Luxor is hell on earth.

What is it like to live in Egypt? Share your experiences of Egypt’s culture.

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Re: Luxor is hell on earth.

Post by Choccy »

In the long run Horus, any Country in the world that has a financial crisis, will do one of three things, many Countries in Europe have had no choice.

Dip into the countries Reserves and maybe sell off some gold reserves.
Sell Asset's
Raise Taxes.

So its natural to expect that what may happen in the future. Its just a progression that happens.


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Re: Luxor is hell on earth.

Post by Horus »

Dip into the countries Reserves and maybe sell off some gold reserves.
Sell Asset's
Raise Taxes.
1. Egypt has no gold reserves to speak of.
2. What assets? they have none other than the Pyramids & the Monuments
3. So it's raise taxes then?

If they try that at the moment you can prepare yourself for revolution number 3. 8)
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Re: Luxor is hell on earth.

Post by Choccy »

Well pray tell me what other way there is, because I cannot think of any. But I do think times will be a little harder for a while until things get turned around. They will get turned around eventually but it may take a long time.

I cannot remember a revolution in the UK when VAT went back up to 21% or the fuel escalator was in action, or in any Country that has attempted to put their house in order. The only discord I remember was over the Poll Tax...
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Re: Luxor is hell on earth.

Post by Horus »

Well pray tell me what other way there is, because I cannot think of any
Is that not we have been trying to tell you all along? I don't have any answers because there aren't any, Egypt is a third world country with a third world infrastructure and unless they are floating on oil or gas that is unlikely to change. Having said that, Nigeria has plenty of oil and if the world had an arse-hole then it would be located in Nigeria and believe me it is far worse that Egypt.
I cannot remember a revolution in the UK when VAT went back up to 21% or the fuel escalator was in action, or in any Country that has attempted to put their house in order. The only discord I remember was over the Poll Tax..
But that is because the UK does not fall into the category of being a third world country with poverty levels of wages like Egypt, neither is it a corrupt shithole like Nigeria. As a reasonably wealthy country we have had these systems of taxation in place for as long as anyone can remember. In the main we are used to paying our taxes because we know what most of it is spent on and we know that without it our services will cease to be available and our standard of living will fall. My electricity and gas is not subsidised by the state, in fact it has extra taxes put on it to make it more expensive, but on the other hand my income covers that expenditure. However if you are only surviving by having subsidised gas and electricity and fuel then that tells me you cannot put up taxes on those items or reduce subsidies on them without creating a backlash.

You quote the Poll tax riots in the UK, but forget to mention that they had to be scrapped because of the anger, resentment and civil disobedience that they caused even though the tax was actually a fair one inasmuch as each person in a household of working age paid their share of the tax. Certainly much fairer than a single person living alone in a property and paying the same amount of tax (council rates) as a family of six people all living at the same address and all working. So my point is that if reasonably affluent people can riot at what was in effect a fair system that made everyone pay a fair share of the council tax, then how much worse would it be in a country where people can barely survive on what they earn then being asked to pay more?
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Re: Luxor is hell on earth.

Post by Grandad »

Grandad wrote:Oh Choccy! Do think it through. I found your statement unbelievable and not a little naive.
I don't want to be rude Choccy but my statement of a few days ago still stands. And also in that statement I observed that you were suggesting price increases that I compared to be equivalent to western prices. You then denied that you were making such suggestions. Well if, as you suggest, petrol should increase to 10le per litre then, net of UK tax, that would be more expensive than UK petrol.

I repeat my earlier question, 'Do you think it through?' Because to be honest friend, I don't think so..........

Horus has made the case in his usual eloquent and informed manner, but god forgive that Egypt should ever sink to the corrupt level of Nigeria.
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Re: Luxor is hell on earth.

Post by Choccy »

All I am saying is that I believe taxes will have to rise, to sustain any level, and I believe it will have doubled if not trebled by the end of this year, I cannot say by how much that's not my position to do so, that will be left to the powers that be, I am saying that fuel and things that bring money into the coffers will have to rise, come back to me in 12 months time on this one "G".
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Re: Luxor is hell on earth.

Post by Grandad »

12 months Choccy? I think you will have moved on by then ;)
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Re: Luxor is hell on earth.

