Well the holiday in Egypt went well. I can’t belive it is all over and we are back to work – I suppose you could say I am in denial (geddit?). Sorry about that. Couldn’t resist it.
Anyway, we had a great two weeks, bookended by two extremely dull Easyjet flights. I can live with the lack of free food and drinks that I got used to during my years of business travel, I can just about put up with the luggage restrictions and charges and essentially having to pay for checking in even though you are doing it all yourself, what I can’t cope with is the seats. I don’t mind that you can’t recline them, but I do object to seats so uncomfortable your arse goes numb 30 minutes into a 5-hour flight.
It has got to the point where I am seriously considering pretending to have a severe flying phobia so that I can be sedated for the duration.Apart from the combined efforts of Easyjet and Al Qaida to suck every last bit of joy from flying we had a great time in Sharm el-Sheikh. I wouldn’t say the hotel was the absolute height of luxury but it was certainly better than it needed to be for the price and everybody there was very friendly. It had everything we needed and even had some decent waterslides in one of the pools. It was one of those spread-out campus-type hotels and so there were lots of little electric carts zipping around which made it feel a bit like a very chilled out Bond villain HQ.
Everywhere was very quiet. The only tourists there were either British or Egyptian with one or two isolated Russians. At first we were surprised by the number of Egyptians in the hotel: the only time I have been anywhere and found people holidaying in their own country is the US, but on reflection it makes sense. For a start, a lot of them were from Cairo or other places that feature demonstrations, curfews and other examples of applied politics and it isn’t really a lot different to when the Brits of the cities and towns used to go to Blackpool, Southend or Brighton for their holidays.
Our hotel was about 2km from the beach but laid on a shuttle bus to take guests there and back and we spent most days there rather than by the pool. With so much of Egypt effectively out of bounds at the moment we didn’t venture very far, just a day trip out on a boat so Jayne could try scuba diving and some evening visits to Naama and Soho Square, where we went in the Ice Bar.
Jayne was chuffed to do the diving. It is on her bucket list. I stayed safely on the boat because I don’t really like being in the water, particularly in open sea, but she bought be a snorkel set for my birthday and I did enjoy using that on the beach. The variety of wildlife available to see within just a few metres of the shore is not something I was expecting. We must have seen 30 or 40 different types of fish and in huge numbers. The highlight was probably when I found a moray eel that was over a metre long in the shallows, although the stingray was pretty cool too. No sharks though, despite our beach being in Sharks Bay.
Well that moray eel would have been the highlight if we hadn’t already seen an eagle swoop down and pluck a fish from the sea just like in a wildlife documentary.
I was so chilled out that I couldn’t even be bothered to read for the first week, despite having downloaded many books to the Kindle before departing. I had resisted the temptation to bring along my mobile or tablet deciding to take a break from news and the internet for a fortnight which was good but frustrating at times. I hadn’t realised how much I depend on Wikipedia, IMDb and other sites to quickly check things and answer questions. I ended up writing reminders down on scraps of paper in my wallet to look things up when we got back.
I did give in a day or so before returning because I had finished a book and realised that I wanted to read the sequel, which I hadn’t downloaded, rather than any of the many books I had available. At that moment I spotted in an ashtraya slip of paper with a wifi login on it. I was able to use that to connect the Kindle, pay for the book and download it. A bit naughty maybe, but using somebody else’s account for 5 minutes to download a few kilobytes is hardly the crime of the century is it?
After all Jayne’s complaints to me about wanting to keep going to Crete, and saying how we should go to new places instead of returning to places we have already been, she wants to go back to Egypt next year. Although I will point out the inconsistency, I won’t argue with that because I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The flies and ants were a bit of a nuisance, despite the hotel’s vigorous campaign of chemical warfare against them, coming round with a weird smoke machine every evening , but everything else was fine.
It looks like we will be going back there the next time we can afford a holiday, and I can’t wait, though it will mean watching Jayne pine for the dogs every day. Talking of which… they were more than a tad pleased to see us when we got back.