We are back at home.
Our Nile Cruise was absolutely amazing. After the first day when we almost cancelled the trip we calmed down. Walid, our guide played a major role unbeknownst to him.
He just took us by storm. His knowledge and enthusiasm blew up our hanging sails and sailed us through the endless, complex and hugely interesting history of ancient Egypt.
Without a guide it is totally pointless to visit any temple, site, museum or anything as one would not understand . Period.
To have Walid around was a pleasure. He knew when to show us any place of interest and he knew when to leave us alone. And so our trip along the Nile became an unforgettable experience for us.
A guide on a nile cruise is not an optional extra. Everybody who books a trip automatically gets a guide. No other way.
We visited the Temple of Karnak, the largest Temple every built by man.
After that it was anchor aweigh and up the majestic river nile we sail.
Our boat was special. It was one of the best on the nile out of approximately 500 boats.
Sonesta Moon Goddess was a clean boat, our cabin was light and comfortable, we had a little balcony which turned out the most important feature for us during the entire trip.
We spent hours on this balcony every day talking and watching Egyptian life go by.
The people were particularly nice and friendly.
Only in the sightseeing hotspots there were the usual traders who often climbed into one's face.
On the ship the food was excellent and the service outstanding.
It is really important that one chooses the right boat, the right company and possibly the right guide when booking a nile cruise.
Walid can organise all this. His number is : +20 100 970 1252 and he is on WhatsApp as well.
After our 7 day trip we were super sad to leave the boat and say good bye to Walid.
We could have easy done another 7 days. Really.
But Beulah and i can do these things. Not everybody can.
We are happy to sit on an island in the Maldives for a month and sad when we have to go so soon. Or we can spend 3 weeks in Kruger park where many people get bored after 3 days.
So after the cruise we spent another 2 days in the Meridien Hotel in Cairo.
The flight to Dubai left at 01h20. And we hated the thought of loosing this night and fly straight on to Durban three hours later. Too old to travel like this !!
We tried to change our tickets but we told that the flights are all full and a change would be expensive.
When we arrived in Dubai we took a chance and went to the counter. The lady said, no problem to fly a day later. Cost 60 Dollars per person.
That was the quickest a fist full of dollars hit that counter. Amazing !!!
we then went straight to the Heineken Bar and got happy.
After a while we checked in at our airport hotel where we habe been at least 30 times or more .
Then we went to the Business Class Lounge where we could feast on good food and any drinks your heart desires.
Lucky we are Silver Members of Emirates and get this privilege.
I think i ate all the smoked salmon they had in Dubai....and much more.
After a hearty breakfast we went for a heart sleep. Then we strolled around the Duty Free area where i stocked up on Aberlour Single Malt.
Then back to Business Class Lounge for dinner.
Good night's sleep gets us ready for a 8 hour flight to Durban but not before we did some more damage to Business Class Lounge !!!
Our flight to Durban was pleasant. We had a row of four seats just to ourselves. Yeay
In Durban we had a fat meal at the Spur and went to Umhlanga where we spent the night at the Pearls Hotel.
Eleventh floor !!! Hell man, i got dizzy just looking out of the window. It is high...
And i have such a great fear of height. My feet ache as soon as i am too high.
The next morning we sit in bed with a cup of coffee and i feel the bed moving back and forth.
I look at Beulah, but she is completely still. Outside the wind is howling and before long i put two and two together.
The damn building is swaying in the wind !!!
I am shitting myself and tell Beulah to get out of here before it collapses...
I am just so scared of these damn heights...
After a lovely breakfast somewhere on the ground we finally drive home.
I think the hotel is still standing. haven't heard anything in the news....
At home our five dogs went ape.
All went well, nothing is broken everybody is alive.
We still have plenty of time free now. Next week we dive for two days if the weather allows, then only again mid September and again end of September.
It is a quiet and bad time of the year for diving in South Africa. So we call it our winter break. We look forward to this time the entire year. We all need it to stay sane.
