This little hotel is the perfect antidote to the noise and energy and sheer volume of life in Alexandria and Cairo. We flew in with Cath and Geoff Barley from Cairo yesterday morning and ran the gauntlet through the taxi drivers, made a deal for a driver and off we went. The driver however was asking for directions within minutes of starting what would turn into a ninety-minute drive. We were in the country. Not like Canadian country…Egyptian country. Bumpy dirt roads, donkeys and scruffy little kids all over the place…and us, the foreigners, the fish out of water.
There are two very old photos of Egypt on our dining room wall in Manotick (are they still there Mary?) of Egypt…old Howard or Turnbull family heirlooms of uncertain origin. One is of a shepherd herding a flock of sheep along a dusty road in the heat. Alan Jowett has always liked it. Well I swear that we were following that same shepherd and his flock of sheep and goats down that same dusty road yesterday. It felt like nothing had changed in one hundred years for those few minutes.
This hotel is really about ten small villas in a middle Eastern/Mexican style, one story stucco units that are like little apartments. It is situated right on the banks of the Nile but opposite Luxor out in the country. Directly across the river is the city of Luxor. Right behind our room is a braying donkey and a couple of cows. Instead of listening to the din of traffic, at night there are the animals and a lovely breeze. The bliss.
There were two added bonuses. One was a beautiful outdoor restaurant next door where had a delicious meal not far from a ten-foot crocodile sitting as still as could be in his cage. The other was a little gift shop at the hotel operated by a German woman, a former member of the German parliament for the Green Party who sells goods that she buys from local artisans at fair prices. They were of high quality and we gave her some business, including the purchase of an exquisitely decorated piece of clay pottery that I will bring home to show Monica Chappell, our favourite potter and yogi.