24 – 25 May 2010

We landed a half hour early and made it through customs and passport control with much queueing but little fuss and were directed to the nicely air-conditioned coach which would take us to our hotel.

Driving in Egypt is a whole different experience to driving in England, that’s for sure. Although the roads have improved since I was here last they still appear to operate on a ‘he who honks loudest goes first’ system.
No TrumpetingTrumpeting is also strictly forbidden and apparently you need to be aware of yellow submarines crossing (according the road signs), but aside from that Sharm does lack the assortment of goats, donkeys, horses and bicycles that crowded the roads when I was in Luxor.

We were greeted at the hotel with welcome drinks, a fruit juice cocktail which was actually very welcome indeed. There were only two other people who got of the coach at our hotel. A mother and daughter ensemble, the daughter of which was also celebrating her 40th birthday. On that very day. Once we had finished our drinks and filled in various forms, we were shown to our room, quickly followed by our suitcases.

Our hotel is a budget hotel, courtesy of me going part-time earlier this year. Sacrifices had to be made and one of them was luxury 5 star holiday. The room is basic but clean, which is all I really need, and we found supper laid out for us, which, also very welcome. Especially as we hadn’t been expecting it and had arrived after the restaurant shut.

Investigation of the TV channels lead us to discover both Castle and Bones were showing, but no Bold and the Beautiful. On my first trip to Egypt, some 17 years ago, my friend and I had become fascinated with the Bold and the Beautiful. Neither of us had witnessed American soaps before and we watched nightly with a slightly puzzled and bemused expression on our faces. I was hoping to recreate the experience.

By the time we had perused the TV channels, devoured supper and poked our noses into every corner of the room, it was one midnight. I don’t love a late arrival on the first day of my holiday, no matter how long or tiring the journey, my mind is buzzing with holiday plans and wants to go exploring. When I finally did sleep it was fitfully. I was woken at some point by what I thought was the sound of running water, investigation proved it was just my imagination, but of course I needed the toilet then anyway. Just as I was about to fall back to sleep, the early morning call to prayer kicked in. Thankfully, I have been to muslim countries before so didn’t mistake it for someone being repeatedly stabbed in the eye with a hot poker as I had the first time I heard this particularly painful wail.

When morning started for realsies we sauntered sleepily down to breakfast, which was pretty much the standard fayre of scribbled eggs, mashed potato and cleverly carved fruit (which I completely failed to ever take a picture of). Then we set off for an adventure in search of a bank clutching our travelers’ cheques.

We soon found a Thomas Cook bank that gladly accepted our cheques and changed them into useable Egyptian paper money, and also a row of shops which included a Starbucks and a Body Shop. We hurried back to the safety of the pool bar in horror and grabbed ourselves a couple of sunbeds before it was time to meet the Thomson rep and book some trips, more of which in due course.

The rest of the day was spent touring the hotel to find the places our lovely all-inclusive arm bands could get us free food and drink and then settled in by the pool to start our holiday for real.

No TrumpetingFor now, I am ensconced by the pool, 20 lengths done, just to pretend I’m keeping up some kind of exercise regime, rum and cokes in my belly book and notepad (yes actual pen and paper notepad) nearby, lathered in factor 25 and enjoying the delicious feel of a real sun on my skin. No doubt this evening will find us in the bar or exploring the Naama nightlife.