29 September, 2011

Hurghada (aka Her-gotta Lotta)

One of the fun things about living in Cairo is getting to decide how you want to escape it.  It is an exciting and living city tp be sure, but sometimes a girl just wants to be able to breath deeply without her lungs hurting or walk down a street without every taxi that passes by honking at you.  Their car horns are all on steroids here:  So LOUD!  Listen driver, I don't want a ride okay?  If I wanted a ride I would flag you down...

So Scott and I have "escaped" twice since we're been here.  Both quite different experiences.

The first trip was at the end of August.  We went to Hurghada which is a resort town on the red sea.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurghada

We flew with Egyptair there rather than tackle the 5hr drive.  It was a fine flight, the only weird thing was going through security a guy helped me with my bag and then persistently asked for a tip.  He was in a uniform, I thought he was supposed to take my bag from my arm and walk 1 foot to the conveyer and put it down.  I could have done that...

When we arrived in Hurghada, we had to catch a cab to our resort and had to barter our price.  Difficult considering we didn't know what the going rate was or how far away we had to go!  We had read it was about a 20 minute drive (which in Cairo could be about 10 LE) so when he suggested we pay 120 LE we walked away.  Being that we really didn't have any other way to get there, he lured us in and said he would give us the very fair fare of 100 LE.  We didn't like it, but we loaded up our bags and went with this guy.  I told him the price was CRAZY and I wasn't happy and spent the first few minutes sulking in the back seat.  This appeared to be a good tactic because he looked at me in the mirror and said "okay, fine - 80 LE".  This still seemed outlandish but was in the end what we paid for our return cab ride so I guess it is as good as it gets for tourists.

We arrive at the hotel, which had a pretty nice lobby; they look at our printed expedia reservation and disappear with it into the back for about 5 minutes.  When they come back they say that expedia never contacted them and for tonight we'd had to stay in the clubhouse across the highway.  Boo.  We thought we had booked a lovely all inclusive resort getaway and this is what we get: a dangerous run across the highway to what appears to be a vacant building - our room has a lovely view of the highway, a very hard mattress, a broken remote to a small tube tv, and a rather ugly bathroom.  Paradise.

The next morning we hit the breakfast buffet, which is actually quite good, and then go to stake our claim on some lawnchairs with some shade, pool access and a great view of the ocean.  Success on all fronts!  We do get more of a view than we bargained for and thus the title of this entry:  Hurghada is a destination holiday for a lot of europeans... a lot of very underdressed europeans.  Her-gotta lotta bum.  Barely anyone had fabric on their bottoms!  And lots of people were taking special precautions to not get bathingsuit tan lines on their tops either.  Scott and I made a sport of trying to pretend to pose for pictures while our actual subjects were in the background.

Although there were several options for day excursions including fishing trips, snorkeling, windsurfing, and kitesurfing, we had come on this little getaway with the goal of relaxation.  Relax we did!

We read, swam in the ocean (while I did, Scott walked in a little, but the imminent shark attacks kept him from going in too far), tried to swim in the pool (freezing!), and ate what turned out to be some really delicious food.

At 2:00 pm on the dot, we returned to the front desk to see if they could switch us to the beach side of the resort.  This had been what they promised to try to do after they saw our sad faces about having to stay across the highway.  It did not bode well that at least three other couples appeared to be gathering there for the same purpose.  But we were victorious!  I am taking full credit here as I have apparently mastered the disapproving gaze (you know, the one that got our cab fare lowered...)

So we got to move into our new room, which turned out to be just as "nice" as the one across the highway, but hey, at least we were on the same side as the beach!  The rest of our trip was pretty fine.  A couples' spa treatment involving total exfoliation, mud masks, massage, and jacuzzi.  Amazing!  And some lovely dinners with a lovely man.  Okay, the other guests were kind of unthoughtful and rather undressed; okay, the customer service was iffy and there was a serious shortage on rose wine... what was my point again?  Oh yeah - good food, gorgeous beach, great guy!

No comments:

Post a Comment