Thursday, 23 February 2017

10 things not to do in Luxor, Egypt.

Spend Money.

Apart from your flights and hotel room, you'll be hard pressed to spend money in Luxor, unless you allow yourself to be ripped off or wish to buy pashminas and replica relics. Everyone will try to help you with everything, including pointing at something for your to photograph and then ask you for money for what they did, be firm and polite and say no.

A taxi from the airport is LE 80, around £4, ask and confirm the price before you do anything and check it's LE (Egyptian Pounds) and not $ (Dollars).

Expect to pay up to LE 700 per person for a full day tour of the West Bank, to include the Valley of the Kings, a couple of temples and the tour guides, brothers, Alabaster or Papayas shop. You will have to pay extra to visit Tutankhamen. You can however do this cheaper yourself, but I'd recommend a tour guide a) to tell you the     history b) to stop you being hassled and c) to get
                                                                                    you back to your hotel.
You have to pay your hotel bill in foreign currency, you are not allowed to pay in Egyptian Pounds, but you can withdraw local currency from the cash machines. Banks are heavily guarded, but don't let anyone try to assist you and preferably withdraw money in pairs.

No one will have change anywhere, and will delay giving you change in the hope you won't bother waiting.

Bring Kids.


Don't bring kids with you unless you are prepared to keep a very close eye on them 24/7 and entertain them yourself. While the hotels have pools, they are a long way from the rooms, terraces, life guards are rare. There are no facilities in Luxor aimed at entertaining children, whilst there is a MacDonalds, there isn't a play area, there are no swings and slides to be found or public parks and internet is scarce.




Use the Internet.

Leave that laptop at home. There is little if no wifi in public places and in the hotels, you are limited to two devices per room. Wifi is often limited each day and costs around $10 per 250mb. Your mobile phone provider will sms on arrival with cost of calls, but if you wish to buy a sim card, you can only get this at the airport.

Drink coffee.

I found one coffee shop that served anything that resembled the coffee I like to drink. Nescafe seem to have the monopoly over here and a latte is 2 powered tubes and over heated milk, not nice. Ask for a cappuccino, it's likely to be from a Nespresso machine.








Drink the water

We've travelled to many locations around the world and we often forget to check if we can drink the tap water. To date we've never been ill from drinking the water, but one of us, usually Peter, has had food poisoning. Brushing teeth is ok, but avoid ice in drinks, ask the waiter to give you the bottled water to open, so you can check the seal and personally I avoid foods with high water content such as watermelon and cucumber.






Shop


There are NO high street stores in Luxor, all you'll find are local shops, souks and markets, mainly selling souvenirs and replica, tacky and low quality, clothes and bags. You'll be hard pressed to find a supermarket, corner store, pharmacy, so bring all your toiletries and medications with you.




Queue

December and January are the height of the tourist season, but don't expect to have to wait in long queues for anywhere, there are sadly few tourists coming to Luxor since 2011, due to the current political climate.

Get tired


Luxor is a relaxing place to visit, tours start early morning, 3 days minimum stay to visit all the sights, take a trip on the nile, fit in a hot air balloon trip and enjoy leisurely drinks and meals in the hotel.


Walk anywhere


Don't expect to walk anywhere in Luxor, the second you step out your hotel you'll be inundated with requests to use taxi's and horse and carriages. If you do get a taxi, the driver will tell you he will wait for you at your destination, until you've finished, so don't pay them until you get back to your hotel.





Relax with personal safety

There are many warnings about travelling to Luxor and Egypt in general. The biggest risk is around mosques at prayer times and if you see large groups of people forming, then it is advised to leave the area and not hang around to see what is going on. Use the hotel safe for your passports, laptops, etc and only carry with you cash and cards that you think you'll need each day. Keep your bag in full sight at all times.



Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Public Toilet Technology - How do you turn the taps on?


I've travelled far and wide, stayed in the finest of hotels, used the basics of bathrooms.

I've found the foot pedals, operated the sensors, turned dials, twisted taps, sussed out if the tap turns left or right or if the hot and cold is on the left or the right.

But this one stumped me and I had to ask at reception how to turn the tap on. Apparently, you lift the elbow and turn left or right to adjust the water temperature.

What's the weirdest tap you've come across?

I'm not the only one who has this issue, see what Michael McIntyre had to say on the subject.




Monday, 20 February 2017

Sharing my son with another family.

Child 4 was the last to leave home in 2014, he was almost 20 and had been the last child at home for almost a year after child 5 returned to the UK to boarding school.

Child 4 is the only child we've had an input with into adult hood, he was at home the longest, therefore the one we spent the most time with as a young adult.

He was the only one we taught to drive, who we left home alone to look after his younger sibling while we travelled and the one who did the school runs, food shops and picked us up after a night out.

Apart from the youngest who finishes school this year, the other 3 boys manage their own finances, careers and lives in general. But they always come to me for advice and support before making major decisions. They respond to messages, but unlike child 4, they rarely initiate just general day to day chat.

However things are changing/have changed with child 4 in the past few months since he got himself a girlfriend. I don't mean that he's stopped talking to me, tagging me in photo's or even become distant. I mean he now has a whole new family involved in his life. He tags me in photo's of days out with his girlfriend and her family, his achievements and just general stuff he thinks I'll like, same as usual, but now not only is his girlfriend commenting on his posts, so are her family, their extended family, friends and neighbours.

These are people I don't know, but who are getting to know my son just as well as I do. Whose comments are similar to mine, because they know what he's like and how he'll respond. People who share 'in' jokes with him. People who he tells things to at the same time as he tells me. People who are important in his life, of equal importance to me.

