I always love reading comments on my blog - who doesn't? The last post got so many interesting ones that I'm going to give this post over to answering those that still need answering. When I try to use the comments box, my creaky old computer starts freezing and jumping about. Also, I can put links and add photos here. So this will be comments on comments. But I won't make a regular thing of it.
But first, this picture above made me do a double take when I arrived at Luxor airport. A bit late for Christmas trees, surely? I thought. Then I realised it was commemorating the Coptic (Christian) Christmas, which was celebrated in Egypt on 7 January.
I also spotted another snowman (not a Christmas one this time) staffing the activities desk at a resort hotel one evening. I think you'll have to admit he looks pleasant and ready to assist.
And here are my replies...
Emm, your family background sounds so interesting. I don't know of any blockbuster family sagas about Jews but there must be a wonderful book to be written about the fortunes of a Jewish family moving around different countries over the centuries - did your ancestors pass down any stories?.
Lynilu. History did come to life, as the dry desert air has preserved so much (including bright colours) over thousands of years. Inside the tombs was remarkably colourful and pleasant, not dark and dank as I'd expected.
Jo, Egypt's tourism is so important to them and most people desperately want more prosperity. The Muslim Brotherhood (who got most of the vote in the elections) is aware of what tourism needs, and,I noticed they sent representatives to the Christmas service at the Coptic cathedral in Cairo on 7 January, so "tolerance" has official thumbs up.
Jane and Lance, how nice to hear from you again, your comments are always thoughtful and thought provoking. I was (from a selfish point of view) grateful to see the sights without the crowds, and this also contributed to my feeling of stepping back into the 1930s. I hope you get to Egypt yourselves!
Dominic D, I haven't seen the first Indiana Jones movie, but that dining room was just MADE for movies. I imagined men in suits and pith helmets, like old films of Howard Carter, (or, like you suggested, Malyss, some lovely Agatha Christie ladies and elegant detectives. )
And carrying on from that, Foolish Aesthete, my own "family reminiscences" date firmly from the Agatha Christie period. I kept feeling that certain places were familiar, a mixture of the old photos and all those movies, perhaps! I wrote hieroglyphic notes to my friends too, as a kid, but we made up our own, were not intellectual enough to study the real thing I am afraid!
DeeBeeL, such a brilliant idea to show kids real places that are related to their studies. It brings it to life as nothing else can. There used to be educational cruises for kids though I haven't heard of those for years. Surely an opportunity for some holiday company!
GB, I'm really glad my post made you consider going to Egypt (though I have to say that it's not exactly quiet and restful there.) I'm more likely to want to go somewhere if I anticipate seeing more than the tourist stuff and if there's a chance to meet the locals.. In fact, while in Egypt I fulfilled a longtime dream and visited the Wissa Wassef Art Centre. I will give it a blog post of its own later, but I'll just say now that I heard about the visionary creative Ramses Wissa Wassef years ago and was blown away by the tapestries (done by uneducated weavers) from his workshop when I saw an exhibition in London . That's one big reason I decided to visit Egypt myself and it was well worth it. This tapestry shows stars and sunset I suppose. I forgot to ask the story behind it.
Thanks for the follow, Sprinkles! And Librarian, I hope your sister liked the link. Did she make a comment? I remembered you as my camel got to its feet and it was like sitting on a nice big sofa.
Oh, Broad, now I know I have tasted perfection in Eggs Benedict. - T. had Eggs Florentine which were just as nice, (I tasted) and the orange juice was fresh squeezed too. And the Great Pyramid just outside the window...bright sunshine, blue skies, palm trees... a memorable moment. I'm glad I took the photo to remind me.
gz, (and GB too) When I go to a place to write an article about taking a holiday, I try to remember that to the inhabitants it's the place where they get on with everyday life. A life which may be very different from what we know and expect for ourselves, but still complex, messy, good, bad, fun - real life. I can't be an expert after only a short time in a place, so all I can do is sum up what I discover, what I hear from local people, what I feel - the kind of travel writing I like to read myself
Thanks for the nice comment, Adullamite . I have rather got into 1920s popular music and have been considering attending a few jumble sales to see if anyone is chucking out a wind up gramophone. I wasn't exactly tempted by that one though because it was GIGANTIC! I could just imagine trying to get it back to England on the plane - or any way!
Bryce, I don't know if they name their camels but they seem to look after them well (unlike some of the poor working horses and donkeys who were as thin as their owners). So my guess is that they do name them but I will ask some of my Egyptian friends if they know.
