A Classic Gent

The Importance Of Financial Education (For Young And Old Alike)

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The pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, the optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty”. Winston Churchill.

I would say at the outset of this post, that it may be of particular relevance to those of you raising children or those with nieces, nephews, grandchildren and such. It is a real life tip of sorts (or rather an insight into a way of thinking about finance). In business as with life, mindset is crucial and that is what today's article is about. When I first came across this concept it really resonated with me despite its apparent simplicity. Firstly, I just want to preface by saying that finance to many people is a mystery and in most cases through no real fault of their own; it can seem to be a subject which only a few 'specially trained' people can fully understand and capitalise from. 

Financial Education - Are We Failing The Youth Of Today?

'Money makes the world go round', or so the saying goes, yet finance and the subject of money is not taught in most schools until the senior years, if at all. Why is this? Well, the theories are aplenty, but the result is that most people are not as financially literate as they could or should be. I think it is important to try and introduce concepts of commerce, business and finance to children and am thankful I made efforts to improve my own financial literacy having remained fairly ignorant of the topic through childhood. Money was hard to come by, it was distant, it was fleeting, and the idea of financial independence was all but a lofty dream.

On the issue of financial education, please consider this statistic for a moment, bearing in mind the fact that the following people on average earn millions of dollars during their careers. According to a Sports Illustrated article (2009), 78% of NFL players either go bankrupt, or are experiencing serious financial issues within two years of retirement. The article also estimated 60% of NBA players, who likewise earn millions of dollars file for bankruptcy within 5 years of their retirement from the sports. Why? How? Well in large part it is because (generally speaking) we are not educated about financial matters resulting in what could be termed financial illiteracy.

Images Sourced From Pixabay

In my humble opinion such pitfalls can be avoided with knowledge of a few simple principles,and by learning about aspect of personal finance; such as tax laws, knowing the difference between what Kiyosaki calls 'good debt' and 'bad debt', for instance; understanding the importance of cash-flow and distinguishing between your real assets and liabilities. (All to be covered in more detail in further articles). By teaching yourself some basic finance you can avoid a lot of strife and you will not be as dependent upon the afore-mentioned 'specially trained people' as much. This means you will have more personal control over your financial situation in the long term at least and you will be wiser to the false promises and 'spiel' for which the financial profession is famous or rather, infamous.

Finance And Parenting

So back to the point, and rather than technical knowledge of financial matters, this is more related to the concept of thinking about finance in a positive and optimistic way. I was reading a book called Rich Dad Poor Dad by a chap called Robert Kiyosaki during my late teens and in it he discusses the importance of a very simple trick of semantics and positive mental conditioning. In the book he discusses a common 'Phenomenon' within the context of finance and parenting, which I am sure many of you will relate to as much as I did. The hypothetical scenario he mentions is that of a child out with his Mother or Father trailing round the shops, when inevitably the family come to the toy section, and then just as surely the question comes; 'Please can I have X'.

To this the reply comes from Mum and Dad, that unfortunately on this occasion they cannot indulge the little mite. 'Why on Earth not?'; I hear you ask. The parents reply is along the lines of, 'You cannot have X because we can not afford it'. And there, with the finality of that seemingly innocuous even mundane comment is the crux of the issue at hand. 

Images Sourced From Pixabay

The statement 'We can not afford X', is a declaration of a position which in this context and in the eyes of the child is as fatal as the auctioneer's gavel. It cannot be argued with, and any further potentially creative thought processes related to the matter are immediately shut down, possibly followed by a period of sulking. Here's what you should be telling kids instead (in order to help them have a more positive outlook and a generally more competent level of understanding financial matters later in life).

Use Positive Reinforcement As A Motivator

Instead of the curt, thought ending, unarguable statement. Say something along the lines of 'No, we cannot afford X at the moment, but how could we afford X?'; (Lemonade stand, selling flowers, doing chores around the house etc). You see, this very subtle difference in delivery of the same message is in complete contrast to the former. Here we have a statement of fact followed by a question. So, instead of instantly seeing nothing but doom and gloom and endless miles of supermarket aisles, the child's mind will instead be abuzz with thought, and they will think instantly of ten ways to come up with X amount of money; some slightly more realistic than others of course, but all valuable ideas nonetheless, you will be helping them develop their critical faculties. It helps teach them to embrace a perceived negative financial position with a positive mindset in order to think of a solution to the problem and thus to further improve their own financial disposition later in life!

