Thursday 30 September 2010

The Cairo Nile Hilton Hotel

This was sent to my father in July 1982 by one of his most prolific and faithful correspondents who sailed around the world on a cargo ship.

In many ways the picture could be that of any hotel of the period apart from the model of the Sphinx in a prominent position which does suggest Egypt, if not Cairo itself.  It is probably a free postcard of the sort that used to be left in your hotel room.  I don't believe I've seen any of those correspondence packs recently.  Maybe it's gone out of fashion, succumbed to cost cutting exercises, or I no longer stay in the right sort of hotel. :)

The message on the reverse gives some idea of the journey of the sender's nameless vessel:
Just passing through Suez for the Gulf.  Are going down to do a couple of ports in the Red Sea first.  This may be her last trip under the Red Ensign, and just waiting for word from London, as it will take roughly four weeks before she's empty of cargo.
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  1. The Sphinx certainly adds something special to the photograph.

  2. Yes, otherwise it would be just another of those concrete blocks they used to love so much. :)

  3. Seeing the sphinx, I thought not of Cairo but of Las Vegas! Never been to either place though. A woman from a neighbouring office at work told me that she was going on holiday to Egypt a few days ago, she'll be there now "Aswan? Valley of the Kings? cataracts of the Nile, cruising on a felucca?" I asked. "No", she said. "I don't like doing all that stuff, I'll be working on my tan by the hotel pool"

    "GAK!", I thought.
    Wasted opportunity. Maybe she should have just bought a UV lamp and stayed at home in her bedroom.
    Whereas me? Oh yes. I'm with the chap on the cargo ship. I always wanted to work my passage on a filthy old schooner to Papeete.
    Or hitch a ride on a Dakota over the purple plain and into Burma.
    I drop by occasionally and lurk, because I do, truly, get the allure of random postcards. I love to find them and real faded words from bygone times, "Dear Reginald, just a few moments to write. How different all this is from home, the smells, the jabber of the natives. The flying-boat is wonderful, yesterday we saw a lot of islands. Tomorrow is a rest-day, then we fly on friday to Singapore, Toodle-Pip!, Lilian"

  4. I can't help but admit I thought Las Vegas too, when I saw the card but then I realised the eyes weren't lit up and sparkly. Couldn't possibly be Las Vegas in that case.

    You need to tell your colleague that it might be more cost effective to buy a sun bed.

    I keep meaning to put together all the cards from the cargo ship, and chart some sort of progress. Some day.

  5. I've only just seen this one as it came up under, 'you might also like'. The sphinx would be in the small garden in front of the museum, you can see another statue in the background, so it's taken standing in front of the museum. This is the side of the hotel that faces onto Tahrir Square, whenever I catch a glimpse on it on any news footage these days it looks under construction/renovation.

  6. This is indeed Cairo, Sheila - and Tahrir Square no less. The building in the background is the Nile Hilton (now Nile Ritz Charlton under reconstruction). The little sphinx, is sadly, not there anymore.


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