Deir esh-Shelwet

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Brian Yare
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Re: Deir esh-Shelwet and Mut

Post by Brian Yare »

I have been in touch with Betsy Bryan, who ran the Mut Temple project. Her reply:

"It is incredibly bizarre, is it not? Of course I have no idea exactly how this occurred. The only connection I can make is that both Deir el Shelwit and Mut were cleaned and given site management work by ARCE through USAID funds. But why that would matter I surely cannot say. I really have no idea, but I do know that there is concern all around town about it, and the Inspectorates are hearing of it daily. Hoping someone from Cairo will make a decision soon."


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Re: Deir esh-Shelwet

Post by Glyphdoctor »

USAID probably paid for the printing of the tickets. They probably had some proposal sitting somewhere with the suggested price of the tickets listed in dollars and some idiot working for them sent the ticket order to a print shop without changing it into pounds. And no employee wants to get in trouble for not following the rules and take payment in pounds. Of course, it's not like they don't use random tickets for sites as long as the price is the same so it really is very bizarre.
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Re: Deir esh-Shelwet

Post by LovelyLadyLux »

This is a minor point - but if I showed with $10 or 20USD would they give me back change or in Egyptian pounds?
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Re: Deir esh-Shelwet

Post by Glyphdoctor »

I was wondering if they would accept US coins actually....especially seeing as you can't exchange them at a bank here. How about showing up with 500 pennies?
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Re: Deir esh-Shelwet and Mut

Post by hatusu »

Brian Yare wrote:I have been in touch with Betsy Bryan, who ran the Mut Temple project. Her reply:

"It is incredibly bizarre, is it not? "
You think that's bizarre - just read the reply I got back from the Governor's office.
I wrote as follows "Your Excellency – I am a member of a small West Bank Egyptology walking group of about 15 people. Every Friday we go for walks looking round different temples and tombs on the West Bank. This Friday we wanted to visit the Temple of Isis
But unfortunately we were refused tickets. For some reason we were told we had to pay in US dollars.
We all live here and the only currency we have is Egyptian pounds and the ticket office would not accept our money. Can Luxors monuments afford to turn away people who are prepared to pay good money to see the sites? I rang xxxxxx who is an important member of the Tourism industry in Luxor and he spoke to the ticket seller for me when I explained the problem to him. However he wasnt able to help as he said that even he didn’t know of this ruling! It seems ridiculous when people are willing to pay for something and you turn them and their money away.
Regards
xxxxxxx
"

The Reply(!)

+
Greetings from Luxor Governorate
And Thanks for your Emile
And I want to tell you
Please note that if one foreign residents married to an Egyptian.. obeyaccess to any place or archaeological ,temple ,cemetery or other by Egyptians ticket price and Egyptians mony This is law .. provided that To give marriage certificate attestation or proof of that
Otherwise must follow the instructions of the management ofarchaeological sites
Sorry for the inconvenience
Thank you so much
Office of the governor

Can anybody beat that for bizarre?
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Re: Deir esh-Shelwet

Post by Sarah Jane »

Sounds to me like they have there emiles mixed up.
You have to laugh.
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Re: Deir esh-Shelwet

Post by newcastle »

Egypt is pretty desperate for "hard currencies".

The visas have been in $US for as long as I can recall (even though this must be an inconvenience for the majority of visitors).

Maybe the Mut/Deir es Shelwet fiasco is a sign of things to come :(
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Re: Deir esh-Shelwet and Mut

Post by Glyphdoctor »

hatusu wrote: We all live here and the only currency we have is Egyptian pounds and the ticket office would not accept our money.
There was a time when you actually had to exchange hard currency to continue to renew a tourist visa. Maybe that is why they are so desperate that they must sell tickets in dollars.
hatusu wrote: I rang xxxxxx who is an important member of the Tourism industry in Luxor and he spoke to the ticket seller for me when I explained the problem to him. However he wasnt able to help as he said that even he didn’t know of this ruling!
Wasta. This is where they got it right actually. Your trying to use wasta shouldn't work. Of course, bothering the governor(!?) about a ticket price issue for some out of the way temple is really pushing the envelope on the trivial. Don't you think he has more important things to do than have to deal with this? At least if you are going to address it to a high up, address it to an appropriate official, like the minister of antiquities.
hatusu wrote:Please note that if one foreign residents married to an Egyptian.. obeyaccess to any place or archaeological ,temple ,cemetery or other by Egyptians ticket price and Egyptians mony This is law .. provided that To give marriage certificate attestation or proof of that
Odd you don't even mention being married and they assume/know that you are. Of course, the law now says you don't get the Egyptian price anymore so they were wrong about that point.
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Re: Deir esh-Shelwet