In October we will fly back to Egypt to finally go on our live aboard diving trip which we had to postpone twice before already. After the diving we go on to Germany and see how mother copes. Planning to spend just over two weeks with her.
And in November we get serious again.
Of course our staff will be there for anybody who wants to dive Protea Banks.
Walid, one of Egypt's finest man
The plane from Munich to Cairo must have been a test-plane. I am sure, they wanted to test if this rust bucket can still fly.
You can't get a smaller aircraft. It seems like a waste pipe with wings...
But we made it. As i get to the luggage area i hear my name called by Beulah's voice.
My heart jumped immediately.
What a lovely sound !!!
In the last 9 weeks i have seen Beulah for just a few hours. I really miss her.
She was waiting for me on the tunnel which connects the airport to the Meridien Hotel here in Cairo.
I couldn't wait to be with her. If i didn't have a bottle of the great Aberlour single malt in my luggage i probably would have just left everything and ran up to Beulah....
The Meridian Hotel is a fantastic address. Everything is right there. We spend two days in the hotel before we take another plane to Luxor from where we begin our Nile cruise.
Again the flight was hectic. Shaking like a magic wand. At this moment we swear never to risk our lives again unless it is for a flight to Europe or the Maldives !!!
Beulah is really burnt out.
We think it started when i got sick with my gall bladder in November last year. Then came the show in Duesseldorf, a extremely busy time at work, the most stressful six weeks on the sardine run, my father's death and being apart all the time took its toll.
Beulah needs rest.
Instead we find ourselves on a nile cruise with a guide on our back. Damn.
The program is full of events and sightseeing.
We were a moment away from cancelling the entire trip and going back to the Meridien Hotel to just chill for 10 days.
And then we met our guide Walid.
He is one of Egypts finest treasures, true !!!!
Walid is a professional guide who knows his business.
We told him that we are too tired to worry about all the sightseeing and history and that we please just want to see the most important places on our tour.
He agreed to do one 2 hour trip a day and leave us to ourselves for the rest.
So we started at the Valley Of The Kings. And within a few minutes we were hooked on Walid.
His knowledge and enthusiasm grabbed us. We forgot all our burn outs and problems and just wanted to listen and learn from Walid.
He in turn loved it when we responded with the knowledge he gave us. It clearly motivated him to see that his efforts are not wasted and we are enjoying his tuitions.
Tomorrow we will visit Karnak temple, the largest temple ever built by man.
Then is is anchor aweigh and up the nile we sail.
My time at home with mother can't be described in one word.
Mostly it was very sad of course, but we also had some fun and laughs.
Sometimes i wanted to disappear off the face of the earth and other times i was just simply speechless...
My beloved dad was not expected to die as yet. He was way too fit and active.
In February we went cross country skiing together which he did almost every single day as long as there was snow around. Months !!!
So of course, nobody was prepared for this unspeakable tragedy.
But we Germans and especially us Swabian Highlanders are masters at ignoring the reality if we don't want to face it. What we don't want to face we push far away and concentrate only at tasks immediately ahead of us.
This helps us to get over extreme pain and win some time to heal the wounds.
And so it happened that mother had a never ending store of work for me and herself.
Besides the necessary jobs concerning my dad's death - like running to different authorities, getting certificates, changing bank accounts and a million other jobs , there were endless maintenance jobs around the house. I never knew that i could actually do a hell of a lot of handyman work. And i did damn well too. Very proud of myself.
The difference was that here at my mother's place ( where i grew up of course ) i had patience, no interference, no other pressing matters to worry about.
My life in South Africa was so far away, almost surreal.
I fixed the garden walls, fixed the break which was falling apart, mowed the lawns, burnt piles of wood, chased potato beetles, oiled squeaky doors, helped with the washing, the hoovering of the huge house, cooking , shopping the list can blow the entire internet...
One day we had to get the death certificate. It was a hot day and mother tends to forget her hearing aid.
We get to the offices, all doors and windows were open and we waited our turn in front of the relevant office.
The auntie in charge let us wait a bit and i could see, mother no like !!!
