a bit of discussion and this very nice gentleman translated for me. A dentist waiting room is quite a good straw poll as there are Christian and Muslim, men and women, old and young. The only group who probably not represented were the poor. The comments made were
• It is only Samir Farag (governor of Luxor) is 100% bad. Mubarak was good and bad.
• We need Mubarak.
• He kept us out of war (there was quite a lot of nodding of heads at this one)
• Outside (the country) he was good only inside he wasn’t.
• He was surrounded by bad people.

As we drove back it was business as usual in Luxor, men were working on the road putting in kerb stones, quite a lot of cars were speeding as the police aren’t bother with cameras. There was also building works going on as there is nobody controlling that either and if you get a house up it might stay! In Al Gezera village it was normal daily life as well.

So from a peaceful, safe and sunny Luxor salam

Footage of the Public Demonstration in Luxor in Support of Mubarak

This is a video shot from my balcony of the demo yesterday on the West Bank, Luxor, Egypt in support of Presdient Mubarack. There are some 20 vehicles taking part. It went down the road to the ferry and back again. It was friendly, they waved to me as they saw me videoing.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Demo on the West Bank, Luxor, Egypt

I just saw a demo of about 20 cars, trucks and mini buses going along the main road in front of my house here on the west bank in Luxor. It was in support of President Mubarak and they were waving the Egyptian flag. It was good natured and friendly

How safe is Egypt?

Firstly I must stress I only know about Luxor but my knowledge is first hand. I have been from the West Bank where I live, across the bridge, into central Luxor, the Christian area, then to central tourist town and back to the West Bank.

The checkpoints are maned as usual, there were mixed army and police but now it is police only.

I have seen two tanks and an armored personal carrier.

I have seen one demonstration of 10 schoolboys on the West bank and another demonstration about 50 youths on the East Bank. Those are the only demos I have seen

I have seen no violence or evidence of violence.

I have heard about tear gas being used on demonstrators which drifted into the Sheraton. A good friend of mine was there at the time, she did not feel under personal attack and left after the tear gas dispersed to go home in safety

The poster of President Mubarack has been removed from the bridge.

Tourists are visiting the Valley of Kings and other tourists sites. Thomas Cook has offered people on two week holidays the option of leaving early if they want. A cruise boat left for Aswan today as normal.

Workers are operating as normal, an archeological dig at the Colossus of Menmon is operating as normal. Some digs have left others have stayed.

Personally I feel completely safe and have no intention of leaving Luxor. A number of ex pats have formed a contact tree and we are in touch both East and West Bank.

My guests at Flats in Luxor are all safe and feel relaxed on the West Bank.

The local people I know are hoping things will return to normal quickly and feel that the freedoms and concessions won are positive. The majority feel that the President has done an excellent job of keeping Egypt out of war for 30 years.

Why spoil a good story with the truth!

It is so good to be online and to tell my readers the truth about what has been happening here in Egypt. I have been watching Al Jezera and the BBC and wondering which country they are reporting on, it wasn’t the Egypt I live in. Go destroy our livelihoods why don’t you. According to their own reports before yesterday the maximum number of people in demonstrating was 10,000 in Cairo. This is a city of 25 million, so do the sums .0004 % of Egyptians, Now you might be forgiven for thinking it was at least half the city judging by the news reports. Could they even have been creating the story, it was a tiny minority and the cameras focused on them continually. They did not report the MILLIONS who were not protesting at all. Here in Luxor we believe the protestors were 2-300 out of a population of 500,000, the sums .0006 %. Yet the news reports that it is unsafe to visit Luxor, what a load of poppy cock. I was here the entire time, I had guests visiting the sites, going on sailing trips, smoking shisha in the coffee shops at 11pm at night. I went to the dentist in central Luxor no problems. But that does not sell stories. There was a waiting room full of mostly Christian women and several of them were so angry with the news reports.

I was interviewed by the BBC, I told them it is safe, business as normal. Did you hear any of that, of course not. It is much more fun the scare every tourist away, destroy the economy and the lives of ordinary Egyptians. Al Jezera was reporting at one point that there were tanks in Sharm, BBC World was saying there wasn’t! If there had of been it would have broken the terms of the peace treaty with Israel, pretty irresponsible reporting, well I got to the point I didn’t believe any of them. Al jezera said there were over 2 million demonstrating yesterday, BBC less than a million. All I can tell you is there were no problems AT ALL on the West Bank, Luxor where I live. If it hadn’t been for the TV I wouldn’t have known there was a thing wrong.

I am not going to go into the politics, what happens next etc, that is up to the Egyptian people but I totally resent the way the media has manipulated the story for their own ends and harmed many thousands who are dependent on the tourist trade. My message to the world, support Egypt, support Egyptians and come and visit West Bank, Luxor in total safety.