TRAVEL THERE: ADVENTURE PACKED DAYS
In Sharm el Sheik I took off my Museum Girl hat and embraced the Egyptian way to vacation. As far as I’ve been able to discern, there’s not a single museum in the area. It’s completely given over to entertainment venues and various sports rentals, from scuba gear to dune-buggies. I can’t give you any real travel hints, because my nephew Ayman planned and booked everything. I’d just show up in the lobby at whatever time I was told to be there and climb into whatever vehicle had been provided for our transportation.
A Tiny Drip of Disappointment
The moment I arrived in Sharm I was ready to hit the Boardwalk and Corniche. Some of my fondest memories of my previous visit were created there. Each night we’d stroll along a thriving beach scene. On one side was the beach and on the other was a line-up of amazing entertainment provided by various hotels. At one venue you’d see a magician, next would be a belly dancer, then a singer, then a cultural variety show, then a comedian, then haunting music by a band of natives, then – well you get the picture. And food – oh my goodness! Each restaurant was bustling and at each one the cuisine tasted better than the one before. I so wanted to re-live those nights of romance and excitement.
When we arrived at our hotel, the one we’d stayed at previously for old times sake, Bill was ready for a nap. I unpacked our bags and set up the room for our stay. Then I visited our balcony and enjoyed the view. We were right by the pool and beyond the pool was the Red Sea. Along with his nap, Bill was expecting a call from the family to give us the scoop on the evening’s entertainment.
Finally, Bill woke up and initiated the call himself, because I was about to explode. We’d be joining the rest of the crowd a little later, but first we’d have dinner on the Boardwalk. The Arab Spring might have improved Egypt’s political situation, releasing them from the tyrannical Mubarek, but it also destroyed Sharm El Sheik. What had once been a thriving international hot spot was transformed into a ghost town of empty restaurants with an occasional entertainer playing to an empty room. It broke my heart. The lesser of the pathetic evils seemed to be an Italian joint, but it was bad service and bad food to go with my bad hair!
Let the Fun Begin
Heart-broken we returned to the hotel and went to the hotel portico at the assigned time. My niece Mirette and her husband Ayman appeared in two different cars and whisked us away to enjoy the night – ladies in one car, guys in another. Her intentions were good and she took us to a glamorous beach-side restaurant which proved there was some life in Sharm, even if the Corniche had died a brutal death. Unfortunately, the wait was hours long and there was really no place to wait, so we climbed back in to the car to execute Plan B.
I can’t go on without telling you one very funny thing. Public transportation and Uber are the way my grand-nephews negotiate the town of Sharm. When we arrived with Mirette, there were her sons waiting for us. When we moved on to Plan B, the boys wanted a lift. They’d gotten themselves to restaurant, but the nearest public transportation was several blocks away and they didn’t want to wait for Uber. So, since the car was full, Mirette opens up the trunk and they climbed in.
I had a moment of jealously for this simpler way of life. I used to live like that. Cramming a vanload of people into a car, riding in the back of a pick-up truck, sneaking people into the drive-in in the trunk. That was back in the days when you could legally drive with a cold one in your beverage holder. That evening we giggled all the way to the bus stop, enjoying the simple pleasure of riding along with passengers in the trunk. Nowadays, America is so safe and politically correct that a simple moment’s pleasure has to be weighed against jail time.
The night was far from over. Just about the time this Museum Girl is ready for bed, my nieces and nephews are just starting to enjoy the evening. So come back next week and see where we headed after this.