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Friday, 13 April 2012

Wednesday 21st March 2012

It's our last day today :-( so it's up early and packing the suitcases, mum's is over the 20kg luggage allowance (it's the box of 100 tahina biscuits) but she ditches a few bits and bobs (not the biscuits tho lol!!!) and her case is just under 20kg.

We spend most of the morning lazing about the hotel and taking a few photos.

Mohammed - one of the brothers who own the hotel

El Mesala Hotel (Mesala is Arabic for Obelisk)

I'm packing my camera and lenses away when mum shouts on me, there are around 5 little bee eaters flying about in front of the hotel, with my camera packed away I let her take the photos.

(c) 'the auld yin' 2012 

I thought I would crop and enlarge this one for you so you could see it better..............

The Bug Eating Bee-Eater

We have really enjoyed our time here on the West Bank, it's definitely far more laid back and hassle free than staying on the East Bank, so easy to get out and about and walk for miles without being stopped and hassled to take a caleche or felucca.  The El Mesala Hotel was also a great choice, close enough (5 mins) to the ferry, a motorboat jetty opposite, a warm and friendly welcome and home from home atmosphere from owners and all the staff  plus a rooftop restaurant which serves absolutely delicious food.  We will most certainly be back.

The mini bus comes to collect us around 2.30pm and we make our way back to the airport, like I have mentioned before I couldn't live in Egypt but am always so sad to leave (I manage no tears this time)

On checking in at Luxor airport there was a screaming match going on, a lady who had 2 carry on bags and a large suitcase was shouting the odds with the check in staff,  her case was most definitely overweight, she wasn't disputing that - what she was disputing was the fact that she had to PAY for the extra luggage, apparently she was a 'travel agent' and never in her life had she heard anything so ridiculous than people being charged if their luggage was overweight, if she hadn't been so infuriated I would have asked her for a business card (just to ensure I never booked with her company - LOL!!). 

The call to gate was IMO way too early, as on previous visits staff called 'speedy boarders' and 'special assistance' to queue first - this means that 'everyone' jumps up and around 6 different queues which begin to merge into one form.  After standing for 20 minutes - they finally allow the S.A. group on first followed by us speedyboarders.  Mum and I take a seat near the back of the plane, stow our luggage and take our seats.   The plane takes off and I get my last view of Luxor for a few months..........

I chat to the lady at the end of our row, it's been her first time in Egypt and she was on my favourite boat which I have cruised on several times the 'M/S Presidential Nile Commodore' - I ask her how she enjoyed her holiday.  

On day one the hassle from hawkers in the Valley of the Kings had been so bad she had wanted to return home there and then but as the week had went on she had grown a little more used to the hassle and both her and her mum had had a superb time and would return again.  Infact listening in to the chit chat on the plane people seemed to be quite positive and had really enjoyed their time, most seem to have been on cruises where I think you do get sheltered from a lot of the hassle anyway, but the main point is most seemed to have had a really good time.

After a bacon baguette and a beer I fall asleep, missing a kerfuffle of some sort at the front of the plane, I'm not sure exactly what happened but mum saw the flight attendants rushing about then one walking to the back of the plane with an empty vodka bottle and there were no less than six police officers waiting to arrest someone at Gatwick airport when we disembarked (I think they were letting everyone off before going in to arrest him) Some passengers we had met at the Winter Palace last October were being questioned about the incident (not that they were involved in any way,  police were just questioning them for further evidence)

No major queues at immigration and it was only a short walk to the comfort of the Sofitel Gatwick, quick shower and sleeeeeeep!!!!

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