I'm not jealous, but I do envy their relationship with my son. My relationship with my son is now online, we live 4000 miles apart, he sees his girlfriend most days after work, he goes round her house and eats his tea with her family, he walks their dog, he talks to her dad about the football, he asks her mum to help with removing stains from his clothes.

As a Mother to 5 children, all bar one being adults, I've accepted a long time ago, that they would all grow up and leave home one day, that they'd get girlfriends, get married one day and eventually have children of their own. What I didn't think about was how their new families had families of their own.

I'm off to Belfast for a few days in March to meet the girlfriend and her family and the 3 of us are taking a road trip to Dublin, it's a short visit, but it will be nice to meet the girlfriend and her family and get to know the people my son now shares his life with on a daily basis.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

112 My Sunday Photo 2017 W is for weather.



The two photos were taken 24 hours apart. Top photo Saturday, bottom photo Friday.

It's always a worry when the Burj Khalifa isn't visible, we call it Armageddon day. Most of the past week has been, cloudy, windy, rainy or sandy. But Friday all 4 occurred at the same time, with visibility dropping, localised flooding and the house filling up with sand, covering every, single, surface.

We were woken at 4am Saturday morning with a terrific crash and flash of light, thinking an aeroplane had crashed, but no, it was thunder and lightening, a rare occurrence for Dubai.

There was snow up in Jebel Jais last week, a 2 hour drive from Dubai and the highest point of the UAE.at 1,943 meters, just over double the height of the World's tallest tower.

Despite the poor weather, it's a pleasure to have it. But it's still been very warm around the mid 20c and very muggy.

Summer isn't far away, thankfully I'll dodge the worse of the heat this year as I'm in the UK from mid June till mid October.


One Daily Positive 2017 Week 7

I decided not to drink any coke this week, or any other fizzy drinks. I can drink 2-3 cans of coke a day without thinking about it. It's not good for my weight or my teeth. there's no list this week, apart from daily stuff like housework, everything else has been done, apart from a few things I need to sort out when I get to the UK next month. My weight at the start of the week was 72.9kg, I gave up weighing myself as I lost and gained a kilo during the week. By Tuesday I stopped having sugar in my coffee, but I found myself eating more food. We ate out 3 times this week and a fair few pints were consumed also.

I've also realised that I only use my mobile phone in Dubai for Social Media, it's only Peter who physically calls me. Every public place has wifi so I'm spending February 3G free when I'm out and about, I don't need to keep checking my status when walking in the park or sitting on the beach and as a result I've been reading a lot more. I do have a small amount of credit for when I drive into the desert in case of an emergency.

Peter was working late all week and the time dragged by. On Monday the only person I spoke to was at the window at Costa Coffee drive through.

Sunday was spent mainly at the dentists after I collected some old duvets to make some more dog beds with and the afternoon was spent sorting the material out.

Monday involved a trip into the desert with Bob and I spent a few hours tidying the sheds and garage, while the weather is cool. I cycled and walked to and on the beach, had a coffee and wrote my address book up to date, although I don't know why I bother writing letters to so many people these days as only my mum and 2 friends write back. I spent the evening working out and resetting ALL my passwords online after accidentally clearing all the cookies when I was looking for flights for Peter for the UK in April.

Tuesday was another long day. We woke up to heavy rain. Bob and I went out for a Valentine's lunch and the ironing got done. I also started on a new dog bed design and cut some squares for making bandana's. I visited 11 puppies and their 2 mothers who are looking for a new home and took them some valentine heart shaped dog biscuits I'd baked. I had a sleep in the afternoon then went to Costa Coffee for free coffee, cake and balloons, getting home at 9pm.

Wednesday morning was spent cleaning the house, the weather has been really cool and it's been raining most of the week, so doors are flung wide open. It's also been very windy, so along with the muddy paw prints the house was covered in a fine layer of sand. I went food shopping and stopped for my obligatory coffee. I ended up cooking several meals for the next week along with the dinner.

Thursday I spent the morning in the nail bar and sorted out my outfit and accessories for a boat party on Friday, which was cancelled due to the weather. Rory's time with her foster family came to an end and I collected her for the afternoon, not once, but 3 times she cleared our 6ft wall and I found her desperately trying to bounce her way back into the garden. We went out for dinner, neither of us could be bothered to cook. We received sad news that Peter's Aunty Marion had passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday.

Friday we met friends and their dog out in the desert, we brought Jelly home with us for the night, while her humans had the sofas cleaned. Late afternoon we visited Dubai Mall and had Dinner over looking the fountains. We finally got round to booking Peter's UK trip in April, just internal flights and car hire to book for me now.

Saturday morning around 4am we were woken with an almighty crash and flash of light, seriously thinking a plane had crashed, it was that loud and bright, another crash and flash and we recognised thunder and lightening. Not something that happens often in Dubai, it took a while to get back to sleep with the noise of the heavy rain. We went out for breakfast, food shop and spent an hour removing layers of sand from the kitchen where the window had been left open over night. After Jelly was collected I took Rory to visit a potential foster family. I ended up leaving her there and we'll see how it goes for a week.

43/365 #WIDN Enjoying the rain in Dubai.
 44/365 I Love the freedom of living in Dubai, compared to South Africa.
 45/365 #LoveYourSelfie.
46/365 Red, changing the soft furnishings to mark the seasons.
47/365 A message.

48/365 Wide angle, although portrait mode is more suited to living in Dubai.
49/365 Muse my inspiration for everything in life is directly related to the amount of caffeine I have.





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