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Monday, 8 April 2013

The importance of a multi-tool!

I cannot pack light!!  That's just a fact of life!!  Anyway, amongst the many bits and bobs I pack on every holiday, is a small multi-tool.  Not for me to use however - that's a boys' toy, not a girls'!!!

Well, this year it came in handy while staying at the Hilton of all places.  The hotel room doors have rigid metal fixtures that lock the door when you're in the room - they're like a security chain but it's a rigid bar rather than a chain.  Well, ours didn't work.  There's no way it would fit together.  So, the boys compared the fittings on both room doors and also on the internal communicating door between our rooms, and discovered that someone had fitted our security thingymabob the wrong way round.  So, it was into the case for the multi-tool where they proceeded to use it to take the thing to bits and fit it back on the correct way round!!  Hey presto!!  It was all working as it should.

I wonder how long it had been like that?

Just a spot of holiday DIY!!

Spot the motor cycle!

Because of warnings prior to travel regarding the potential in Luxor for handbag and/or camera snatches, I didn't take the camera out very much at night with me.  One night when I did have it with me I took some street scenes, every one of which has a motor cycle somewhere in it!!

This is the biggest threat to life and limb at the moment in Luxor.  The lads driving these motor cycles are totally and utterly mad.  They drive at breakneck speed up and down the streets regardless of the fact that all the locals, including children, all walk on the roads.  Hardly anyone walks on the pavements - there's usually not enough room and lots of them have broken and uneven slabs in any case!!

Setting off for home

We were up for breakfast fairly early as usual then spent time at the pool before heading out to Caffe Moka for lunch.  We were to be picked up at 2.30 p.m. to be taken to the airport so after lunch we headed off to our rooms to get changed and to pack up the final items into the suitcases.

Our transport arrived on time and we were soon at the airport dodging the 'porters' wishing to relieve you of your cases!!  However, on the way to the airport we were aware of having to change carriageways on the dual carriageway heading towards the airport so that there was two-way traffic on the one carriageway.  We thought that perhaps there had been an accident as we could see vehicles in the distance, but it was no accident.  It was a queue for fuel at at petrol station.  I have never seen a queue like it in my life.  I don't know how many vehicles were there (it looked like hundreds!), but the garage forecourt was full and the road was totally blocked and the men from the vehicles were everywhere.  It looked totally chaotic!!  I would have taken photos, but the camera was packed away in the hand luggage!!

We sailed through most of the formalities at the airport problem free and settled down up in the cafe area where we soon learned that our flight was to be late in leaving.  We had no idea why, but we did suspect that it would be because of snow as we knew that snow had been falling in the UK again!  We had left in the snow and it appeared that we were heading back to snow as well!!

As we sat waiting for our flight we received news that my husband's mum was waiting to be taken into hospital!!  We could only sit there and wait for news however as there was just nothing we could do.  Luckily, we had friends at the other end who were with her and keeping us posted as to what was going on, and we were told that it didn't appear to be serious, which put our minds at ease a bit.

The flight home was uneventful and we landed back into a very cold Gatwick Airport.  We learned on the flight that it had in fact been delayed by a fall of snow!!

On landing and getting settled into the Premier Inn at Gatwick, we confirmed that my husband's mum was comfortable in hospital, spent another comfortable night at the hotel, and  had a lovely breakfast the following morning and a good flight back home to Scotland.  It was sad to have left Luxor, but it was nice to be back home, except for the very cold weather - it was freezing!!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

The second BIG Birthday!!

The BIG day arrived!!  However, the poor soul hadn't had a good sleep and still had his upset stomach despite taking medication!!  However, despite all of that we were determined that he'd have a good day - it was a case of you WILL enjoy yourself!!

We went for breakfast but he didn't want a big fuss made, so I had to hide his cards until we got to the pool where he opened all his cards and a couple of presents that I had brought with me.

And after all of that excitement, we spent a lazy day lounging in the sun before heading off to get changed for high tea that I had arranged earlier.  We wandered up to the Victoria Lounge where tea was to be served.  We weren't at all sure what to expect, but everything was lovely, and the hotel provided a birthday cake.

There was one cake stand between two with plenty to eat.  On the bottom tier there were little scones, cream and apricot jam and small creme brulees ( at least we think that's what they were!).  On the second tier were the 'sandwiches' with toppings of cheese, egg, smoked salmon, pate and beef.  The top tier had the most delicious little sweet treats including macaroons, fruit tart and a chocolate mousse.  You were given the choice of tea or coffee.  You don't have to have Nescafe by the way - that was my choice as I don't like what the Winter Palace call their 'American coffee"!!  All of this is pretty much good value at 150LE per person.  There was more than enough to go round, so much so that we shared what was left with a French lady who was taking some tea on her own.  She polished off all the left-overs!

Then the birthday cake arrived!!

However, it arrived after my husband had to leave the table to go back to the room as his stomach was giving him problems!!  We arranged for it to be delivered to the room later, which it did, complete with trolley and table cover, crockery and cutlery, all set up for the four of us to sit down to eat the cake!!  By that time though we were pretty well stuffed, so left it all till later.

It was then time to get packed as we were leaving the next day.  That was our two weeks finished and we had to prepare to go home.

Later on that evening we got ready to go to Puddleduck as my husband had chosen to have his birthday dinner there, and I had arranged it all with Jill earlier.  We walked down Medina Street as usual and found that Jill had very kindly put up a banner and balloons, which was lovely.  We had our dinner and then a birthday cake arrived with much singing and noise by the staff - the cake was delicious but, as we were leaving the next day, we weren't able to take any of it away with us so my husband asked that it be shared with the rest of the diners that were in that night so that nothing would be wasted.

