51st Status

Apparently it’s been a year since Corinne and I were relaxing at Secret Garden on the wonderful beach at Otres 2 in SIhanoukville, Cambodia.

How time flies.

IMG_3119This friendly reminder from Facebook prompted me to check how long it had been since my last blog entry.  Almost 3 months!

So what’s been happening?

IMG_3133Well the CEO of Let Us Create (you know, that Cambodia charity that we work for) decided to come of to see us from her base in Tanzania.  10 days of 9am-6pm solid work for Corinne and Leah whilst I sat in the corner and raised my hand if I had a question. (“Do you guys actually want some lunch today?”, “How about taking a break for some dinner?”).

IMG_3145Seriously, Leah is no problem to have around and the commitment that she shows to the charity is matched only by Corinne’s.  She was also kind enough to bring me good coffee! Very good coffee!

After she left, the number of hours being spent working by Corinne were becoming a bit silly – defeating the point of our semi-retirement – so I booked a Nile Cruise for a week, with a couple of days either side to relax in Luxor.  It also coincided with my 51st birthday.

IMG_3179On the Friday we headed over to Luxor and arrived rather grumpy due to a friend completely screwing up the transport that he’d arranged.  Our friend Mohamed (Mo) met us on the East bank and we immediately went to book the cruise for the Monday.  Once done, we took a motor ferry (after some arguing with the “captain” who tripled the price once he saw we were foreigners) over to the West bank, then grabbed a taxi up to the apartment that Mo had arranged for us.

IMG_3168The apartment was in a lovely building with an amazing roof garden and was spotlessly clean with air conditioning and fans.  Mo assured us that it was a lovely quiet area.  Mo is in the process of completing his own apartment block next door (see photo).

IMG_3177We then went to a restaurant/bar next to the Rammesseum – fantastic views and a cold Stella were enjoyed as the sun went down.

Later, we took the main ferry back over to the East Bank and then went looking for a restaurant for dinner.  Mo recommended a local restaurant which did indeed have some fantastic Egyptian dishes that I had never tried before, but was very limited for Corinne.

We dropped into our bed later absolutely shattered.  It was interesting throughout the night listening to the singing neighbour, the donkeys, the cockerels and the mosque.  Mo was right though, we couldn’t hear the road traffic.

The next morning I wandered out to the end of the road and found a corner shop with a small bakery attached, so I grabbed some croissants, coffee, milk, tea – the usual.  Breakfast in the flat and then we wandered down to the river to see what was available for lunch.

IMG_3196The hotel Marsala presented itself, with a view onto the Nile from the roof restaurant.  armed with Kindles, Corinne and I climbed the stairs and made ourselves comfortable.  Lunch and a few hours relaxing was definitely the order of the day.

Evening saw us meeting up with Mo again and we went to a restaurant called Africa, another rooftop scenario with slightly different views.

IMG_3178Corinne was feeling a bit nauseous the next day, so we stayed in the apartment in the morning.  I then went hunting for takeaway and managed to put together a plate of chicken, falafel, rice and stuff which we ate in the cool comfort of the flat.

The evening saw us down by the river again, where we went to Al Gazeera Gardens – a hotel with a restaurant on – you guessed it – the roof.

IMG_3250Next morning we met Mo outside with a case of Stella and a taxi, then headed round to the East Bank to check in for our cruise.

 

 

Not much to say about the following week, except that we relaxed.  Utterly.  We didn’t leave the boat at Edfu.  Nor Komombo.  We stayed put in Aswan.  The return journey to Luxor was the same.IMG_3253Due to being able to speak some Arabic, we became firm friends with a lot of the staff, who were absolutely wonderful.  I did a deal with reception and for $20 a day more we upgraded to true all-inclusive.  This saved some  money over the week as water was 18 LE for a bottle and beer was 35 LE.

IMG_3339The food was excellent.  Breakfast lunch and dinner every day were a real treat, but the day that they did a full Egyptian spread will remain in our memories for some time.  It was gorgeous.

IMG_3341After a week of sitting on the top deck, watching the banks of the Nile drift slowly by, reading my Kindle while Corinne cross-stitched, we left the boat and checked into the Sheraton for 2 nights.

We stayed in a bungalow next to one of the pools and spent 2 days chilling.  Naturally we took a few hours out to go and visit with Gamal and the family, picking up a koshery lunch on the way and then sitting with the family and catching up.

A decent drive back to Hurghada with our own music on the stereo brought us back home.

The next day we picked up Cleo and tried the sea – it had warmed considerably in the 2 weeks we were away.

Life is now settling in to working too hard again but we are taking swimming time every day.

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