Post by Horus »

12 months Choccy? I think you will have moved on by then ;)
Me too judging by Choccy's increasing irritation and frustration with where he is living at the moment. Also I don't think anyone actually said prices would not rise on fuel and other items, what we were saying was that it is not the solution as it will only create more problems in Egypt. I have no doubt at all that any new government will have to try and balance the books in some way to try and stop the spiral of debt that the country finds itself in, but it is those same increases that you advocate that will cause more and more unrest and thus worsen the situation. So more riots equals less tourists and outside investment equals further debt and cuts in services as the money slowly runs out, then rather than the situation improving you will find just the opposite as power cuts become wider and for longer periods. I can even see a situation where if it gets bad enough the poupulation will start to object to what are mainly tourist areas of the Red Sea resorts getting preferential treatment regarding electricity, gas and water and demanding that they be stopped. Once that happens you will start to see another exodus from that area with people trying to get out, but it will be the smart ones who got out early. ;)
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Re: Luxor is hell on earth.

Post by Choccy »

Everything is possible Horus you never know from one day to another. But whatever happens it will be a difficult balancing act for whoever. I don't know this because I am not a mixer, but these last winter months there seems to have been a marked drop in Europeans around Luxor, so I suspect some have left already.

I do agree with what you say though.

In three years fuel prices have doubled, and bottled gas has increased more than that, (In line with the Egyptian Economy) so who knows? Food prices have virtually doubled in that time too, you can go into a supermarket one week and see an item say at 34le, the next week the item has gone up in price to 40le. My wife is always saying the increase in prices are always on the move upward, and not by small amounts either, we bought an item in a shop 2 weeks ago, and asked them if they could get more, 8 days leter when they come in they had gone up by 45le. When we first came to Luxor you could shop for a couple at around 5-600le a week now its always between 7 and 800le per week, mind you that does include 4 kilos of Chicken Livers for the pooch. That may be due to the exchange rate I don't know but whatever things are certainly on the up

It might be that the second of Egypts dual economy is doing well though. By that I mean the shops that have signs outside in English and Arabic, and the prices are different for the product in both cases. Mind you I think many owners have now seen that this is no longer working for them.
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Re: Luxor is hell on earth.

Post by Horus »

so I suspect some have left already.
That does not surprise me Choccy, the die-hards will probably stick it out or those that have integrated themselves well into the local community and accept Egypt with all it's faults, but I would imagine those that only rent their property are already considering their options, but those who own their property will have little choice in the matter as less and less people choose to buy property in what is already a glutted market. The only people who will make money out of this is as the property values fall (as they will) then local speculators will no doubt move in and buy up cheap properties then wait for the upturn that will no doubt come when Luxor reinvents itself into something other than it is now and that may be sometime or never. Holidays are a constantly changing attraction, sometimes it is all cultural like Egypt, Machu Pichu, Terracotta Army, Petra, then it diverts to exotic places like India, East Asia etc. We are currently in the Sun, Sand & Sea type holidays as we had when the Spanish Costa’s were popular, but that is now drifting more steadily towards Cruising as it encompasses most peoples idea of a holiday, lots to see, plenty of entertainment and exceptionally good food. The stuffiness has gone out of cruising and everyone can find their own level of comfort from up market all dinner jacket dining, to smart casual dress code onboard.

Egypt could attract many more tourists to Nile cruises if it was able to implement the Cairo to Aswan trip (I for one would probably do it) but with the current security situation that is unlikely to ever happen, so another missed opportunity. The other thing would be a complete revamp of the boats on offer, even the best are a bit jaded and need to be run better and have a more adventurous itinery and better onboard entertainment. This of course would not help Luxor or its traders as most people choosing this sort of cruise do so to cut down on the intrusive hassle that seems to permeate any holiday in Egypt. I would love to bring my daughter to show her the sites, but she is far less tolerant of being hassled than I am and I know she would react much differently to myself and if (god forbid) she was subjected to the insults that seem to be a common reposte if their entreaties fail to get your attention, then I am afraid she would go ballistic and I would pity the poor Egyptian on the other end of her rage, a few more like her and the hassle would stop overnight :lol: :lol:
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Re: Luxor is hell on earth.

Post by Choccy »

I was led to believe the Cairo-Aswan Cruise had restarted, has it been cancelled again through the problems Horus? Not wanting to sound vague, but I really do not follow the tourist anymore, plenty of people including myself have put forward ideas, but they never get implemented or started. So, its just retirement for me and my wife.

We are still looking though for somewhere on the Red Sea, to improve our lives, and have the best of both lives, during Summer and Winter. Regarding property in Luxor, of course you are very correct its a much overpriced market, I did once try to sell my place but after 4 or 5 people came to look around and say "We have another 5 houses to look around" due to what you correctly say is a flooded market, decided to spend money on our home and invest further at a later date, and that is what we intend doing. By the way on this subject, whatever you may have heard about my villa's sale price, (Not saying you have) I would like to state it was wrong, someone asked me once why it was up for 1,000,000le that has never been the case, and I do not know were they got this from, I can only think it was people that like to speculate on other people's business, a pastime in Luxor. There were 2 agents involved and they were only asked to price the villa and put it on the market at a reasonable asking price.
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Re: Luxor is hell on earth.

