Journal: Wednesday 31 March 1999
I’d had no plans for today, so getting up late I spent a couple of hours over breakfast and coffee on the rooftop terrace, chatting with some German guests. Later in the morning Robin called round asking if I would go with her to the pool in Luxor’s newest hotel, the Sonesta St George. Beach holidays leave me cold and I am not good at lazing by a pool watching a crowd of European tourists sunbathing. I like to be seeing new things or at least exercising my mind, so after a minimum of protest I agreed to go with her if we could call in at Aboudi’s book shop first. This is where I found what is possibly my greatest treasure. The bookshop had a copy of ‘Abydos, Holy City of Ancient Egypt’, by Omm Sety and Hani el-Zeini. I had heard about this large format book, published in America by the LL Company in 1981, but had never seen it, so I was delighted to find a copy here in Luxor. It was an expensive treat at LE150 but worth every piastre.
On the way to the Sonesta, Robin and I had a look in the Akhmim fabric shop below the Old Winter Palace at their beautiful textiles. The fabrics cushions and bedcovers in fabulous woven designs and subtle muted colours were superb, but I was glad they were too heavy and bulky to take home as they were also very expensive. It was very hot walking to the Sonesta Hotel, so after we paid our LE25 for use of the pool, I did condescend to have a quick swim. This was followed by a very nice lunch at the poolside before I got totally immersed in my wonderful new book. The rest of the afternoon passed in a blur as I read Omm Sety’s descriptions of the Abydos Seti Temple, the images of which were still so clear in my mind after our time spent there last weekend.