I arrived here in September 2007 and had already decided a boat of my own was a priority. I had enough money not to have to think about work immediately, and my escape from the rat race meant I was sorely in need of some downtime.
I put the word out and received numerous offers of help from many people, only a few of which were people I felt I could trust. Sadly, all of them were of the opinion that the "foreigner" had loads of money and would pay over the odds, thereby making a nice commission for themselves. However, this foreigner already knew the correct price to pay, but was prepared to pay a reasonable amount for "project management". This was totally confusing for the Egyptians....... what an innovative idea! The foreigner pays us and we still get to make a huge commission.
A couple of boats were put forward for consideration, here in Luxor before I was whisked off to Aswan to look at boats there. Apparently feluccas are cheaper in Aswan. The trip itself was a lot of fun and worth it just for the couple of days away, but it also transpired that if any of the boats had been right for me, I would have been unable to use it in Luxor because the Aswan licence would need to be transferred to Luxor, and Luxor were issuing no new licences.
So back to Luxor, to find a boat that already had a current licence.
I found it. Her name was Paradise and she was owned by a lovely elderly man, who clearly thought the English lady was completely crazy! The felucca was old, and desperately in need of renovation. But for me....... she felt right!
Complete bliss for me.
Interestingly enough though, although she was mine, the contracts had not been finalised, the papers had not been registered in the court, the licence had not been transferred and no money had yet changed hands. Yet she was mine.
I was constantly being asked when I was killing the sheep so that I could share in my good fortune, and all I could hear was "mabruk ya Hazel". Congratulations from everywhere.
The following day however, saw Paradise as a shell. The mast, sail and pretty much all the fittings had gone. A small army of workers were milling around, hammering and banging as they prepared her for renovation. Chaos seemed to reign supreme.
|Removing the mast|
The noise from the hammering combined with the yelling and shouting that the Egyptians seem totally unable to control was earsplitting, but I was very happy to sit on another felucca watching and taking lots and lots of photos.
Tea was made for me on a regular basis and I was a happy little bunny.
|Removing the mast|
While all this work was going on, the contracts were being done. A few days later I found myself in the court with the money safely stashed in my handbag. We met the seller with his lawyer, and then began the rounds of the court clerks. An hour later, the contracts were signed, the money was handed over and Paradise was legally mine! We forwent the champagne celebration for tea on the shell of Paradise, amidst much more hammering, banging and yelling!
I was the legal owner of a felucca in Luxor! Although she did not resemble a working felucca in anyway, shape or form!