Post by Horus »

As far as I am aware they never really got off the ground due mainly to the security concerns passing through certain areas such as Quenna and once they tried to start it up again you had another revolution so that kibosched it once again.

As to your property, I would not have a clue as to what it was put on the market for and to be honest I am not interested, neither could I say what your villa is like, inside or out. The only time I would be interested is if you were for some reason put some pictures up on here for us to see in a social way, such as showing us your garden or something like that, otherwise it is again something I have no interest in. ;)
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Re: Luxor is hell on earth.

Post by carrie »

One difference between Egypt and the UK is that many industries, farms, hotels etc are owned and run by the army. I don't believe this is the case anywhere else in the world, that is an Egyptian solution or problem, see it as you like.
One thing is for sure however much Europeans speculate, pontificate, or suggest solutions it is not our country we live here by grace of the authorities and for that I am grateful and oin the whole to the Egyptian people.
As for dual pricing, dual menus, one in Arabic the other in English. Learn to read and write Arabic it's surprising what a difference it makes when you ask for the arabic menu, you are treated with much more respect, because you have shown that an effort has been made to learn and to integrate.
If you lived in Spain, France Italy you would make the effort why not here, just laziness because most peole speak some English.
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Re: Luxor is hell on earth.

Post by Horus »

That's it exactly Carrie, people must integrate if they wish to live for a long time in another country. That is the current problem in the UK, to many people comming here and forming little enclaves and then wanting to change our culture to suit their own, not unlike Luxor from what I can see. ;)
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Re: Luxor is hell on earth.

Post by Choccy »

Its when you can read these boards you realise, there are prices for one and prices for the other. That why a few of us know. I even know of a restaurant that gives tourists one menu and locals another. We use it a lot so we get the local menu....
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Re: Luxor is hell on earth.

Post by Horus »

Providing the prices are clearly displayed and you are charged what it says on the menu then I see no real problem. These places are in it to make money and they will charge what the market dictates, if tourists don't like the prices then they will choose another place to eat and to be honest most tourists don't give a hoot if a local or expat gets a better deal or even if the local or expat gets charged the same, it is usually the expats complaining that they get charged as much as tourists. As nearly everyone is residing there on a tourist visa then I don't see the problem because all you are is a long stay tourist however else you may see it, if the Egyptian government does not give you a residents visa then that reinforces the fact that they see you as tourists. So to take your argument further why should another tourist (yourself for example) get any preferential treatment over myself for anything at all? I would also stop the fiddle with student passes to the sites, we all know that 95% of the pass holders do not have any current connection with the educating of others and neither are they studying, so again another thing they could crack down on. Anyone other than an indigenous Egyptian should be made to pay the full price regardless, if they can afford to travel to Egypt then they can afford to pay the going rate to enter the monuments. The only concession I would make is to sell a season ticket similar to the ones sold my the National Trust in the UK inasmuch as they give a regular visitor a discount off the normal admission, but nothing like the give-away that is abused with student passes by well off people who just want to scrounge more from the Egyptian people who can ill afford it.
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Re: Luxor is hell on earth.

Post by LovelyLadyLux »

Have to say mostly I skimmed this thread - read some posts but not all and right now my only comment (which might not even be applicable) is:

In some areas of the world the "tourist" - ya know that person who on arriving in Egypt is harassed, verbally (and sometimes now physically) accosted/assaulted and cheated beyond all reason by Egyptians and, as well, is maligned by local Expats as being something unwanted and undesirable to have in Egypt - is definitely welcomed and is in over abundance and lining the pockets and coffers of locals with LOTS of tourist $$$$ in other very wonderful, warm, tropical areas of the world that are not going through on-going power and water cuts.

Methinks EGYPT needs to 'get a grip' and really analyze what other countries are doing to attract tourists and then adopt these practices. HOWEVER having said that I'm also very aware that Egyptian life & lifestyle is their own biggest impediment to progress and is precluding them from moving out of third world status.

Sorry Choccy you're in a real pickle. There are absolutely no suggestions. Egypt has made it's bed and now has to lie in it. There are NO quick fixes.
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Re: Luxor is hell on earth.