Isabel, I would guess it wouldn't seem very exotic to you, but I'm glad you liked the post! :)
Thanks for your comments, Linda. As I said on your Flowers on my Table blog, I would like to change the background myself - it IS too dark - but first I need to update my computer. It really, really doesn't seem to like Blogger and is endlessly freezing and doing weird things. I'm still patting myself on the back at present that I managed to get the header photo behind the lettering, and not floating in some tiny size far away, or so huge that it takes ages to scroll down!
To be honest, Nick, Egyptians seem to love food of all kinds, and they just haven't noticed that many of their starters, and things that poor people traditionally eat, are actually vegetarian. So it wasn't quite as hard as they seemed to think it would be to find dishes with beans and other pulses. T's the vegetarian, not me, anyhow, although I don't eat much meat.
I'm thrilled you liked E. Nesbit's stories too, Christine. She enchanted me as a child. I've helped introduce her books to some modern kids and glad to see that they love them, partly because the kids in them are allowed to go out all day and look after themselves, (a hopeless dream for many modern children, sadly) and also of course because the stories are so magical and intriguing.
Nice to meet you, red dirt girl, and now I've learned a new word, "tsotchke". I found a lucky scarab in the sand by one of the Pyramids, which definitely qualifies as tsotchke, needless to say it wasn't an old one! :)
Louciao, camels are the ideal thing to ride on in dreams. I noticed that they have kind of squashy feet which obviously act as wonderful suspension, and as Librarian pointed out, they're a really comfortable ride.
Kay, I already said something on your blog but I hope some other folks will pop over there and read your amazing post on the wonderful old gent you met when you were a travel agent. .
Thank you Stardust, your blog is always full of inspiration for me, and is one of the reasons I want to go to Japan someday, so I am glad we can inspire each other!
Yes, Rowan, I was warned Egypt is one of the countries where it's wise not to drink the tap water too freely. I didn't get ill but I was horrified to see some of the poor people actually drinking water out of the Nile, I suppose they were used to it but - !!
As for cruising down the Nile, I am not much of a cruise fan normally- nothing but sea for days and days...... BUT I could see myself cruising on the Nile, because it's so wide and placid and sunny and interesting. So much of the country is is desert and life clusters round the Nile. The colours are so wonderful - blues and pinks and violets, and there is a lot of bird life.
Sorry you couldn't comment in your own name, Suzanne. - I had that problem too. It may help by not checking the "Stay logged in" tab. I'm watching to see what happens on 25 January too. There are bound to be ups and down but the election results are cautiously encouraging, so fingers crossed all round.
Elizabeth, glad you're planning a trip - I think going soon might make a good combination of bearable temperatures and lack of crowds plus some brilliant tourist incentives. We met a couple in the Mena House who had been upgraded into a truly palatial suite without even asking for an upgrade. They were so thrilled they invited us over to tea in it! :)
I don't know figures for street crime in Luxor but can only say we walked around alone quite a lot and felt entirely safe. Even the hawkers weren't as bothersome as I'd been led to expect. In fact, there were remarkably few, perhaps they're finding other ways to earn money now the tourists aren't here. Interestingly, we didn't see a single beggar.
As for the handover to civilian rule, if and when they reach THAT point I think a lot of people are going to be celebrating like mad, but I don't see the Army being very keen and so IMHO this problem could run and run. Several people told me that the Army is trying to sow discord, which might well be true, but if people are aware of it, they may be less easily manipulated.
Dominic R, I love Wales too, but I'm glad the post made you consider something different. Imagining myself somewhere different is one of the pleasures of reading about travel, so I'm delighted my writing helped you do that.
Hi, Mimi and Klahanie, thank you very much for joining the blog and I'm pleased to have found and joined your great blogs too!
It is interesting, Rurosha, that you've been there during previous disturbances, yet still think Cairo is second only to Tokyo in safety. I haven't been to Tokyo (want to, though) but prior to the disturbances in Syria I'd have said Damascus was the capital city where I felt safest, so different to how everyone imagined Damascus here!
I reckon it's about the difference between an inherently dangerous place, like San Pedro Sula, and somewhere that's just a problem if you're in the wrong place at the wrong time - which in my experience is almost anywhere.
By the way, I want to follow your blog - I love it - but can't find any buttons to do so. Is this dear old Blogger again, or can you suggest some other way to do it?
AVCr8tur When I saw your comment I realised I haven't seen your posts recently even though I'm following you. I've just checked your blog and seen a whole lot of wonderful posts I missed about Taiwan and San Francisco. Think I'll unfollow and then follow again, and perhaps that will do the trick.
Hi, Wendy, your web page is fun and so are your flickr pics. If you go to Egypt let me know what you think!
And thank you to Lina, Carlos, Rita, HARRYGOAZ, aka Penelope, AGATKA, Country Cathy, Happy Homemaker UK, Josep, I'm so glad you enjoyed the piece, and I appreciate your thoughts and remarks.