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Sunday, 25 March 2012

Friday 16th March 2012

I'm actually enjoying being in Luxor at this time of year, the temperatures are not too high, there has been a few hot days where it's been in the mid 30's but on the whole the temperature has been around 25 degrees with a nice cool breeze meaning no real need to get up at stupid o clock to avoid the high temperatures.

This morning we head up to Medinet Habu Temple, we got there around 9-ish and it was absolutely packed.  There must have been around 17 coaches / mini buses in the car park......  A few of them belonged to groups of Egyptian Students but the others appeared to be 'Eastern European' - wonder if on part of a 2 day trip from Hurghada? certainly odd that the normal Red Sea day trips would include Habu into their itinerary.

Not wanting to venture in when so busy we walk along to the small 'Toth' Temple, the gates are unlocked, a stone holding them shut but no guardian - we discover a few minutes later he is sleeping inside and he opens the gate for us.

It's a small temple and a shame it's not better signposted / advertised.

The main temple was still busy so we stopped for a juice at a cafe next to the car park and waited until a few coaches cleared before going in.

Medinet Habu Temple - it never fails to have the 'WOW' factor no matter how many times you visit it.

Unfortunately, since my last visit some of my favourite parts of the temple had been roped off completely :-(

The guardians on duty were letting people over the ropes but demands for backsheesh for doing so were very high (one American tourist's wallet had been lightened by over 60LE)

Actually if I'm being entirely honest the guardians were pure pests here today, they just wouldn't leave anyone alone, there seemed to be quite a lot on duty and wherever you walked there was one there.  I quite like quiet time here, just sitting and thinking - no chance of that happening today.

I sat with a group of Egyptian students for a while (they didn't seem to be approached by the guardians as much) and managed some 'me' time before heading over the road to Maratonga for a Shawerma lunch (which is served with rice, salad, bread and babaganush) and a lemon juice.

It was really nice, though not as good as on previous visits.

We called our driver to collect us and headed back down to the hotel.  For a while we chatted on the balcony to the man in the room next to us.  He had just been to Hatshepsut's Temple and had been told that the 'scenes from Punt' were 'men shovelling stuff' by his guide !!!!!

I went indoors for a bit before hearing mum and our neighbour shouting for me - I ran out and saw that a felucca had capsized in the river and was now sinking quickly.

There were no tourists involved,  the two crew members on board had thankfully got off safely.  I believe a  freak strong gust of wind coming from a different direction had caused the boat to capsize.  

Within seconds the boat had been surrounded by motorboats, the river police came whizzing up, an ambulance was sent for as well as the police.

The local's set to the hard job of getting the boat out of the river. 

This was 'local community spirit' helping out at it's very best.

Some of the men were diving into the river and tying ropes round part of the sunken felucca, this part went on for a good few hours.

Mum and I kept a respectable distance away on the hotel roof terrace.

Eventually after a few hours the top of the mast and sail came into view, there was much cheers and clapping all round

The job wasn't complete though, the rest of the boat still had to be brought up to the surface and the sun was beginning to set.........

Darkness fell and the local men worked on, it must have been freezing in the river by now.

Two tugs came and helped pull the boat up further and bring it into shore.  

When we went to bed around 10pm (early start the next morning) they were still working on scooping the water out of the boat, the sail had been hung on the railings to dry out.

If that had been at home the boat would have been left, the sail if hung out to dry would have been stolen or damaged in some way.

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