Post by Horus »

Egypt has sat on its backside and wallowed in its former glories when it comes to attracting tourists. Just try and imagine another holiday destination that would allow the dawn till dust harassment of the tourist they relied on? It honestly beggars belief that they still allow Caleshe drivers to hound a tourist from one end of the Corniche to the other without any of the countries local law enforcement taking action. Imagine that at Disneyworld or similar that you had to run the gauntlet of souvenir sellers and
purveyors of Disney crap every time you went to any of the various theme parks. Can you imagine the Orlando police tolerating street hassle and abuse being hurled at the tourists? No you cant’ because the local business owners would be up in arms about it and demand that it was stopped, we are not talking about casual crime here, that happens anywhere, we are talking about constant harassment.

Try if you can to imagine visiting the British Museum, “would you like a program madam?” you reply “No thank you” “Well **** *** back to China/America/Japan/France etc. then” (insert your own nationality). Try and imagine that you are taking a stroll around Times Square and every taxi that passes you keeps honking his horn, crawling alongside you and asking if you want a taxi.

Imagine you are enjoying a pleasant stroll around Stone Henge with your wife/girlfriend/lover etc admiring the wonderful monument and trying to discuss it’s architectural merits, but you are constantly followed around by someone who looks like they should be selling the ‘Big Issue’ who keeps pointing at things and saying “look madam” “look sir” then holding his hand out for money.

Imagine if you will a romantic stroll along the banks of Seine in Paris, but all the time you have a complete stranger sticking his face into yours and saying “hello, hello” then telling you how beautiful your wife is. All of the above happens in places such as Luxor and nothing is done about it, so Luxor becomes a one time destination for most people and a "Never again"” for many more.

The infra structure is a total mess, kerbs that are far too high for more elderly people and too many breaks in the pavement requiring to many step ups and step downs. When something is tidied up it is usually of poor quality with missing floor tiles or bricks, sunken uneven places and toe chopping edges, so even if you could stroll without hassle you would probably have an accident of some kind to your feet.

Neither do tourist want to sit having a beer with the smell of horse crap & urine pervading the air or have to wade through litter everywhere. So basically you do not have to do very much at all to attract the tourists, just behave like any other tourist destination and let tourists do what they came to do, ie. enjoy their free time in a way they choose with clean facilities. Cleanliness costs very little, so clean up the streets, repair the broken footpaths, stop the hassle and abuse. Tourists accept that things are not the same as their home country and are usually happy to try out local stuff, but Luxor shoots itself in the foot before it even gets going. The real irony is that everyone knows what annoys the tourists, but no one does anything about it, so that must mean they do not really care about tourists and that is the impression most tourists will get of Egypt, therefore fewer people will return again. Everyone bangs on about what can they do to attract more visitors, well the answer is under your noses , but does anyone listen?
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Re: Luxor is hell on earth.

Post by Choccy »

I don't consider myself in a pickle LLL, just looking to improve my life, cannot really see me moving from Egypt for a long while, I just want to make some improvements to it, there are plenty of places in Egypt that can offer me this, its a matter of looking for them. Not everywhere has come to a standstill, there are still places investing, although be it private investment, and offering nice things.

But you are perfectly correct when you say there are no quick fixes.
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Re: Luxor is hell on earth.

Post by carrie »

Some years ago Qena got a new Governor he instigated certain improvements in the city. On the spot fines where introduced for littering, he cleaned the place up and even the backstreets are now clean. PLanted trees and flowering shrubs along the roadways, nice sculptures and fountains here and there. The people there are friendly and polite. No honking taxi's no annoying caleche, there are caleche there but they just ask caleche madam, shukran and off they go.
The Corniche is wonderful full off little places to sit and watch the world go by, lots of Egyptian families sitting on the grass and enjoying themselves.
The Gov apparently went out occasionally incognito in a taxi to see what was happening in his city, he employed taxi drivers to go out without licences to see if the police picked up on them. If they didn't do their job properly then a full scale investigation.
All this wasn't for the sake of tourists, never seen any there, but to make the place better for the Egyptian people themselves.
There is however a lot of different forms of employment in Gena, large University, concrete, cement, sugar, paper factories, the people there are not dependant on tourism to make a living.
I think the only hope for Luxor is to forget the tourists, I don't believe they will ever come back in the numbers they once did. Introduce some other form of employment. At the moment it is a chicken and egg situation, less tourists so more hassle more hassle less tourists. Everyone is fighting to make a living. I do feel so sorry for the people of Luxor
but however much you try to explain that let people look in your shop without hassling them and if they are interested in anything then they will ask, and feeling comfortable there they are more likely to buy. When someone in the street says no they don't want a caleche, taxi, felluca, motor boat or Egyptian husband they mean it so say have a nice day and move on.
I have seen tourists being very rude to the taxi, caleche drivers too, without reason, so both sides need to learn.
The police must begin to carry out their duties in a fair and unbiased manner.
Nothing ex pats or visitors can do about any of these problems though the solution must come from the top.
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