I can’t remember the last time I saw Luxor as alive as it is this morning – I am talking about the atmosphere.  There have been long lines of men and women waiting outside polling stations since before 8 am this morning to cast their vote in the first free elections.  Some of the lines are snaking down the streets and round the street corners while some are doubling back and running beside each other.  The mobile phone cameras are clicking as friends take photos of each other.  Everyone is smiling.  There are lots of police and army in trucks and on foot guarding the streets around the polling stations – some of the streets are closed altogether to traffic.  It’s great to see everyone so enthusiastic and no signs of animosity between police, army and citizens.I have been checking Twitter all morning and it seems to be the same story all over Egypt – one tweet even said Tahrir was almost empty because everyone was gone to vote.  My own staff at Mara House hurried off excitedly at 8am to do their bit!  Everyone I spoke with so far today is in high spirits and have high hopes that this is the beginning of the end of the troubles.

I seriously doubt if any country has the perfect voting system or if every election is 100% free of fraud etc. and it is important for Egyptians to realise this.  They have to take the first steps and hopefully today is the day.  It is also to be hoped that everyone will embrace the new democratic way – especially when they find it does not favour them on a given day or in any given election.  It is important that Egypt learns how campaign, run free political parties and ride the ever-changing roller-coaster of politics.

My final words on this blog are to all those who have been emailing me wondering if they should cancel their planned trips to Egypt because of the problems around Tahrir – please don’t cancel.  None of this upheaval is aimed at you and our economy needs you!  🙂 Pretty much everyone in Egypt welcomes tourists and will go out of their way to see you safe and advise you if there are any places you should not go on any particular day.  Keep emailing me for updates if it makes you feel safer – I will advise you if I think you would be in any danger at all – it is not my wish and is certainly not in my best interests to invite or allow you into danger.

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