Water Park in Sharm El Sheikh - themed pretty much as you would expect!
As a fledgling English teacher
in Cairo in the mid 1990's, my encounters with Egyptian culture
involved sizeable amounts of city grime, culture shock, job-related
stress, and an Egyptian man who followed me virtually everywhere in the
city, as a perennial friend who I didn't really have the heart to shake
off, because his will was good, and he introduced me to a few sides of
life in Egypt which demonstrated their sense of hospitality. Revisiting
Egypt in December 2006, 11 years on, to the resort of Sharm El-Sheikh,
was a fitting way to pay homage to a former hunting ground, and also a
brilliant winter escape route, with the promise of much longed-for
Spices galore at this local store
Boarding a plane at East Midlands airport on Christmas Day
was a first for me anyway, and I'm a real sucker for all those
first-time travel experiences which tend to stay lodged in your mind
simply because of the way in which they occur. The resort itself is
well-endowed with all the tourist trappings, including a cluster of
fine hotels along the beach front, and a town in two halves really, the
upmarket resort side, and the more rough-around-the-edges Old City,
which was not without its appeal either. Getting around was easy
enough, since most attractions are centered around the resort, and the
scope for beach sports or snorkelling (spectacular stuff) was right on
our doorstep, as were numerous eateries, bars, clubs and excursion
options. So, I indulged, in true tourist style, in snorkelling (like,
wow!), quad biking (whose idea was it for me to don the shades coming
back across the desert when it was dark already?), clubbing (had to see
the New Year in somehow), and generally lazing around the pool
(temperatures could have benefitted from being just that little higher
though, give the coldness of the pool's water).
Quad biking with that kind of backdrop? - it sure beats working 9 to 5!
I had seen a different
face of Egypt, albeit one coated in a gilt-edged tourist sheen, and now
realize that you can never really get a fully-rounded view of any
country by paying a visit to its capital city alone. There are numerous
aspects to any nation of earth, I've always thought, and to single any
place out simply because you're not fond of the atmosphere which the
nation's capital city generates, seems like an unfair approach.
Instead, I'm glad I reserved judgment for my overall evaluation of
Egypt, as my sporadic bouts of sickness in Cairo might instead have
falsely led me to believe that the most settling thing about it was
knowing I had the right kinds of tablets to cope with my condition.
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