Then after walking back to the hotel via Caffe Moka where we said our goodbyes to our Egyptian friend who had joined us for coffee, we went back to the hotel and ate even more cake!!  It too was delicious but there was no way we could finish it so we took it downstairs to the reception staff who were delighted to do that job for us!!  The beds in the room had been decorated for the occasion!!

We went to bed that night full of cake and happy memories of our holiday!!

The day before the second BIG birthday

I had another terrible night with all my symptoms back again so, after breakfast, it was off to the clinic again!!  It was quite a fascinating walk through the streets however as this is a walk that we normally do at night and not during the day!!  It was like chalk and cheese - a totally different place altogether!!  And there also wasn't much evidence of crazy guys on motor cycles driving like maniacs!!

After another consultation with the doctor he arranged for more blood tests to be done and he also altered the dose of medication that he had given me. He also discovered that I had a high temperature and was concerned that I maybe had a 'fever', but I think he really just meant that my temperature was high.  However, that could have been because I had just walked to the clinic!!  Rather reluctantly, he allowed me to go back to the hotel and I promised to keep in the shade and to rest.  He arranged for me to pop in that night again for the results of the blood tests.

On the way back to the hotel, I took some photos.


Fancy motor bike and trailer

Fruit and veg sellers

Fresh fish

I think these were cabbages - they were huge!



Vegetable seller
After getting back to the hotel, I kept my promise to the doctor and just relaxed in the shade.  As much as my hospital stay was a very pleasant one, one night was enough and I didn't want any more!! The only time I stepped out of the shade was to walk up to Caffe Moka for lunch!!

That night we got ready for dinner and walked along to the Fortune Cookie.  We left our friends in there while I went back to the medical centre for the results of my blood tests, which were all good with my potassium and magnesium levels back to a normal level, which was good news.  We then had our meal at the Fortune Cookie then walked back to Caffe Moka for a final drink before heading back to the hotel.

It would be the second BIG birthday tomorrow!!

Visit to our friend's house

Today was cloudy again, but at least it was still warm.  We had nothing organised for today so we stayed at the pool yet again and planned on having the rolls we bought at the baker's last night for our lunch. During the time at the pool in the morning, one of the staff had come round to ask if anyone would like to book a massage.  As I thought I was in need of a little pampering, I took up this offer and was booked in before lunchtime.  There is a male employed to do the massages for men and a female to carry out the massages on ladies.  I have had a massage here before and found it quite rough, but this one was different and I almost fell asleep at one point!!  Priced at 115LE it wasn't too expensive.

We had our rolls and cheese for lunch which very nicely finished up the butter and cheese that we had stored in the fridge as it was growing closer to the end of the holiday and we didn't want to be wasting anything.

Again, we just lazed at the pool during the afternoon - I think I did say at the beginning of this blog that it was very much an R & R holiday!!  There is a new cake shop in the street right opposite the back door of the Winter Palace, so we popped in there as tonight was the night for going to our friend's house in the Village of the Cobra.  We got dressed and ready to go, gathering together the presents for the children, the cake, pens and pencils and then we set off to see Dony outside as we had already organised with him to take us there.

As usual once at the house, we were ushered into the family room where we had drinks and met the family and took photos!  We were then taken into the dining room where the table was groaning under the weight of the food!  He always makes us feel very welcome and uses the tartan table cover that we took over to him years ago!  We had taken over some tartan napkins for him this year and he had them on the table too, and he was wearing his Scotland shirt that we had given him on our last visit.  He's an honorary Scotsman now like we are honorary Egyptians!!

We spent an enjoyable time eating our food and seeing all the family but all too soon we were phoning Dony to come for us to take us back to the hotel.  We had had a great evening, as we usually do when visiting our friends here.

Sleepy, lazy day that clouded over

Yet again, I hadn't had a great sleep so it was another day of lazing about at the pool and when I wasn't sleeping I was taking photos!!  You'll notice how empty the pools are - that's because they're still not heated and are freezing cold!!

I had made sure that I had bananas for breakfast, but brought them down from the fruit bowl in our room as there were none for offer in the breakfast room.

These bananas were growing in the garden, but they weren't quite ready!!

We had our lunch at Caffe Moka, then I slept a lot once more at the pool.  It got noticeably cloudy today, but at least it was still warm even if there was no sunshine. By the time the sun was setting however, some of the cloud had lifted so I went down to the front terrace of the hotel to take some photos.

Winter palace bathed in a golden glow

Sun setting

Almost gone


 Then, on the way back through the gardens to the Pavilion rooms, I took more!!

One of a pair of guardian lions!
Rear of hotel
It was then almost time to head off for dinner again, and back to Puddleduck.  But, before that, I had to pop back to the clinic to see the doctor for a blood pressure check.  It seemed that the blood pressure was up a little again which wasn't too worried about, and he let me go for dinner to carry on with my holiday as normal.  However, he did want to see me on Saturday again for another check-up. At Puddleduck we had two starters, four main courses and drinks which came to 438LE.  And Jill very kindly sent one of her staff out to buy me some bananas!!  

After dinner it was a walk back to Caffe Moka for coffees and hot chocolate before heading back to the room.  I should probably say at this stage that my husband's preference was always for a beer at the end of the night!!  He's not really a pipe, slippers and hot chocolate man!!!