Images Sourced From Pixabay

Now this context is specific to financial matters and learning, but again, it boils down to conditioning your mind to seeing the multitude of possibilities in life rather than dwelling solely on the finite nature of things. In a nutshell, it stimulates and encourages further thought, which in turn leads to greater understanding and in time, the ability to think one's way out of potentially negative situations, financial or otherwise. This of course, is a crucial component to success in business, careers, family life, relationships, health and fitness or anything. Although I mention the importance of teaching children to think in a critical way and to actively work on creating their own solutions to problems, you will help their development in other areas too. Of course the earlier a child is exposed to this kind of positive mental conditioning the better, but it is still also relevant to you, it is never too late to improve your level of financial education and understanding. 

A Change In Mindset Can Change Your Life

The earlier you begin to start thinking in this kind of way the better your problem solving abilities will become. It was shortly after reading Kiyosaki's book that I created my first business which you can read a little more about here. I was in need of some money and was at a loose end for a few months, so I asked myself. What can I do? I found out! I didn't just have to settle for getting a job stacking shelves (which I had done as a 16 year old and that I disliked immensely). 'Where there's a will, there's a way!' Thanks for reading.

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How Data Management Can Improve Your Business*

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*This is a Collaborative Post*

How Data Management Can Improve Your Business

 Data Management, What Is It?

For those who may be unfamiliar with the term, 'Data management comprises all of the disciplines related to managing data as a valuable resource', and without getting too technical about it, I'd say this definition is a good one to start with. That is not to say that by merely compiling a lot of data it will automatically be of value to your business. However, data management platforms can add tremendous value to any business enterprise regardless of scale due to the way in which data is compiled and presented. In having a good grasp of the data sets of your own business you can then interpret that data and 'steer the ship in the right direction'. Another great benefit of using a data management platform is that you might be be alerted to any potential or existing problems within your business operation which otherwise might have gone unnoticed.

There are different kinds of data and the collection of particular data will often be dictated by the needs or perceived areas of a business which could be improved. A business might wish to collate data on the traffic of customers to their stores and online sites for example. They might then collect statistical data on the respective age groups of their customers and other further details. Such information can then be interpreted and decisions can then be made on how to better appeal to the desired target audience of the business. If you are interested or if you would like to know about the many ways in which data management could be an asset to your business you should check out gartner master data management.

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How Do I Incorporate Data Management Into My Business?

The implementation of the right kind of data management software platform can help you to increase the overall effectiveness of your operation. You can easily monitor and identify certain issues and by recognizing signals early on you can even avoid certain pitfalls which may have otherwise befallen you.  We live in a time where technology allows us to compile data on even the minutiae and as the old saying goes, 'knowledge is power'. You might be really keen to make use of such a platform but perhaps you are a little fearful of the technical side of things. Many smaller business owners are reluctant when it comes to such technological matters. I know I have struggled in the past trying to get to grips with using unfamiliar software programs. Fortunately there are companies out there who specialize in catering to your needs with regards to master data management, with programs which are simple to use and implement.

Some features to look out for which will ease the whole process of introducing data management capabilities to your business are;

  • Configuration without the need for coding.
  • Affordable and accessible.
  • One platform allowing compilation of data on every user, record, domain and source.
  • Deployed on premises, cloud or a hybrid option.
  • Training on demand to help you improve your data management skills and knowledge under expert guidance.

These kinds of features are rarely offered in the same package and for those who, like me, aren't as computer literate nor technologically savvy as we'd like to be, a software package with such features can be a great tool and addition to your business' arsenal.

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4 Key Tips For Any Budding Blogger*

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*This is a Collaborative Post*

4 Key Tips For New Bloggers

Blogging is on the up and up and more companies than ever before are utilizing blogs as an additional tool in their respective PR machines. It is increasingly being recognised as an effective and useful means of communicating not only the message of a particular business or brand, but in simply communicating with their customers, followers and fans from a Public Relations perspective. Here are a few things any budding blogger should consider when it comes to creating awareness of your blog and maintaining and building on your levels of interaction with the public.

Engage With Your Audience

This is one of the most crucial aspects of creating and improving general awareness of your blog/brand or business and generating good vibes and positivity with your audience. It is a concept that anyone interested in growing their online presence/their blog should definitely pay due attention to. A simple and fun way to do this is to hold competitions. People love to be in with a chance to win something for free! It can be a really effective way of improving your own PR skills but in also creating positivity and building connections with your audience. There are many ways of improving Public Relations, for a really interesting and successful approach Nancy Behrman is a great example of how having a clear vision combined with good PR can turn even the smallest ventures into multi-million dollar businesses.

