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Egypt Holidays : What I did on my holidays part two - Egypt   

(Original text from /egypt.html)

In November and early December of 2001, Keith and I spent two weeks in Egypt touring around and doing the cultural thing. We saw the Pyramids, the Sphinx, and all that other good stuff. We went to the museum in Cairo, which is enormous and chock-a-block with truly ancient artifacts all very poorly labelled so that you can't tell whether you're looking at Tuthmoses II or Rameses III half the time (I know, I know, the hardship).

This is a place where the antiquities are so antique that their Roman collection takes up one teeny room at the back of the building as if they were somehow ashamed of it. Artifacts that would be the envy of any other museum are like an afterthought.

We saw Tutankhamun's gold, the tombs of the kings, queens and nobles of Egypt, and cruised in a stately fashion down the river Nile.

But of all of the things we did there, the experience I was keenest to repeat was that of the four days we spent in a five-star resort in Hurghada at the end of the holiday, where the only time anyone approached me was to bring me a complicated drink featuring layers of liquid and a paper umbrella, and to tell me that the pool had reached a balmy 28C. Ah, the life.

In search of the kind of rest and happiness that only such a holiday can bring, Keith and Nancy and I embarked on Egypt II: The Return (Inshalla).

We stayed in a five-star resort in Sharm-el-Sheikh (which means the something of the Sheikh. Look, I can't be expected to remember everything).

Our housekeeping guy, Mahmoud, was something of a pest. When he wasn't trying to walk in on Nancy in the shower, he was trying to sell us things that the Russian tourists had left behind, like fins or fishing lures.

I managed to rouse myself to follow Flipper into the sea most days, but Nancy usually preferred to stay beside the pool (thus ensuring that she got more attention from Ehab, the cute towel guy).

Flipper did a reasonable amount of diving off the house reef and I did a lot of snorkelling there. It was pretty spectacular, especially considering the tiny amount of effort you had to expend to get in there.

Here we see Columbo at sunset, wondering who stole her shoes and if she can ever find a husband.

The sunsets in Sinai are really stunning, especially when you've got a nice drink in your hand.

But sunset heralds another arrival...

...the mosquito guy. At five o'clock every evening he would spray tar-smelling smoke around the whole complex because that's when the skeetos come out. It takes one mosquito guy and an army of gardeners to stop the place from looking like what it is. A chunk of desert.

One of the few trips we managed to take when we were there was to Ras Mohammed (lit. trans. "another bit of desert") where we did a lot of snorkelling and hanging out with our fellow holiday-makers, Liz O'Donnell and Michael Carson. Michael is a barrister, and Liz is, according to our rep, a consultant.

Liz gave us no gossip at all, and the only secret development of national importance that she let us in on is that lyrics are back. It's all Eminem, apparently.

Our guide, Mohammed, faked a cramp to get him out of having to go snorkelling. How many times had I tried the same thing to get out of PE in my school days?

The snorkelling was truly amazing. I have no pictures of it, but then, no pictures I could take would do it justice. You'd have to see for yourself the thousands of brightly-coloured fish, the huge wall of coral dropping away from you into the depths, the feeling of flying above an alien city.

And, of course, the sand in your knickers for the journey home.
As part of the trip to Ras Mohammed, we paid a visit to the Magic Lake, which changes colour during the day. It is said that if a young lady bathes in the lake, she will get a husband. The lake is cold enough to cryogenically freeze you until your Mister Right is born.

We also took a trip to Dahab (which means gold. No, it really does, I remember that one) to make the shopping. It's a lovely little town, total backpacker heaven with loads of cheap hotels and cheap shops. Keith got to practice saying things like 'I have a black heart of jealousy' in response to requests to leave at least one of his two wives behind him.

And that about wraps it up for Egypt, this time. I have every intention of going again sometime, I don't know about the other two.

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