Post by hatusu »

Dont you think the Governor should be informed if something wrong is going on in his governorate, especially something that affects tourism?
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Re: Deir esh-Shelwet

Post by Dusak »

hatusu wrote:Dont you think the Governor should be informed if something wrong is going on in his governorate, especially something that affects tourism?
If, as Who2 says, he has been shunted sideways, it was probably the cleaner in charge that replied to your e-mail about your presumed E-male. :lol:
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Re: Deir esh-Shelwet

Post by Glyphdoctor »

I agree that it is all very bizarre, but maybe issuing tickets only in foreign currency isn't actually something "wrong," but simply a change in policy by the Ministry of Antiquities, which isn't bringing in enough money to even pay salaries to its employees, who you see fit to harass with phone calls from "important" friends for simply doing their job properly in selling tickets according to what is printed on the tickets. Your email didn't talk about a problem for tourism, but rather a problem with you and your friends' Friday leisure activities.

In a governorate with about 50% of the population living under the poverty line, electricity shortages, fatal traffic accidents, a possible sectarian conflict brewing a few kilometers from your doorstep in the last few days, etc., you have to have a pretty inflated sense of self-importance to think that your not being able to visit a temple of your choice one day when you are there 365 days of the year is of such high importance that it needs to be brought to the attention of the governor. Think about what goes on around you and then compare yourself and ask really am I right to take his time for this?
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Re: Deir esh-Shelwet

Post by hatusu »

Glyphdoctor wrote:I agree that it is all very bizarre, but maybe issuing tickets only in foreign currency isn't actually something "wrong," but simply a change in policy by the Ministry of Antiquities, which isn't bringing in enough money to even pay salaries to its employees, who you see fit to harass with phone calls from "important" friends for simply doing their job properly in selling tickets according to what is printed on the tickets. Your email didn't talk about a problem for tourism, but rather a problem with you and your friends' Friday leisure activities.

In a governorate with about 50% of the population living under the poverty line, electricity shortages, fatal traffic accidents, a possible sectarian conflict brewing a few kilometers from your doorstep in the last few days, etc., you have to have a pretty inflated sense of self-importance to think that your not being able to visit a temple of your choice one day when you are there 365 days of the year is of such high importance that it needs to be brought to the attention of the governor. Think about what goes on around you and then compare yourself and ask really am I right to take his time for this?
In a meeting last year which the governor himself requested at our hotel to meet up with expats, he particularly asked us all to contact him if we ever came across any problems like this, or any improvements we could suggest to help improve tourism. We have done just that. Perhaps we should take more notice of your suggestions in future rather than requests from the governor?
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Re: Deir esh-Shelwet

Post by Brian Yare »

Glyphdoctor wrote:I agree that it is all very bizarre, but maybe issuing tickets only in foreign currency isn't actually something "wrong," but simply a change in policy by the Ministry of Antiquities, which isn't bringing in enough money to even pay salaries to its employees, who you see fit to harass with phone calls from "important" friends for simply doing their job properly in selling tickets according to what is printed on the tickets. Your email didn't talk about a problem for tourism, but rather a problem with you and your friends' Friday leisure activities.
13292

The selling of tickets for a particular currency is only part of the problem. Displaying prices and then not honouring them is a disgrace. Tourists are hard to come by at the moment, and it is not helpful if they are refused entry to sites that are open.

IMHO of course!
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Re: Deir esh-Shelwet

Post by Dusak »

... and what if a coach load of Chinese tourists had turned up unexpectedly, say due to their itinerary being changed at the last minute only to discover that they had to pay in $ and only had Le or Euro's? Not velly funny. Considering how many of them visit every year, an incident such as this could of put a large chink in the tourism armor.
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Re: Deir esh-Shelwet

Post by Glyphdoctor »