Keep Your Posts As Natural as Possible

Yes I know this can be quite difficult a difficult rule to adhere to, especially when you are being paid to produce content for a fee paying client. It can be such a time consuming and stressful process trying to keep a post within certain parameters and delivering a particular message while ensuring it fits into the themes of your blog. But in an age where just about everything is an advert, it pays to put in the time and effort to try and disguise the fact as much as you can.

Image Sourced From Pexels

Write Guest Posts

If you are striving to increase the viewing figures of your content and writing then you should definitely consider writing more often and for other blogs aside from your own, approach fellow bloggers, introduce yourself and explain the kind of content you like to produce and before long you will have collaborative partnerships with many bloggers. This entrepreneurial approach is really crucial in growing your brand and in terms of building up potential working relationships with other bloggers and people within your industry.

Ask What Kind of Posts Your Followers Want You To Create

Ask your fans and followers, what kind of content they would like you to write or produce content for. You'll be amazed how many people will be very forthcoming in giving you ideas and inspiration, this can be a really simple fix to that age old literary problem, the dreaded 'Writers Block'. This also feeds back in to the first point i.e. engagement, it's a great way of improving  your brand's Public Relations. If you are coming from a place of unfamiliarity or even if you are a seasoned veteran when it comes to Blogging and PR, I'd thoroughly recommend checking out Nancy Behrman. Her unique approach and conceptualization of Public Relations has made her and numerous others very successful since she first started her vision 30 years ago.

Thanks for reading!

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Taking Inspiration From The Business Success Of Others

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Creativity Vs Copycatting In Business.

One of the areas of business which I have always been very interested in is the property market. Like anyone else I can appreciate a fine looking building and have always loved looking at beautiful houses and properties for as long as I can remember. I can recall the phrase, 'there's always money in bricks and mortar', being fairly frequently said and I guess it has stuck to some degree. I've always had a kind of abstract notion in my mind that I would like to one day invest in and build up a property portfolio. I would relish the opportunity to improve buildings structurally, and to restore original features to their former glory. There is an element of this process which appeals to my creative and slightly artistic side.

People tend to think entrepreneurs have to be creative and innovative which can be daunting to anyone not so; but the fact is that there are many successful people who are (by their own admittance) not particularly creative; I think it was Theo Paphitis of La Senza and Dragon's Den fame, who said of himself that he had, 'never had an original idea in his life', which although I am sure is a comment laced with self-deprecating hyperbole, probably rings true for many of us. This comment resonates with me a lot and I believe it contains an important notion. This being the simple reality of life whereby not everyone can be a creative genius. There isn't any barrier to success for those who may be less creatively inclined either. I can recognize my own creative limitations, I mean sure I enjoy being original but I can't claim to be so in all matters. Darwin once said that, 'if one wishes to make an apple pie from scratch one must first create the universe', I think this iterates the point of view of a person like Theo Paphitis, meaning that to some extent at least, even the most creative ideas are ones which are copied from the ideas of others.

"If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants." Isaac Newton.

A good example of the re-using of another person's idea or the copying of a process in a business context would be Henry Ford's innovative introduction of the 'Production Line' assembly process for the manufacture of his famous Model T Ford automobiles. He was a pioneer in his field in doing so, and he became fabulously wealthy. But the creation of wealth didn't end with him and his business. Think of how many people across the world, and how many businesses since then have copied his concept for their own gains how much money has been made by all of the 'copy cats'. If you can copy or improve on someone else's ideas and you can implement that process in your own enterprise you can also achieve great success. And I think more people ought to be cogniscant of the fact.

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I am interested in all success stories and intrigued by people who manage to combine a creative flair with an aptitude for business in order to become successful. I was reading an interesting article the other day, the main feature of which was an Adrian Rubin interview. People like him seem to be able to turn their creativity to an apparently infinite number of projects across various industries. In the interview you can see how he allowed himself to indulge and to nurture the creative side of himself in order to build a livelihood which incorporated this aspect of his personality. Most people will never realize this ambition, for most it remains a dream, the separation between business/livelihood and passion/creativity is omnipresent. Therefore I think it is important for people who are creative and who might be entrepreneurial to take heart and inspiration from the stories of such people like Adrian Rubin LLC. While for those who might feel more curtailed in their creative talents should take heart from figures such as Mr Paphitis.