When it was our turn we got the job done and the ladies promised to habe the certs sent to our street address within 2 days. That is amazing !!!
When we walked out, mother said at the top of her voice : this woman was nicer than she looked....
All other offices heard every word...eish...i just ducked out of the building...
We often went to father's grave. Due to the extreme heat it was necessary to water the flowers and plants. When we were finished at father's grave we did the same at my grandparent's grave.
All the memories came flooding back to me. I was a little naughty and happy boy in a little innocent town...
So, so sad.
Nothing derailed me more than a visit to the grave yard. The whole day was in its arse. !!!
Mother was either spoilt by my dad or he gave up and did everything himself.
She could, for example, not even switch on the tv.
She did not know how to use the cordless phone
She definitely did not know how to Skype with me or how to look at photos on WhatsApp or E-Mail. the latter two we just buried.
When it came to driving she suddenly had the eagle's eye.
She saw cars and threats and dangers where nothing was and interfered in my driving like hell.
On one day she screamed at me that i am about to collide with a truck which was far away. She touched my steering wheel and shocked the hell out of me.
Maybe she sees something i don't ? I got so confused that i went to the far left side of the road. This is where i know i am safe in South Africa. Not so in Germany. Of course i am now on the wrong side of the road which makes mother even more mad.
I then stopped the car and put the rules down. Damnit !!!
She forgets everything and she looses everything. And even if i know where the item is she is looking for, i played hot and cold with her. I wanted her to concentrate and find a system which will work in the future.
Invoices in one basked, glasses and hearing aid in another basket, car keys in the shopping basked and post to send in yet another place.
She needs to learn to do one thing at the time , not five and forgets four.
Sometimes i sent her downstairs to finish one chore rather than doing everything for her.
I really wanted to sign her up with a panic button first response company. Our house has three stories and thus lots of stairs. My biggest fear is that she falls down and nobody knows.
But mother did't like the bracelet with the panic button on. It looks shit....
Okay, let her get settled and sort this thing out a little later.
And so my three weeks in Germany, the longest time i ever spent at home since i left in 1989 flew by and came to an end.
I was sad to go. But i knew , mother needs time alone to get on with life.
And i was excited to go to Egypt for a well deserved holiday and mores to see Beulah.
Finally after so many weeks apart i would see my Beulah again.
I am in Germany on a very sad mission.
My dad, my hero and my anchor in my stormy life has died.
He came home from a party and developed terrible stomach pains. Sometimes in the early hours my mother had to call an ambulance which took him to the hospital.
After days of ups and downs it became clear that i had to rush home.
Beulah walked into the house after six weeks of Sardine Run in Coffee Bay and i walked out of the house the next day.
We managed to have dinner together.
I came to Munich on 24.7. and drove straight to the hospital in Albstadt.
My dad was in a bad way.
From having problems... to stabilising... to going backwards... to standing a really good chance of recovery....to heart attack . This messed up everything.
The doctors said, he needs a miracle.
When i saw him he was on morphine but he was in a happy place. He opened his eyes every few minutes only to fall back into the drug"s blissful effect.
I am sure he knew of my presence although he could not communicate.
We stroked him and spoke to him and told him how much we loved him....
The next day we were called by the hospital to come fast.
We got there at 8am and barely 20 minutes later his soul escaped straight into the mountains of Austria, Switzerland and Italy...
He loved the mountains all his life.
Although my father was 88 years old, he was fit and happy all the time.
He loved nature, he loved working , he loved life.
Last February we went cross country skiing together which he did every single day during last winter.
My dad was a very special man.
He received the Cross of Honour of the Republic of Germany for being heavily involved in his community.
He had several honorary memberships in diverse clubs and organisations.
My dad was a diplomatic person who always knew the right thing, who never lost his composure and who never raised his voice.
For 35 years i have to hear from Beulah that she wishes i was just a little bit like him...
Sorry Beulah, there is only one Balthasar Mauz
Our life will never be the same again....that's for sure.
But the show must go on