Back to Normal!?

Luxor Well, I’ve been over and back to Luxor a couple of times now and everything seems back to normal. If you count the dearth of tourists that is. But, as much as it back to normal on the surface there is still tension beneath. Army tanks are posted outside the banks and there are many more police officers around than usual, getting up to their old harassment tricks too!!

Last week, when we went over to do our monthly shop, there were tanks and police guarding the governor’s building; and then something happened and all of them raced off down the corniche, sirens screaming. We never found out what had happened. But they are still on high alert.

Now it is more the lack of money which is causing problems. No tourists mean no money. There are a tiny amount but nothing like before. But to be honest, as much as Luxor is ‘quiet’ right now I don’t think that means that it is completely safe. You might not get shot or blown up but you will be harassed more than usual and charged a lot more for everything. They will get their money where they can. As a foreigner I stick out like a sore thumb here and now that there are fewer foreigners I stick out even more. I cannot walk down the street without being stared at by men and women  alike. Its one of the things I hate the most about being here.

On a positive note my husband’s niece was finally married last week. She is only moving a couple of hundred yards away as she married her first cousin!!! Her wedding dowry cost the family over 60.000LE! Her father makes 500LE a month, working for the government as a driver. You do the math!!! I was shocked at how much stuff she bought for her kitchen.

Fatma on her wedding night.

Fatma on her wedding night.

Her husband built the flat in his family home, painted, decorated and furnished it. She supplied all of the kitchen stuff including cupboards, washing machine, cooker and fridge-freezer. She spent £1000 on stuff for the kitchen. And when I say stuff I mean stuff! Enough pots and pans to feed an army. An entire room full of gadgets which she will probably never use and enough tray sets for the entire souk! I couldn’t believe it. She just went crazy with the money. When the women get married here the men and their families go into incredible debt just so that the daughter can marry. Some of these women might be oppressed but they become incredibly selfish and greedy when it comes to material goods. They never stop to think how this money, which has just magically appeared, has come from. They never consider the rest of the family. Twice in this family I have seen this. Its an attitude of ‘I’m getting out of here and I don’t give a toss if it makes you suffer’. When they are married and living with their husbands they still expect everything. Its like the western culture of ‘all girls want to be a princess’. They watch all of this crap on Turkish TV and then demand that for themselves, without any thought for the people who have helped them. It takes years for a family to pay back the bank loans and then they pay back 300LE out of a 500LE wage! The banks fleece them!

She also made sure that she had a pre-nup agreement. If he divorces her she leaves with everything, including everything he bought, excluding the flat! As she says, its her right! She might be a princess but she’s not stupid either. She won’t leave herself with nothing. It makes me wonder though, which is more important? The money or the man?

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