Egypt Day 11 – Luxor – Sharm el Sheik

Checked out at 1pm, and saw Greg, the Ricky Gervais lookalike I’d met in Aswan, surprisingly. His flight had been cancelled too, and he was here until Monday, and EasyJet had moved him to a 5-star resort. He didn’t mind one bit. I decided to have a relaxing, hassle-free day, and so walked to the swankiest hotel in town, the Jimmy Conner endorsed Winter Palace. Back in the Sakara restaurant, Jimmy had told me you could get high tea there. It didn’t actually start until 4pm, so instead I strolled through the lush gardens and sat in a restaurant by the swimming pool and ordered a napolitana with fettucini, a cappucino and a bottle of water. Was truly bliss to be sat here, seeing how the other half live. The Winter Palace is one of the most famous historic hotels in Egypt, a Victorian style beauty. I chilled for 3 of 4 hours, reading, writing, thinking. After yesterday, it was perfect. I left at sunset and went back to the hotel. I had a flight to catch.

Flew Business Class to Sharm el Sheik with Egypt Air for 870LE. It was nice, spacious, my first ever business class trip, possibly my last, but I certainly enjoyed it, though sometimes feel a working-class embarrassment at such ‘luxuries’ in life. I felt uncomfortable, and for some reason incredibly self-conscious, as though I imagined the eyes of the economy class passengers burning a hole in the back of my head. There had been no seats left in Economy class when I booked the flight anyway, so I’d had to go ahead and book Business Class. Almost everything is worth a first experience I suppose.

Arrived in Sharm, the premier package tourist destination of Egypt, and was suddenly transported back to Singapore. Clean streets – polished even. Resorts, international food and drink chains (Starbucks, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, KFC, Hard Rock Cafe, TGI Fridays etc), overfed and overwatered tourists everywhere, with a disproportionate amount of Russians, the women wearing the shortest skirts and hottest hot pants I’d ever seen, all tall, stick-thin models, absolutely stunning and moody-looking as hell. Yes, here the beautiful young people were in abundance, as were beer-guzzling old Brits and other Europeans on package tours. I’d found the Singapore of the Middle East. This place was even more ‘Butlins for Adults’ than Singapore. I knew I wouldn’t last long here. At least I had a decent room and a hot shower, and BBC News 24.

Went out and ate at Thai House, then into Little Buddha and Hard Rock and finally Pacha. Met a couple of English girls who work in PR in London and we all had a bad dance at Hard Rock. I found the whole place brash, uninviting, pretentious, and totally un-Egyptian. This place is to Egypt what Cancun is to Mexico, and Singapore is to culture. Fucking awful representations. I got back mildly pissed, but then I don’t think I could handle the place sober.

Author: Neil

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