Business is open to any age, gender, race, religion, background and financial disposition; that is truer now than it ever has been, and never has it been easier for a person to set up in business for themselves. While creativity can be a great help, there are many factors which contribute to the overall success of a business so take heart from the tales of others. In truth, this message isn't only relevant to the business sphere, but to life in general.

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The Sunshine Blogger Award

Recently I was nominated by Em from Em's World for The Sunshine Blogger Award. Thanks Em for the nomination. Please ensure you read her post here.

Rules For The Sunshine Blogger Award

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog;
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you;
  • Nominate 11 bloggers to receive this award and ask them 11 new questions; and
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog site.

Em's Questions For Me . . .

1. What’s your favourite social media platform for promoting your blog?

Twitter is my favourite but I am going to launch my Instagram page soon which I am looking forward to using. 

2. Do you prefer TV or films?
Hmm, good question. Although I love a good film, I watch documentaries and 'made for TV' productions and shows more often (usually via online mediums). It's fairly rare to have 2 hours free to sit and watch a movie these days. One TV series I like is The Last Kingdom on the BBC. Especially so, as I had already read five of the books of the original literary version, when I discovered the BBC had bought the rights to convert it for the big screen. With 2 seasons down I'm waiting with baited breath for the third. 

3. What was your proudest accomplishment of 2017? It can be blog based or not.
I wouldn't say I'm proud, but I'm glad that I took the opportunity to write my first pieces for public consumption as a guest blogger, and then working on my first paid writing assignments for clients. I'd always enjoyed writing but hadn't ever thought of it as anything more than a hobby, a way to de-stress and keep organised. Earning some extra income from doing something I enjoy was a new and welcome experience. 

4. What’s your favourite song right now?
At the moment when training I am listening to Sail by Awolnation a lot.

5. If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I'd love to go to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. I'd love to experience walking along the Copacabana beach, in the beautiful sunshine, taking in the sites and seeing everyone enjoying themselves. I'd also like to see the world famous Carnival too, as well as the beautiful vistas of, and from the top of, Sugarloaf Mountain. I've always been enamoured of the Art Deco statue of Jesus called Christ the Redeemer, since I first saw it on TV when I was young. It is an iconic landmark and definitely one of the sights I'd like to see at some point in life.

  1. Do you have any pets? If so, what?
Nope. Although until a few days ago I had been feeding a lost looking stray cat who showed up one night meowing and seeking attention. With it being so cold I fed it, but then it kept showing up each day. We put appeals out on social media to see if anyone had lost one, and there was no claimant. He was in really good health, well fed and with a good sheen to his coat, so it was a bit odd. Fortunately though he has now been taken in and given a home by a friend of mine and her son; their pet cat had sadly died only a week or so prior to this one showing up, so it's like it was meant to be. The little lad fell in love with it and likewise the cat with him (of course the treats may have had a little something to do with it) :) He is now called 'Marmalade' on account of his 'strawberry blonde' fur.
  1. What’s your favourite quote?
I'm struggling to pick just one as a favourite, but one of my all time favourite quotes has to be a line from a speech made by Sir Winston Churchill whilst he was serving as Prime Minister and Britain's wartime leader during World War II. He was speaking about the recent British and allied victory in the aerial Battle of Britain. It was a battle that, had the Germans won, the British Isles would have been wide-open to a full scale invasion and inevitable occupation by Nazi Germany (as had already happened across Europe). This British victory was pivotal to the allied war effort and ultimately it changed the course of history. The line is simple yet so poignant, and refers to the brave RAF Pilots and Aircrews whom had fought and served so bravely (in many cases to the death during this battle), even when the odds were so heavily stacked against them. It went as follows;

'Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few'.

  1. What do you do to motivate yourself?
I visualize what it is I am striving for and this helps me to maintain the self-discipline to do the things I don't enjoy but which will ultimately help me to achieve whichever goal I have set myself. I'd say visualization and having clear set goals are crucial factors which help me to maintain focus and stay motivated.
  1. What’s the best thing that’s ever happened to you?
One of the best things that has happened to me was being accepted to my first choice of university as it was very competitive, and looking back, it paved the way to an amazing few years in a beautiful place where I had some unique and unforgettable experiences. 
  1. Do you have a bucket list? If so, have you ticked anything off yet?
I haven't really thought of a bucket list for a while, but 3 things I'd like to do are; a skydive, even though I'd be just as nervous and scared as most people, it looks amazing and all of my friends who have done it have said the buzz and the overall experience was incredible. I'd love to set up an educational scholarship scheme one day in order to help gifted and talented children from disadvantaged backgrounds gain access to top level education and opportunities. And thirdly a huge one for me is I would love to go and follow the British and Irish Lions rugby team on tour in New Zealand and for us to win the series. We drew with them last summer 1-1 in the three test series, the next B&I Lions tour to New Zealand is in the year 2029.