Let's get real here:
1-The average tourist spends less than 1 night in Luxor. That means they only have time or the inclination for the highlights-eg KV, Karnak, Luxor Temple, Hatshepsut and Memnon.
2-Of the rest, there are very few that spend enough time and have enough interest that they are going to go out of the way to see some obscure temple.
3-Anyone who stays longer can still keep busy with other sites and fill up their time. Another obscure temple could be substituted without complaint for 99.99% of them. Tour companies have to adjust itineraries at the last minute all the time. They can deal with it.
4-For those who will be disappointed by the lack of ability to go to this particular temple, they likely are here to visit other equally obscure sites and can still fill their time with them and won't be put off coming because of it. And since they are likely someone who is spending extended time because this is not a top priority, they can get their hands on $5 if need be.
5-Likely, this pricing system has been in place since the temple opened, rather than being a change. Even if not, it's not like it has been open long enough for it to **** *** repeat visitors who expected something different.
6-It is too new to likely be on group itineraries yet anyway.
7-Temples of Isis don't really don't have good brand associations these days and could be more of a tourist repellant than attraction.
8-This is a governor that is forced to invite someone who moved to Luxor to work as a maid to events or risk the wrath of that person making public threats on FB. Make what you will of it, but if that is how things work between the governor and expats, I can't take any of it seriously. Because bullies don't deserve more attention than the downtrodden and voiceless.

I'm an Egyptologist. And if they told me I had to get roubles or yen to pay for a ticket, I'd deal with it and definitely would not make a nuisance of myself with a governor responsible for a population of over a million about it.

There are only 24 hours in a day and part of that the governor isn't working. This does not rise to the level of him spending any time on it. Not to mention, it's not his prerogative to set ticket prices, it's the Ministry of Antiquities, normally in consultation with the Ministry of Tourism.
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Re: Deir esh-Shelwet

Post by hatusu »

As stated already, the governor ASKED for information from expats. What I really, really dont understand is why you can never have a reasonable discussion on here without being sneering, supercilious and sanctimonious regarding the expats living here.
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Re: Deir esh-Shelwet

Post by newcastle »

I'm only surprised that some enterprising Egyptian, having spotted the "problem", hasn't set up stall in the vicinity of these dollar-priced sites to offer dollars in exchange for EGP.

At a beneficial rate to himself of course :lol:





P.S. Yes Glyph...I jest...so no lectures on the illegality of unlicensed foreign exchange dealing please!
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Re: Deir esh-Shelwet

Post by Glyphdoctor »

LOL! That's why I asked about coins. Chances are there is someone hanging around with a pocketful of foreign change he needs exchanged for Egyptian pounds. I think it would actually be pretty easy to scrounge up $5 that way. If it was in euros or UK pounds I certainly could scrounge that amount out of my drawer here in unconvertible coins I have acquired during trips/stopovers in Europe.
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Re: Deir esh-Shelwet

Post by Glyphdoctor »

Hatusu-In response to your question, why as the owner/manager of a expat hotel, do you think that with the proliferation of expat owned hotels/flats/villas in recent years, has the average tourist nights gone down below 1, when it was much higher before?

You can't explain that away by the troubles of the last few years because these are tourists who HAVE decided to come to Luxor, they just don't want to stick around long. You also can't explain it by too many hotel rooms because with more choice, you would naturally expect people would be more likely to find something to their liking and stay longer too. But that is not the case either.

If these businesses were serving a need or purpose, we would see them actually attracting people to stay longer, rather than for shorter periods of time. It's of course not entirely the fault of the proprietors. There simply isn't enough to keep people busy in Luxor to justify staying. But that begs the question, why do all expats who move to Luxor invest in accommodation? Where are the people investing in businesses that offer activities and experiences for the people that stay in those accommodations? People don't go on holidays to sleep in your beds, you know.

There are a few bright spots though. Expats have definitely improved the culinary scene, e.g. Bombay's restaurants. But as for other opportunities, I can think of ONE expat business that was actually started in the last few years that actually showed any sense of creativity and ingenuity in providing tourists with great experiences, namely those people who were running the stargazing trips, which of course, were ended for reasons beyond their control.

Go to any other POPULAR tourist destination and compare it to Luxor. See what kind of opportunities and experiences are available. By and large, the expats have not added extra value to the mix in Luxor. No fresh thinking, no creative and attractive ideas. Just cutting up the pie into increasingly small pieces by investing large sums of capital into property that cannot be repurposed easily. Maybe that's all the governor has to work with, but if you can't point to any tangible improvements in the time and money spent by tourists here since the expats have infiltrated the tourism industry, then you can't claim to be offering something useful.
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Re: Deir esh-Shelwet

Post by Who2 »

Tip No 365: visiting The Isis Temple or Deir el Shelwit preferably on the way to Al Moudera for a pool-side lunch.
'Carry any sort of currency as long as it's in paper form, knock up the guardian he lives quite close show him the 'folding then have a shufty, pretty boring and then complete your day's sightseeing old rubbish and luxuriate yourselves in Al Moudera's hospitality poolside… :cool:
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