Category Archives: Travellers’ tales

Early travellers and other occasionally odd characters.

The Oxford Pension

For a spell back at the end of the 80s/early 90s whenever I was walking around Downtown Cairo I used to have guys shout at me, “Hey! Kaboria!” The reference was to a hit film that was playing at the … Continue reading

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Marka Twain

Many of the items used to illustrate Grand Hotels of Egypt (and the forthcoming On the Nile) I’ve bought at auction. I’m on the mailing list of several auction sites, which notify me when they have something that may be … Continue reading

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Victor’s watch

Today I received another email from Peter Kuonen – who sent me the wonderful images of his grand-uncle Victor, who was concierge at the Winter Palace in its heyday (see here). Here’s the text of Peter’s email: Much to my … Continue reading

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Strange tales from Shepheard’s part 2

From the Dundee Courier of Tuesday 25 August 1936: A dissected corpse has been discovered inside a truck which had been left on the pavement outside Shepheard’s Hotel, Cairo. The trunk was left by a well-dressed young Egyptian in European … Continue reading

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Strange tales from Shepheard’s part 1

From the Yorkshire Evening Post of Saturday 4 June 1892: There are strange chambermaids at Shepheard’s Hotel in Cairo. A lady declares that the one who waited on her room and attended to all the duties of the calling, even … Continue reading

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The Fishing Fleet

Before writing Grand Hotels of Egypt, I’d never come across the term ‘fishing fleet’ to mean anything other than the obvious. But as I discovered, it was also a term widely used in the 19th century to describe the boatloads … Continue reading

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It’s just a flesh wound

Just posted on the always excellent boingboing.net: The best opening paragraph on Wikipedia Lieutenant-General Sir Adrian Paul Ghislain Carton de Wiart VC, KBE, CB, CMG, DSO (5 May 1880–5 June 1963), was a British Army officer of Belgian and Irish … Continue reading

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Ann Lees, former guest at Shepheard’s

My cousin Anthony, who lives on Alderney, called me recently to say that he’d lent his copy of Grand Hotels of Egypt to a friend of his on the island and that this person wanted to talk to me. I … Continue reading

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Hollywood royalty in Egypt

My last post mentioned in passing the fact that Hollywood golden couple Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford had added their signatures to the Winter Palace Golden Book in November 1929. At the time they were just about two of the … Continue reading

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Kipling’s Egypt

Eighty-four years ago today, The Egyptian Gazette of 14 February 1929 carried a notice of the arrival of well known author Rudyard Kipling (that’s him, above) and Mrs Kipling at Port Said. They’d landed the previous day and proceeded direct … Continue reading

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