TRAVEL THERE: READY TO GO HOME
This is the scene that welcomed me to the Heliopolis Fairmont over two weeks before. The lobby hadn’t changed, but we weren’t quite as happy with our rooms. Yes, that’s plural. We were in three different rooms before the stay was over.
Hello Mr. Sadek
The Fairmont staff was eager to welcome us back, but before the next few days were over, I bet they were glad to see us go. “Is there anything we can do to make your stay more pleasant, Mr. Sadek?” The question was a mistake. Bill asked for a view of the pool and they gave it to him, but it should have come with a disclaimer.
We were exhausted. Day after day had been one adventure after another. We felt as if we’d walked a million miles since we’d last been in Cairo. The bellman ushered us to our room and along with our luggage. Bill went to the toilet and I laid on the bed. I had a bit of a headache, but laying down didn’t seem to help. A part of me said, “That’s because of the loud music you’re hearing.”
I got up off the bed and looked out the window. We had a view of the pool alright – a view of the pool and the huge party they were having around it! elegantly clad Egyptians stood in congenial groups around the pool. Food and beverage stations were spread throughout the crowd. And there was music – loud music. Music so loud that you would have thought that the band was in the room with us.
Bill emerged from the bathroom and I asked him if the noise was bothering him. In fact it was and a peek out the window confirmed it had only begun. It was just about sunset and the party was just warming up.
Hello Again Mr. Sadek
Bill confirmed via the phone that the party wasn’t about to wrap up anytime soon. He may have said a few other things, but since it was in Arabic I can’t tell you what it was. Maybe this has something to do with why I haven’t learned the language. Sometimes ignorance is bliss. Bill can have an hour long conversation with one of the family members and I get about a 10 second summary. I also don’t have to know exactly what he says to people when he’s unhappy and Mr. Bill was unhappy.
Bill decided to handle the situation in person and went down to the lobby. He returned with a bellman who moved us to a room overlooking the other pool. The noise situation had been unfortunate, but the new room seemed fine. I didn’t have as much unpacking to do as usual, since we only had one day left, but I set about getting us moved in for this stay.
The next day was one of our favorite touring days and I will tell you about that next week, but first let me tell you about our next night at the Fairmont.
Hello Once Again Mr. Sadek
We had a busy day of sight-seeing and saying farewell to family on our final day in Cairo. We returned to the room well-fed by Bill’s sister and filthy with the dust of Cairo. We both took showers and got ready to make it an early night. We needed to be up around 4 AM.
Bill watched a little TV and I puttered around the room, packing everything except the clothes we would wear, a few toiletries and what we had on our back. When I finished, Bill switched off the TV and fired up his phone. Checking Facebook and watching a few videos is a nightly ritual with him. It was just about 9:45 when I pulled out my book intending to read myself to sleep – which I didn’t anticipate would take very long. Just about the time I got comfy, our room was invaded by loud Egyptian music.
A paper tent next to the bed reminded me that it was the evening of the hotel’s Arabian Feast and guess where it was? At the pool right below our window. This was not a good thing.
Bill got on the phone again. This time he was not speaking in Arabic, but I can’t repeat what he said and keep my G rating with WordPress, but basically, he wanted to know what a guest had to do to get some sleep in that hotel. It’s the first time we’ve ever had to explain what we were going to do in a hotel room.
This time they did not want Mr. Sadek in the lobby. A committee of management figures and a bellhop reported to the room. They wanted to move us to a suite, but all those available overlooked the Arabic Feast now going full steam out at the secondary pool. Bill said he didn’t want a suite. All he wanted to do was sleep. So they offered another room, a larger one this time, but that wasn’t good enough for Bill.
He’d just watched me painstakingly set out everything for a quick departure in the morning. He didn’t want to have to pack up all the incidentals, move them all and then reorganize things once again. After a bit of negotiating, they offered to let us keep our stuff in this room and just move ourselves over to the other room.
So we all paraded (Bill and I in our pajamas) from a room on one floor to a room on another floor which faced the street. Bill had been livid, but maintained the presence of mind to bring that beloved bottle of bourbon with him. Thanks again Shady.
We had a nightcap, which settled us down enough to sleep. What a way to spend your last night in Egypt. Next week I’ll recap our final day in the city, but this is one story that all needed to be on one page!