  1. What do you find most challenging about blogging?
The most challenging part of blogging for me at this stage are the organisational and time-management elements; keeping up with correspondence, emails, social media platforms and constantly thinking about and creating new content, while pitching to potential clients and all the rest. It can be quite hectic and stressful at times.

My Questions . . .

1. What do you consider to be your biggest strength? 

2. If you could pick up and master any skill in just one day, what skill would it be? (Playing an instrument, speaking a language? Etc)

3. What is the best place you have visited as a tourist and why?

4. What are your three favourite films?

5. List 3 fun things you would like to do before you die.

6. If you could go back in time to any point in history, and stay there for 24 hours, just observing, where would you go and why?

7. What is the most you have ever won or lost in one session of gambling or on a bet? 

8. What is your most prized material possession? 

9. What are your main goals (not blog related) for 2018?

10. Who is the most famous person you have met face to face? Briefly describe the encounter.

11. What is your favourite alcoholic beverage?

I Nominate



I'm really looking forward to reading your posts, please remember to tag me on Twitter (@aclassicgentuk) so I can read your posts when you've finished and posted them. If you like this post please share and subscribe. Thanks for reading. 

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A Snippet Of My First Encounter With Mystical Magical Egypt

Satiating My Egyptian Wanderlust

Recently I stumbled across a few old grainy photographs of my first visit to the continent of Africa, more specifically, Egypt. For most people the mere mention of the name 'Egypt' leads to the conjuring up of all kinds of fantastical imaginings. One of the very first things one might think of is the Pyramids and/or the Sphinx, so I'm afraid I'd rather disappoint you right away and tell you that I saw neither. I didn't see the Sphinx nor a single Pyramid, the most famous one's of course being located on the Giza Plateau at the modern day capital city of Cairo. Alas, I did not go there on this occasion, I instead visited the city of Luxor which is the site of the ancient city of Thebes. Depressingly when I returned from this trip and people would ask where had I been, when I replied “Luxor”, a good percentage at first thought I was referring to the hotel in Las Vegas, no, honestly! Thebes/Luxor is located approximately 660km south of Cairo on the East Bank of the River Nile. It is a city quite unlike any other and it is renowned around the world as, 'the world's largest open air museum'.

I thought I'd write a post about the trip and some of the experiences I had, but even as I write this, there is literally an avalanche of recollections and memories tumbling back into my conscious mind, that I think I might have to write a few posts on this subject for fear of selling it short. Although I was always interested in history, the ancient Egyptian civilisation always just seemed so long ago that I wasn't really as interested in Egyptology as much as I was about the medieval period and later. Like most people I was familiar with and fascinated by the tale of the discovery of the tomb of 'The Boy King', Pharaoh Tutankhamun, by Howard Carter et al in 1922; the iconic solid gold and bejeweled funerary mask and the hoards of gold. I remember being slightly spooked as a child learning about the curse warning any future tomb raiders to keep their filthy mitts out, or else they would end up 'brown bread' as a direct consequence. And then reading about the fact that so many of those involved with the discovery then died soon after. I guess it would be fair to say I was about as familiar with Egypt as everyone else. However, as I entered my late teens I started to become more interested in the earlier civilizations of humanity that we know about, thus I began to develop a real craving to go and visit the mystical land. So here are a few random recollections which have stuck with me since. I hope you enjoy.

Cultural Differences And The People

As mentioned, it was my first time visiting the continent of Africa, again a name which for me just conjures up all kinds of beautiful imagery and romantic thoughts of nature, adventure and discovery. I knew I was going to truly sample a culture quite different to my own and I couldn't wait. I remember the journey from the Airport to the hotel vividly, seeing old and young men everywhere driving carts pulled by donkeys, dressed in flowing loose fitted robes, some with shoes, some without, their loads always stacked about ten feet high. It was a wonder in itself how the rickety-looking old carts didn't collapse and the fact the loads didn't topple off when going round bends is something I am still trying to get my head around to this day. This almost instantaneous glimpse of Egyptian life somehow just lived up to the expectation for me in that moment. The scene of donkey-led carts, the traditional attire, the Nile flowing steadily in the distance, it could have been a snapshot from any point in the last 5000 years, that's how long these people have been living this way of life, farming the rich fertile pastures on the banks of the Nile. It really was quite humbling, and being humbled would be a common feature while in this beautiful place.

