Journal: Thursday 25 April 2002
The weather is better today but the air is still full of dust, and even more so on the West Bank, where Mary and I found ourselves this morning. Habu Temple was our first port of call, I always like to visit it as soon as I am in Luxor, to say hello to the temple and see if there are any changes. It was the same as always – my favourite temple.
After a walk around the temple courts and out into the palace area, we went to the Rameses Cafe opposite the temple for coffee. Salah, who manages the cafeteria is now in the army and there was nobody else there that we knew today. We had arranged to meet my friend Robin who now lives here on the West Bank, for lunch, so we took a taxi back down the road to Gezira and found the Africa Restaurant which has now been relocated further up the road. It is set in a lovely shady garden and is much bigger than it used to be. Robin was waiting for us with her friend, another ex-pat, Graham and we all caught up on gossip and had a lovely lunch. The food here is still superb and Crocodile, who I’ve known for a long time, thankfully is still working here.
This afternoon Robin took Mary and I to her house that she has built in a village on the West Bank. It’s beautiful, built around a courtyard, with arches and columns enhancing its simple decoration. We sat in her palm-leaf chairs on the terrace and drank lots of tea and coffee whiling away a whole lazy afternoon. The views from her house are fabulous, only marred today by the dirt-filled breeze that was trying its best to obscure the hazy sunshine, stirring up whirlpools of sand like dust-devils. Robin was returning to England today for a few weeks, and we stayed with her until she left for the airport in the early evening, sharing a taxi over to Luxor.
Early to bed tonight because we have booked a balloon flight for tomorrow at dawn. What I didn’t realise at the time of booking was that the clocks go back an hour tonight, so instead of leaving at the usual 5.30am, we must be ready to go at 4.30am!