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Pole to Pole

Day 57: Luxor

Michael Palin - Pole to PoleIt is September now and there are little things a traveller tends to forget, such as haircuts. I repair to a barber's shop in the back streets of Luxor. My barber is called Allah Gmal Idil, and he is very proud of his establishment, and of his two sons who stand and watch the whole procedure. I fear the worst and get the best from Allah: a good haircut, a cut-throat shave, a rub with pomagne scent, a trim of the eyebrows and even an assault on the nostril hairs.

In the evening, back on the Isis, I'm on deck looking out over another Nile sunset and dreaming off into the past when the present rudely reasserts itself.

'You don't know how Sheffield Wednesday went on last night?'

Pat and Gerald Flinders, two of our fellow passengers on the cruise down to Aswan, are from the town of my birth. Gerald has been studying Egyptology at night school.

'He can write National Westminster Bank in hieroglyphics,' says Pat proudly.

'Why would he want to do that?' Roger asks.

Pat seems surprised at the question. 'Because he works there.'

They join about twenty others whom we meet this evening, including a family from Watford, one of whom by extraordinary coincidence works in the council department responsible for twinning arrangements with Novgorod. There are three middle-aged Danish ladies on a girls-only holiday, a French couple, two handsome Italians, two Montreal Canadians, and assorted English and Americans. There is a resident archaeologist called Abdul - a big man with a shaved head. We shall set sail in the early hours of tomorrow morning for Aswan, which is a little over 120 miles upstream. It will take us a leisurely three days.
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  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 57
  • Country/sea: Egypt
  • Place: Luxor
  • Book page no: 125

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