It's easy to talk about the the obvious such as the Valleys of the Kings and Queens, the temples of Karnak, or of Hatshepsut respectively and I'll get to all that in future posts, but I was genuinely struck by the warmth of the people that we encountered. And we had some some pleasant interactions with many of the Egyptian people we saw. For instance, while walking along the banks of the Nile one evening, watching the golden then burning orange Sun sinking slowly over the distant hazy horizon, we were pleasantly accosted by two children. They were dressed in what can best be described as rags, and they had some flimsy sandals on, they were selling flowers and seemed to be very very poor. Lots of children in Egypt work in such a way as to help try and provide for their families, these two young girls would have been about 7 or 8 years old. And like many other kids in the city they would be selling flowers late into the night. They had beaming beautiful smiles and were able to speak broken English fairly well, combined with the attempts at broken Arabic that my friend and I could muster we were able to communicate. We were easy targets and obviously charmed by the little swindlers as we ended up giving them a fairly decent amount of cash in exchange for some of their white-petaled flowers. With much gesticulating and pointing at feet and stomachs (to indicate 'please buy some shoes and get a good meal') we eventually parted ways amiably. 

It is amazing how kind people can be despite having so very little.  When you experience a culture so different to your own for the first time in the flesh it definitely awakens you to the fact that we take so much of what we have for granted. More than that though to me, it made me realize that a lot of the things which society deems important, and certain issues that we as a society fixate on, just aren't as important nor conducive to our happiness as we think and are led to believe they are.

Later that night we went for dinner to a very nice restaurant which served beautiful food, a mix of classic dishes and traditional Egyptian fayre, in fact I first sampled pigeon at this restaurant. I loved the free freshly made bread and beautiful selection of dips which were brought to the table once you had taken your seats at the table. Our waiter was a man of about forty-five years, called Muhammad. The diligence, care and the level of effort that people there put into their jobs was quite awe-inspiring, especially so when a months wage for him would probably be less than a weeks salary at minimum wage here. This man would give the silver service of the Ritz a run for their money. Yet again we were struck by the courteousness, friendliness and sense of genuine warmth. We ate at this restaurant several times and spoke to him for hours about what life in Egypt is like, about his family and his aspirations (namely to provide a better future for his family). An aspiration which transcends all boundaries of race, religion, colour, creed or nation.

Well as feared I've already written a short novel and there seems no end in sight to the torrent of memories literally cascading into my mind's eye. I haven't yet even mentioned any of the obvious land marks and the sites, but I hope you at least have gained a little insight into my experience of the place and people, please stay tuned for the next episode in this series. I'll talk about visiting the incredible temples of Karnak and Hatshepsut respectively, as well as what it was like to come face to face with the real life mummified remains of 'The Boy King' and more.

P.S. Little did we know but we had not seen the last of the two flower selling girls. That same night roughly 5km away from where we had first encountered them and about 5 hours later, as we were walking back to the hotel we saw them again. Once again the smiles were beaming as they raced over to greet us, as they drew closer their eyes were glinting with a look of joyfulness, mischievous grins stretching from ear to ear. They were chattering to each other excitedly as they ran, giggling and laughing. They were each carrying a large white paper bag. We greeted them in Arabic. They were both chewing something, but in the dim light of the street lamps we couldn't see what. Then they each simultaneously glanced at each other and without a word being exchange they both held out their bag-carrying hands, offering us to help ourselves to some of their mysterious bounty. 

As we peered into the bags, which were by no means small I can assure you, our eyes were assaulted by a cacophony of vibrant colours, just about every type of sweet and candy you could ever think of was in those bags. It was like a Tardis of sweets and the looks of utter joy on their faces was one of those things you just don't forget. We each took the teeniest tiniest sweet we could find before once again and for the last time parting ways with smiles all around. I don't think I've been so glad to have my 'sensible' advice so completely and utterly ignored. I know this is more of a people-centric post but I believe that it is often the encounters with and the hospitality of the local people which can make all the difference between a good and a great experience. Thanks for reading.

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