Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Visiting Minya by train and a well recommended local driver

I just had some guests who wanted to visit a specific thing in a museum at Mallawi, they are archaeologists. So it didn't make sense going to expense of hiring a driver to go all the way and they decided to take the train and hire a local driver. Through some facebook friends (thanks Lisa) I was able to provide them with the contact details of a driver who was absolutely superb and whom they totally recommend. They said he was wonderful and took very good care of them.

They couldn't get hotel bookings by phone but the same hotel they had tried he was able to book for them and he paid it in advance to make sure they were confirmed. He meet them at the station from their train and took them to the hotel. The next day he took them to the museum, he was a little puzzled by their desire to only go to the museum and spend several hours there :)  but he did everything he could to help. He had a friend there so they were provided with chairs and cups of tea. He also went and got them their train tickets back.

The train back was three hours late and when they got concerned he made enquiries for them and made sure the train was coming and there was no problem.

His name is George Yany email phone +2 01227565351 He is based in Minya and will drive to Armarna, Beni Hassan, Hermopolis, Mallawi etc. He is knowledgeable, well connected and speaks good English. He charged 300LE for the day.

BTW they said there were no other tourists they saw in Minya but they had a great time there.

Monday, 27 May 2013

BBC News - China parents apologise after teen's Egypt graffiti exposed

BBC News - China parents apologise after teen's Egypt graffiti exposed: "We want to apologise to the Egyptian people and to people who have paid attention to this case across China," Mr Ding's mother told local newspaper Modern Express on Saturday.

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Sunday, 26 May 2013

Userhat ; TT 51 ; TT51 ; Thebes, Luxor ; Sheikh Abd el-Qurna ; tomb Egypt (1 of 6)

A new tomb from those wonderful people at OsirisNet

Userhat ; TT 51 ; TT51 ; Thebes, Luxor ; Sheikh Abd el-Qurna ; tomb Egypt (1 of 6): TT51, the tomb of Userhat or , also called Neferhabef .

The tomb of this Userhat, TT51, was created in the north-east wall of a large sunken courtyard, located in the slopes of the foothills of Sheikh Abd el-Qurna. This character named Userhat must not be confused with one of the same name, whose tomb, TT56, lies nearby (already published on OsirisNet - see TT56 pages).

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Wednesday, 22 May 2013

An open letter to the govenor of Luxor

Dear Governor

When the Theban Hills were fitted with lights it caused a lot of controversy, some liked it and some didn't however NOBODY has actually asked for it. A poll of departing guests at Luxor airport was never asked for their views. I am not aware of a single tourist who said "the Valley of Kings was great and Karnak wonderful but what I really wanted to see was the Theban Hills lit up". It is not an attraction that people come to Luxor for. Nobody is going to cancel their holiday if it is turned off.

Under the current circumstances as reported here Electricity and Energy Ministry to cut down on summer time electricity flow - Daily News Egypt: there is a shortage of electricity. Yesterday I had 7 power cuts, during the last one I watched the lights on the hills with increasing resentment.

On Sunday night I went to a Pizza restarant where there was a power cut for over an hour and the staff were unable to serve pizzas, the hills were lit during this time.

Hospitals are going without electricity, food shops are having food spoilt but the hills are lit.

Please turn off the lights on the hills.

Jane Akshar

Edited: This article asks the citizens to cut down, let the government cut down first Egyptian government urges citizenry to cut down on summertime use of electricity in hopes of reducing need for periodic power outages

I have used this form to ask to governor of Luxor to turn off the lights on the hills, if there is an electricity shortage this is a complete waste and very irresponsible. I used google translate to get my name in Arabic and 1234 as an id card number. Give it a go if you agree 

Monday, 20 May 2013

Hypostyle Project :: The Karnak Great Hypostyle Hall Project :: University of Memphis

I bumped into some members of this team last night and had a poke around the website, very interesting. 
Hypostyle Project :: The Karnak Great Hypostyle Hall Project :: University of Memphis: - Sent using Google Toolbar

A surprising number of teams working this summer South Asasif, this team and apparently the University of Arizona are coming next week.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Egyptian holiday safety - It is time big holiday companies put client satisfaction and safety above profit

I was dreadfully sad to read about the death of the child in Sharm el Sheilk (my heart goes out to them) much like I was sad to read about the balloon deaths in Luxor, which I actually saw from my apartment balcony but much of the blame has to go towards British and other western tour companies who put profit before safety and customer satisfaction.

Start with arrival in Luxor. The true price of a visa is $15 USD, slightly under £10 GBP and the reps stand there handing out visas (it is just a stamp). Pay us on the coach they say and then they charge £20 GBP, TWICE THE PRICE.

Then they tell people not to get tours outside so they can charge outrageous prices. They pick the cheapest balloon company with the lowest safety standard. They put people up in 5* hotels but don’t tell them these are Egyptian stars. There are no life guards so parents do not think to keep a careful watch, Egyptian safety standards are not the UK, and there are no rules about minimum numbers or ambulance response times but instead of telling people this they pretend.

Take myself; I have had people try and book sailing holidays for families. I tell them safety standards are not the same, there are no children’s life jackets, I do not accept bookings from families with small kids I TURN AWAY BUSINESS in the name of safety. I say this is an adventure holiday, bring your own children’s life jackets. I point out the gaps on railings are enough for little ones to get through. I LOSE MONEY because I will not accept small kids on a boat . I have had people go with other companies.

I suggest donkey rides instead of hot air balloons! I tell people to watch their children as there are no life guards. No child safety seats or baby seats, I try to be realistic, not to pretend.

It is time big holiday companies put client satisfaction and safety above profit

PS in 10 years none of MY guests have had a problem may Allah be praised

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

UCL on Facebook

For those of you that use Facebook UCL have a page with lots of goodies on it

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

EasyJet release flights till 2014

Our flights are now on sale up until 29th March 2014.

We are still confirming the rest of our flight schedules for Spring/Summer 2014 & we’ll update as soon as we have more information on their release.

Thank you for your patience.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Egypt tourism still struggling despite upswing: Industry insiders - Economy - Business - Ahram Online

Egypt tourism still struggling despite upswing: Industry insiders - Economy - Business - Ahram Online: Tourism to more 'cultural' destinations in Upper Egypt, however, has failed to pick up in the same manner.

Luxor, for example, the Upper Egyptian governorate famous for its ancient Egyptian heritage sights, has seen average hotel occupancy rates of only 20 percent, according to El-Zayat. Tourism activity in Aswan to the south, he added, was even weaker.

Only 30 out of approximately 280 floating hotels operating between Luxor and Aswan were currently active, El-Zayat elaborated.

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Wednesday, 8 May 2013

A new book Hidden Luxor (For Kids) | by Jane Akshar

Hidden Luxor (For Kids) | Jane Akshar: - Sent using Google Toolbar

What to do with children in Luxor Egypt?

Thinking about a Luxor holiday for the family and want to know how to keep the children amused then this book is for you. Jane Akshar has written a comprehensive guide to the historical sites and this companion book is aimed at parents wanting to know what to see, where to eat, what to do and what to avoid. She covers tickets, weather, food, fun and recommendations of child friendly sites and activities.
Contents include
  • Weather
  • Health
  • Transport
  • Where to stay
  • How to get around
  • Arabic
  • The Best Historical Sites
  • Other Activities for Children in Luxor
  • Animal Rides
  • The Nile for Children
  • Places to Eat
  • Baksheesh
  • Key Stage 2 Egypt
  • What To Do Before you Come
  • Homework Activities

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Fresh organic food at the Nubian Eco Village

Fresh organic food at the Nubian Eco Village: We like to grow as much food as possible on our land and use it to supply food to our restaurant. We already have lots growing and have been planting lots more .Check the link for lots of photos to wet your appetite.

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New ministers announced - Daily News Egypt

Ahmed Eissa Ahmed announced as new Minister of Antiquities

New ministers announced - Daily News Egypt: - Sent using Google Toolbar

Saturday, 4 May 2013

More news - Balloon flights resume - Luxor Forum - TripAdvisor

The person who posted this is actually a balloon pilot herself, I know her well and it is good to get her take on things,

Balloon flights resume - Luxor Forum - TripAdvisor: Just an update from the UK balloon pilot who occasionally flies with friends who pilot in Luxor...Well passenger flying has resumed as at last week. Of the original 8/9 balloon companies operating before the accident, only 5 of them have been allowed to start operations again. This follows the Egyptian CAA investigating each of these companies & examining their equipment. The 5 allowed back are Magic Horizon, Alaska, Hod Hod, Sindbad & Dream. The company whose balloon crashed - Sky Cruise - is evidently not on the list. As to the CAA inquiry into the accident itself, there is still no final report or indeed any word about its findings. Meanwhile the CAA has now insisted on introducing a new form which every passenger must sign after they've attended each company's safety briefing & before they fly. I've not yet managed to see a copy of this but it sounds like some sort of indemnity form which is intended to make passengers aware that accidents can happen & that injuries may occur. My only advice is - always read anything carefully before you sign it - &, as I' ve always maintained when writing about ballooning in Egypt, ensure your own travel insurance covers you for this activity (as many don't). Never take a flight without being fully insured - don't ever rely on the balloon company's insurance or any travel agent involved - always have your own travel insurance in place. Meanwhile the main holiday companies operating in Luxor - people like Thomson, First Choice & Kuoni - as far as I'm aware, are not recommending any balloon companies & offering to arrange flights like they used to. All bookings must be made with the balloon companies in Luxor directly.

Finally the cause of the terrible accident remains pure speculation as to how the fire broke out in the basket. But the bottom line is that a balloon is only as safe as its maintenance schedule or the pilot flying it.... We still wait to hear more. If anyone needs any more information I'm happy to answer personal messages - but all the above is about the extent of my knowledge at the moment.

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